Exit the King is perhaps Ionesco’s most conventional Absurdist drama. It takes place on King Berenger’s dying day, also, not coincidentally, the last day of the universe. The older queen, Marguerite, and the Doctor tell the king that everything is falling apart – from the walls of the palace to the workings of the solar system – and that he is dying. The younger queen, Marie, exhorts him to live in the moment and not give in to death. King Berenger does not want to die, but his commands to restore order go unheeded. In the end, he concedes that he is dying, and he fades into the mist. The play shows that the human desire to live, and, by extension, to control our universe, is pointless in the end.
Exit the King guide sections