The Physicists starts with the murder of a nurse in Les Cerisiers, a European mental institution. Inspector Richard Voss and the local police force investigate the murder scene, which is the drawing room of a villa within Les Cerisiers. This villa is the home of three mental patients who believe they are great physicists. A man named Ernesti killed the nurse. Ernesti believes he is Albert Einstein, and he frequently plays the violin as the real Einstein did. This has been the second murder of a nurse at the same villa.

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Synopsis[ edit ] The story is set in the drawing room of Les Cerisiers sanatorium , an idyllic home for the mentally ill, run by famed psychiatrist Mathilde von Zahnd. This drawing room connects to three rooms, each of which is inhabited by a mentally ill patient.

These three men, all physicists by trade, are permitted use of the drawing room, where they are periodically monitored by the female nurses that are charged with their care. When the play begins, "Einstein" has just killed one of his nurses, and the police are examining the scene. It is revealed through their discussion that this is the second slaying of a nurse by one of these three patients in just three months, the first having been committed by "Newton".

They are all only faking insanity. He instead feigned madness, that he might be committed to a sanatorium and thus protected along with his knowledge. Each spy murdered a nurse to protect his secrets and to strengthen his simulation of madness. After much debate, the three men finally agree that they are content to protect humanity by living out the rest of their lives in captivity, while furthering and serving physics.

The story ends with a sense of impending doom.


The Physicists Summary & Study Guide

The family moved to Bern in In , he decided to become an author and dramatist and dropped his academic career. In —46, he wrote his first play It Is Written. On 11 October , he married the actress Lotti Geissler. She died on 16 January Next to Brecht, he has been called its "most original theorist". The story of the play revolves around a battle between a sensation-craving cynic and a religious fanatic who takes scripture literally, all of this taking place while the city they live in is under siege.


Friedrich Dürrenmatt


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