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The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh. Essay sample


‘The Pillowman’ is a play written by Martin McDonagh in 2003. The story of a fiction writer Katurian and his brother Michal is dwelt upon in the play. Katurian lives in a police state and is being interrogated about the gruesome content of his stories. What is particularly strange is that the events described in those short stories are very similar to a number of child murders that happened in that town.

Speaking about the details of the story, the play predominantly takes place in the interrogation room. Therefore, it is hard to determine what time of day or year it is. What is more, the geographical location is not specified as well.

Katurian and his brother Michal have been abused both physically and psychologically as kids by their parents. Thus, what they represent is the pain which is left after experiencing something as horrible as that. As a result of being abused for years, it is hard for Katurian and Michal to determine where the line between right and wrong is. Besides, the world of the two brothers revolves around violence and death and they do not know anything better that this. In such a way, Katurian finds it normal to write disturbing novels about children while Michal does not even understand how wrong and twisted it is to murder those children.

Taking everything into consideration, ‘The Pillowman’ by Martin McDonagh is a powerful play which received the Olivier Award in 2004 in the category of Best New Play. A lot of intricate and deep themes are touched upon in the play in order to describe the psychology of the main characters.