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The Dreams of Reason

The crucial thing is the atmosphere of constant threat, the ever present fear experienced not only by the subjects, but also by the royal officials and even by the tyrant himself. Wajda underscores this atmosphere by tiny but extremely expressive devices (hearing a murmur in the corridor the king reaches for his gun, which he never parts from), but also by introducing a group of royal volunteers, who occasionally appear to observe the action, as if waiting for the final signal to deal with Goya (...) At the end this signal (...) opens the most dramatic scene of the play: the helpless Goya, dressed in the grotesque heretic's costume (known from his paintings of the auto da f) and tied to a chair, witnesses the soldiers' rape of Leokadia, his late life companion, lover and housekeeper. (...) Visually, this scene - and not only this one - is reminiscent of Goya's etchings; at another point in the drama Wajda has constructed an almost literal replica of the title etching, where the man asleep at a table is Goya himself, and the royal volunteers take on the role of monsters.

Maciej Karpinski,
"The Theatre of Andrzej Wajda" Warszawa 1980, p.72.

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