Humor and National Catharsis in Roberto Cossa's El saludador

Document Type



Fall 2002


Specific Literature: Argentinian literature; Time Period: 1900-1999; Subject Author: Cossa, Roberto M. (1934- ); Subject Work: El saludador (1999); Literary Genre: drama; Literary Technique: humor; Literary Theme: (treatment of) protagonist; (as) surrogat


Latin American Languages and Societies


This article examines humor in Roberto Cossa’s El saludador and proposes that, through his unique blend of comic forms, the playwright manipulates audience reaction and provokes catharsis in his spectators. Cossa creates a comic protagonist who is a surrogate for the Argentine nation. Through their identification with the humorous protagonist/nation, spectators can consider their own reaction to the abuses the nation has suffered or self-imposed. Unlike earlier Cossa plays, which may have impeded audience catharsis, the spectator/protagonist/nation identification in El saludador promotes catharsis through audience laughter and allows spectators to purge themselves of economic and political fears in the aftermath of recent events in Argentina’s history. (GB)

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