Modernism in the Real Inspector Hound

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Tom Stoppard – The Real Inspector Hound
Trying to define postmodernism would mean setting boundaries. This is exactly what postmodernism is not about. Jean Baudrillard, a sociology professor at the University of Nanterre from the 1960s through 1987, has become the embodiment of postmodernism. He developed the view that we are at the end of history and history may be reversing itself, so we live in a “post-orgy state of things” (Baudrillard in Best and Kellner, 1991, p. 137). There is no definite timeline for postmodernism, but it was most popular during the 60’s and 70’s. It has countless characteristics, e.g. irony, parody, metafiction, pastiche and subjectivity. Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound is a very postmodernist play. Besides profuse other postmodernist elements it contains all 5 of these characteristics.

Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound is a very postmodernist play with no fixed time. The Real Inspector Hound consists of a mix of two situations that take place at the same time. First there is the actual play, a whodunnit, which has six main characters: Cynthia, Felicity, Simon, Mrs. Drudge, Magnus and Inspector Hound. Next to this there is the play-whitin-a-play, in which Birdboot and Moon are the main characters. As audience you follow both of these situations and the play-within-a-play also follows the actual play. This situation is very confusing for the audience at first and they have to figure out that Birdboot and Moon are two critics who are also watching and analysing the same play as the audience is watching.

Birdboot and Moon are constantly critisising the play and its actors.They are also having their own personal conversations during the play and sometimes their personal chit-chat gets a bit out of hand and loud:

“MOON Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
BIRDBOOT [Unexpectedly stung into fury.] How dare you! [More quietly.] How dare you. Don’t you come here with your slimy insinuations! My wife Myrtle...
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