What Is the Significance of the Ratcatcher in Kindertransport?

Topics: Nazi Germany, Pied Piper of Hamelin, Irony Pages: 2 (686 words) Published: October 9, 2011
The character of the Ratcatcher plays an important role in the play “Kindertransport” by Diane Samuels, not just as an antagonist but as a vital symbol in the play’s context. During these pages, Eva’s mother, Helga is reading Eva’s favorite book about the pied piper of Hamlin. But also, during this scene there is cross cutting between Helga reading the book and Faith (Evelyn’s Daughter) also reading the same book, but in a different setting. The Ratcatcher in this scene is portrayed as an evil and dark mysterious figure, whose ultimate plan is not immediately recognised, but towards the end of the scene, the Ratcatcher is the embodiment and symbol of separation, as the scene moves into another short scene which depicts Eva finally on the Kindertransport leaving her family and heading for a new life in England. This scene also depicts some actual accounts of the Kindertransport, as some children and parents alike thought that living in England would only be a short term arrangement as Eva states ‘see you in England’. This is also dramatic irony as the audience knows that not all children were reunited with their families. Throughout the plot of “Kindertransport”, the Ratcatcher takes the form of other characters in the play, such as the Nazi guard on the train. In this scene, Eva is sitting on the train too petrified to move. This is ironic as the Ratcatcher is the personification of Evelyn/Eva’s fear and at that moment in the play, the audience would expect that a child of Eva’s age would be scared about leaving their family behind. The stage directions in this scene describe the emotion of Eva as being terrified and scared. This scene also shows what the Nazi supporters thought of the Jews as being scum as the officer takes Eva’s luggage and dumps it all on the train floor and draws a huge Star of David on her label. He also throws a sweet for Eva on the floor showing that he thinks he is of a higher standard than the Jewish children. The third time that the...
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