Slavomir Mrozek belongs to the generation from the Second World War who grew and developed under Stalin. Similar to the other Polish eastern European drama writers, more cryptic parables have been written by Mrozek in which more subversive ideas have been exposed to the audience. This ambiguity has always remained an important part of the plays by Mrozek. After communism was overthrown, his work was not able to survive the openness and challenges of the new Polish society. Among many dramas written by Slavomir Mrozek that include The Police, The Cherry Orchard and the Three Sisters, Tango covers anarchist policies and brutal laws in Poland and an increased disorder in the country. The beginning of the play is marked by a household that has no values and no organization. As there are no controls being forced by the people of the house which gives more power and confidence in the servant of the household to take over the household, making relationships with people in the house and there is no one in the house who can object to such chaotic behavior (Mro-ek, and Gerould 23). The play has shown a metaphorical family of nonconformists who represent the Polish generation.
The condition of living that defines the family is squalid disorder. In the play, a fat servant named as Eddie has been shown to take over the household as people in such a free spirited family have no care of the responsibilities of the household. No one in the family has a check on the goings-on of Eddie. Eleanor, an important part of the family is married to Stomil. Eddie has a relationship with Eleanor and Stomil is aware of the fact, but being rebellious and carefree, he has no interest and inclination to the relationship between Eddie and Eleanor. This family represents complete anarchy, with no rules, traditions and no standards to follow. This situation is such that everything is permitted and there is no need to ask for or grant permissions for any actions, legal or illegal, acceptable or unacceptable. Anything that happens in such situation is not new and nothing is revolutionary. The only revolution is order and peace in the house where all traditions and values are followed.
The household shown in the play is a serious metaphorical representation of Poland. All family members shown in the play have given up on their responsibilities and are least concerned about the situation they are in (Kelly 45). Members of the family represent negligent rulers and politicians of the state, who in their rebellious state of mind have allowed a tyrannical and a brutal ruler to gain control over the country. This figure is represented by the servant of the household, Eddie.
Main theme of the play has highlighted the fact that bohemianism has been taken up by the family members allowing all life values to lose importance. On the other hand, the family is working in such a way that they are joining hands with those who are working in a more rebellious and bohemian manner. For instance in one case, Stomil talks to his son and says;
"My boy, tradition doesn't interest me in the slightest. Your indignation is absurd. You know very well we attach no importance to these monuments of the past, these relics of family tradition...We live in freedom."
In the second case, how bohemianism is being enjoyed by the family is shown when Stomil's wife rejoices over having no chains of morality and religion to bind them.
"All those fetters, those rusty chains of religion, morality, art. Especially art, Stomil" (Mro-ek, and Gerould 45).
Stomil feels very proud and happy about the fact that his generation has managed to give up on all traditions and values that once bound the generation. And after all values have been given up, complete freedom can be enjoyed. The play has highlighted this freedom as being formless as when all values have been given up, there is nothing left behind from which spirit needs a freedom.
The play is an excellent link to the works that were written in the times of increased repressive order of the Soviet communism imposed on Poland. The main highlight of the play is that an adoption towards an aimless bohemianism, tyrannical rule and brutality caused an increase in the sufferings of those who want order and values in the country.
Chaos calls for peace and a source of order is needed. In the case of this family, Arthur is the source of order. Arthur, 25 years old, is a son of the family and he wants to bring order and peace in a free spirited bohemian family. Bohemian rebellion is the standard being followed by Arthur's family as all other standards of life have been given up. But the attitude shown by the parents is of a non-conformist and they respond by arguing that he needs to be normal and needs to accept the chaos as a normal part of life. Arthurs thinks that the only way that can help in the restoration of values in the family is by exposing the family to the old traditions, family values and order. The only way that can help in doing so was to arrange a wedding. Arthur plots an arranged wedding with his cousin (Salter and Bousfield 56). This wedding would include all family members, young and old, near and far relatives, and the wedding would take place with the acceptance and grace of all family members. This one idea represented peace, order, values and family traditions that Arthur was aiming for. Arthur's main aim is to bring back the bourgeois or Victorian values in his family. Wedding was a plan to make sure that the family starts to conform to the norms and standards of life. Arthur emphasizes that instead of having illegal relationships with his cousin just like Eddie and Eleanor, he prefers getting married so he demanded to get married to his cousin. Arthur tried to clear the plot to his cousin but he failed as she tried to lure him rather listen to his wedding plot (Kelly 83).
There are many phases in which failures are being seen by Arthur every step of the way. Thus humanity, in the face of Arthur, is facing issues and obstacles in convincing the bohemian family to adopt values but constant failure makes Arthur think of death. Regeneration of his family is his main aim. Arthur is more like Shakespeare's Hamlet who is seeing his own kingdom facing degeneration knowing the fact that he himself is a victim to such chaos.
Tragedy is the second equipment used in the play by Arthur to ensure restoration and regeneration of his bohemian family. Slavomir Mrozek has emphasized in the play that existence of tragedy is only assured by the presence of a set of values and traditions being followed. Realizing this main fact, Arthur tries to make his father realize an impropriety in the affair of Eddie with Eleanor. Adding to this, he makes his father realize that Eddie's death is the only way of ending the illegal affair. Edie's death will come when Arthur murders Eddie. The tragic part is that Arthur will have to face the consequences of murdering Eddie. Secondly by doing this, Arthur makes his family and his father realize the importance of marriage and a level of sanctity associated with marriage. Here again, Arthur faces failure as his father fails to realize the gravity of the situation (Salter and Bousfield 12).
The end of the play has shown the failure of Arthur in bringing order in the house. Failure of Arthur is enjoyed by Eddie as he rejoices Arthur's failure by having a tango in the end. Eddie represents the brutal power that rejoices over the loss and failure of the weak working to restore order and to make others realize the importance of values and tradition. Tango is an act of individualistic rebellion and coercion. It is announced at the end of the play by Eddie that order needs to be restored. Nonetheless, this order is different from the order in values and tradition. This is the order of the brutal and bohemians.
End of the play is marked by Eddie saying to Arthur; "I've got the feeling, Arthur my boy, that nobody needs you anymore" (Mro-ek, and Gerould 34).
Second World War in Poland was a time of great chaos, failures of the politicians and authorities in maintaining an order and peace in the country. The play and the characters in the play have shown just the same situation. But, in some cases, this situation is also seen in the modern days. Politicians, state actors and the governments in the modern days are more perfectly represented by Eddie who has won over the failure of the public, weaker ones, in trying to restore order and values in the society. Brutal and powerful forces of the state actors are consistently winning over the weaker ones.…