full title The Maids

author Jean Genet

type of work Drama

genre Absurdist drama

language Originally French as Les Bonnes

time and place written France, late 1940s

date of first production Paris, April 17, 1947

publisher Grove Press

narrator No narrator; drama

climax The climax occurs when Claire drinks the poisoned tea

protagonist Solange; Claire

antagonist Madame

setting (time) Modern day

setting (place) The bedroom of a wealthy Madame

point of view The audience empathizes equally with Solange and Claire, though it is Solange's literal visions that dominate at the end

falling action Solange imagines Madame's reaction to her own death

tense Play; present tense

foreshadowing The sisters plot to kill Madame from the beginning

tone Dream-like, tense, hostile

themes Illusion as a reaction against authority; Otherness and whirligigs

motifs Self-conscious theatricality; Filth

symbols Red velvet dress