The Human and the Non-Human in „Ze života hmyzu" by the Brothers Čapek: Contexts, Scheme, Interpretation

Klára Kudlová

In search for interpretation of the mutual relationship between the human and natural protagonists of Karel and Josef Čapeks´ Ze života hmyzu/From Insects’ Life (published 1921, staged 1922), the present study uses contextualisation as the primary departure point. The contexts which support the interpretation in section 2 range from the symbolist L´Oiseau Bleu by Gustav Maeterlinck, short prose Chego nie bylo by Vsevolod Garshin, to the popularised scientific observations by Jean-Henri Fabre in section 3.3. In the interpretation of the insect characters and their relation to the human ones, the authorial note on the insects is also employed, opening the sphere of visual inspirations of insects. Josef Čapek´s drafts of costumes, physiognomia by Charles Le Brun, and paintings by William Hoghart support the argumentation in section 3. The conclusions drawn in the previous parts of the study are complemented by the structural analysis of the play which deals especially with the employment of the mise-en-abyme principle. The complementation between
the human and non-human proves to be key part of this model.

DOI: 1014746/por.2021.2.9
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