Analysis of the play pillow man

Analysis of the play pillow man

As the world was slowly sinking into the 20thcentury, there was a rise of the totalitarian government. With all these changes in ruling taking place, writers also joined. There heard the urge to express their views through crafts. In this 20th century, the play pillow man produced by Martin McDonagh.  The play pillow man first performed in London national Theatre in the year 2003. The play is composed of first acts and second acts. Though it is a three-act play with the first act with two scenes, the second act with a two-scene and the third act with a single stage.

In the first act, the opening scene.katurian is the primaryactor seated in the police interrogation room with a blindfold. From him, the detective is trying to source information based on several cases of homicide. The interrogators Tupolski and Ariel entered the room and began their interrogation. Outrageously, the detectives start to threaten him without even informing him of the reason why there have him in the interrogation room. Nevertheless, the police also start using mind games to prompt information from him(Gilian Pp. 46-47).

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At this moment,Katurian filled with a suspension of what could have been the issue. However, threats were not enough;beatings from the detectives followed the threats.  After the beating, one of the detectives summarizedKaturian’sstory. In addition to this,the detectives tortured his mentally disabled brother. The detectives also show him toes enclosed in a box. The detectives claimed that the toes found in Katurian’s house, where a boy and a girl murdered with one girl missing. However, police stated Michal had accepted this accusation after his torture, but they believed that Katurianwas the mastermind. All this Katurian says that the allegations are a force. Nevertheless, torture continues when the detective goes to get the electric chair.

From the first act, the opening scene, there is a theme of immorality, though just accusationKaturian and his brother seen as immoral. Since it was not in any case justifiable for the toes of a child found in their house, another theme learned from this seen is the theme of disrespect. The detectives are using force to acquire information from the subjects. In this, the case of Katurian.Consequently, it is also a form of disrespect of human rights since any individual facing an accusation is innocent until proven guilty.

In the first act, the second scene Katurian another story develops, “the writer and the writer’s brother.”In this play, the main character, “the boy,” worshiped, and his parents are affectionate with him. With this affection, the parents give the boy an opportunity. The boy discovers his desires for writing, and he starts writing fictional stories. At the age of seven, the boy begins to have nightmares, the imagination of noise coming from the next door. However, the parents convince him that there was nothing long.

As the boy got deeper into writing, there was an exceptional improvement in his book. However, everything hidden in the dark will finally come to light. At the age of fourteen, the hidden evils of his parents came to light. The boy discovered that his parents were torturing his brother to become a better writer. After some years, the boy published a novel. After a while, the boy visited his old house and found his brother lifeless, but on his hand, he was holding a script that he heard written to his level best. However, the endo of the story is fictional. When the boy realized all this evil from his parents, he killed them by use of a pillow through suffocation.

From the second scene,there is a themeof immorality developed, where the boy kills his parents through suffocation. Also, the parents were immoral by how they treated the boy’s brother. Another theme is inequality;in this house, the parents lacked an essential component of equity. Love, opportunities, and all other good things were served at the boy’s plate, while the life of his brother filled with torture and humiliation. Also, is the theme of vergence,the boy killed his parents to revenge his brother’s death and unfair treatment. Lastly is a subject of love: Toys and anything else given to the boy by his parents.

The second act, the first scene; the set up of this play is in a cell, where Michal has held.  With thoughts of his story “The little green pig,” Katurian is brought in. Though full of blood, he realizes that the police were lying to him about Michals torture. At this moment,Katuriannarrates a story to his brother, “the pillow man,” a tale of torture. However, the story says that the childrenforced to kill themselves before the pain begins. In this section,Michal confesses to the acquisition he killed these young kids for them not to go through misery. For Katurian to understand this, he acquired more information from Michal. Where Michal told Katurian, killed the kids using the “The little Jesus as a model. “However, Michal says that he did all this to test the stories of Katurian. Katurian comments with an account of the little pig. Finally, this angers Katurian, and he tells his brother that he will go to hell, and there his dead parents will torture him forever. In addition to this, he suffocates his brother and calls the guards. He finally decides to confess.

From the above scene, there is immorality, where Katurian suffocates his brother with a pillow. In addition to this, is where Michal confesses to having killed the young kid to test the stories of Katurian.  Also, we can seeinnocence from the brother;he is in a police cell and decides to confess about an accusation of murder.

In act2, scene 2. The play little Jesus presented.The play fascinates a young girl who made to believe that he is the reincarnation of Jesus. In the story, the girl’s parents died in an accident. After which he went to live with foster parents. The girl faces abuse and mistreat;however,she never lost hope. Devil-like parents ask the girl if she wants to resemble Jesus. So, he can face the trials of Christ. Never the less after her death, shedoes not rise like Jesus, who rose after three days.

From this act, we can say that the girl is naïve, where he wants to be like Jesus. The girl does did not understand that once a person dies there do not rise again from the dead. A theme of cruelty reigns this act. The foster parents mistreat and abuse the girl until to a point where they want to take his life.

In the third and the final act, Katurian admitsto all the six murders and continues to inform the detective where there can find the missing girl. One of the detectives, Ariel, confesses that his sole responsibility is to save kids from people like Katurian. Then Katurian concludes that Ariel faced abuse when he was a kid. Ariel gathers a squad to go and save the missing girl. Topolski narrates some of Katurian stories, which he promises to keep on the file for future references. Now the plan of executing Katurian was underway. After a moment,ariel comes back with the girl, painted green, also unharmed, but she left in the pig house. The story of this girl is in line with one of Michal’s favorite stories. From further questioning, Ariel discovers that Katurian confesses only to secure his accounts. From this,Tupolski decides not to honor his agreement, since Katurian denied telling the truth. Lastly, Katurian rises fro the stages, just as a ghost narrator. In his final moment. He narrates the story about Michal and how the pillowman visited him and persuaded him to kill himself to escape misery. However,Katuriandid not do this to tell the truth, but it was a purpose to save his stories. However, the detective’s final decision was to seal and store the file for fifty years; this was long enough to waste the memories of the story, rather than the option of turning them into ash.

From the third act, there is sincerity from Katurian, when he admits the accusation and discloses the whereabouts of the missing girl. We can also see a savior who is Ariel when he goes to rescue the girl who was lost.  The theme of the third act is justice. We can see justice served for all those who murdered, also, for the girl left in the pig house.

Characters from the play;

  1. Katurian, the main character, also a principal suspect in the murders. He is also a storyteller and a fiction writer. He believed in just telling stories other than sending off a message. The environment he grew in mainly influenced his story, with his parents’ harassment to his brother.
  2. Michal, another character in his stories, was a composition of anger and resentment. He faced harassment and ill-treatment by his parents when he was a kid.
  3. Ariel,a detective, is a good-hearted man. In the play, he is portrayed as a hero and also a savior.
  4. Topolski; was a man of his words. Also, a law executer, he did his work thoroughly, living no stone unturned.
  5. The parents; of the girl were cruel and also those of the boy. There were unfair and also practiced an unequal treatment to their kids.

From the story the major theme portrayed is;

Truth and lies;

In the play, a line drawn to alienate reality from lies. Also, questions arise about fact and fiction. It also portrays how fiction can be necessary than the truth. The story at the beginning tries to illustrate Katurian’s innocence as he appears. However, the detectives appear as heartless machines as they try to get information from Katurian about the murders, but as we approach the end, this is not the truth but just fiction.

From the play, the scenes are interchanging from the interrogation room to the children’s bedroom, to the holding cells. And also to the foster parents. The interchange of views makes the play fascinating and also draws the attention of the viewers(Richard, Pp.239- 272).


In conclusion, from the point of view, Despite the center of the play been Katurian. He is not actively involved in the acts. The play also is made of dialogue and stage direction otherthan a traditional narration. However, despite Katurian been a character in the story, He, as in most cases seen as a narrator of the story. The play also has been able to capture the harassment, and kids go through in the hand of parents and even society. It is also able to illustrate how truth gets hidden by lies and the real acts of immoral behaviors that the government hides from the general public.

Also, the play pillow man is a play that relates history to allegory. The play allows the author to participate, analyze, and also to change the narrative. The pillow man was also able to keep his stories irrespective of the torture.

Cited works

A battle of wills and wits in forums Theatres, “the pillowman.”, 15 March. 2016. Gale academic online file.Https;link-page-comeproxy.aacc. edu/apps/doc/A446394345/AONE. Accessed 11 February 2020

Cliff, Brian. 2007. ‘the pillow man; A new story to tell”. In martin McDonagh; A case study edition., by; Rankin Rusell. Edited byRichard. 239- 272. London; Routledge

Gillian James.2004. “shame; The emotions and immorality of violence. In violence and gender, Interdisciplinary Reader, edited by Paula Ruth and Gilbert and Kimberly Eby 46-47. Upper saddle river, Nj; Pearson education

Mc, Donald, Martin (2003). The pillow mans. First edition. London Faber. ISBN 0-571-22032-0. Pp 245-296


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