What is this play about anyway?
First of all, I should mention that I'm using the Derek Prouse translation of Rhinoceros and that if you'd like a synopsis of the plot, there's one available in Wikipedia.
As I intimated in my last entry, I think this play is about inauthentic living. It takes courage to look inward and to acknowledge the good as well as the bad that's within us. I would venture to say that, for many of us, it feels safer and easier to assess our own individual condition, not by inward searching but by outward comparison. A colleague recently reminded me that, nowadays, perception is reality: if you look like you've got it together and I look like I've got it together, then we've got it together, right?
In Ionesco's play, the popular choice is to turn into a rhinoceros. It's simply the "in" thing to do. Each character in the play would rather give in to the popular trend than have his or her own mask of how they wish to be perceived stripped away to reveal what's truly beneath. They all have their reasons: everybody's doing it, I need to simplify and return to nature, rhino's really are superior creatures, etc; but, in the end, it seem clear that the real reason is they don't what to be the odd one out. And it's tough being the outsider! You've got to know what you believe and why and you're constantly having to defend or justify your point of view-perhaps even your very existence. Isn't it easier to just go with the flow? Is that really such a bad thing?