Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Death Trap

The Death Trap

Q. Describe how Prince Dimitri turned the tables on his disloyal guards.
Q. How do you justify the title of the play?
Q. Do feel the title of the play, The Death Trap, appropriate? If so, why?
Q. Discuss the significance of the title ‘The Death Trap’?

Prince Dimitri, the young ruler of Kedaria, has rivalry with Karl dynasty. Dimitri’s enemies hatch a plan to assassinate him. They are ready for the right moment. Of his three regiments of guards, the Kranitzki regiment is loyal to the enemy. Three officers of the regiment, Colonel Girnitza, Major Vontieff and Captain Shultz are all set to murder Prince Dimitri as soon as his loyal Andrieff regiment leaves the guard.

Dr Stronetz, a dear friend and personal physician of Prince offers him a drug so that he can die. The prince refuses and says that he would meet death on his own terms. The doctor tries to save him by telling the conspirators that the prince would die of a heart disease within six days. The murderers, fooled by the doctor’s words decide to wait.

The doctor reveals the prince that he really has a terminal heart condition, Dimitri decides to use the drug. At the last moment, he turns the tables on his would be killers by offering them drugged wine. All of them die in a tragic climax. Prince Dimitri could never escape the death-trap, but he successful lays a death-trap for his would be assassins. Thus the title of is play is very opt/ appropriate/ justified. Hence, the title is very significant.

What kind of a person is Prince Dimitri? Analyze and comment on his character.

Prince Dimitri is the protagonist in the one act play, ‘The Death Trap’, written by Saki, H.H. Munro. He is the ruler of Kedaria. His dynasty has a long standing rivalry with Karl dynasty. Dimitri is the last surviving member ruling the kingdom. His enemies conspire to kill him. He bravely faces the situation and utilizes the circumstances to eliminate his would be assassins.

He knows that he is helpless as his loyal regimental guards would be away. He has no weapons to defend himself. No one is allowed to see him except his friend and physician Dr Stronetz. The prince is a practical man. Though he is quite young, he is mature and accepts the fate. He tells his position to the doctor. He denies the drug offered by the doctor saying that he would meet death on his own terms. This shows the courage of Dimitri. 

When the doctor reveals that he has a terminal heart disease, he decides to end his life with the drug. He tells the doctor that he is a monarch and he doesn’t like to be kept waiting by death. This shows that he is imperious and proud. He is quick witted. He offers his disloyal officers drugged wine and kills them.

Q. Analyze the character of Dr Stronetz.

Ans: Dr Stronetz is a close friend and personal physician of Prince Dimitri. Dimitri’s enemies hatch a plan to assassinate him and they are ready for the right moment. When Dr Stronetz knows of the conspiracy, he offers a drug to Dimitri as he could do nothing. He reasons that the prince should not be allowed to be butchered in cold blood. He takes pity on the prince. He is quick witted. When the assassins arrive to murder Dimitri, he saves him by telling them that the prince would not live more than six days because of a heart problem. The murderers are fooled by the doctor’s words decide to wait.


As a doctor, he is quite efficient. He is sure of Dimitri’s heart problem as soon as he examines him. He is instrumental in making the prince kill his would-be killers. Though the prince dies as he drinks the drugged wine, his wish is fulfilled as he could kill the conspirators. After all, the drug given by him saved the prince as it killed his enemies. It also saved the prince from dying a miserable death by a weak heart. Thus, Dr Stronetz is compassionate, loyal and friendly to Dimitri. He is a quick witted, efficient physician. 

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