By Robert MacBride
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I won't have to dance to undo my crime, because I willed it. (G: 161; F: 39) Instead of admitting defeat, Lefranc refuses to be crushed by the validity of the others' condemnation and he clings to his own guiltless version of murder or evil. His attitude recalls that of Caligula in Camus's play. After having chosen injustice, violence and murder as a way of life, Caligula understands that his 'absurd' quest has led him nowhere, yet he keeps defying the rest of the world; and when he finally meets with death, he fights bravely against his assassins and says, 'I am still alive'.
Whatever happens in the course of the play does not change the balance of power, either within the cell or within the prison. Maurice's death is like the concrete illustration of his weakness and naIvety, Lefranc's murder confirms his second-class position both as a 'small-time crook' and as an almost suicidal rebel and Green Eyes'S complicity and final betrayal are like the consecration of his career as a prestigious, double-dealing delinquent. The plot of the play, as a whole, conveys the idea of change which is not really change.
Lefranc kills Maurice just after he has compared him to a 'whore' and obviously likened him to the 'lilac' girl, Green Eyes's former victim. So Deathwatch indirectly expresses a desire to destroy or debase femininity either within oneself or in others. Paradoxically, the suppression of the feminine required by the prison becomes a source of creativity; it results in a gap or void demanding to be bridged or filled. Lefranc's letter-writing, Green Eyes's tattoo and even his dance with Maurice can be considered creative forms making up for this gap.