Intruder (play)

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Written by Maurice Maeterlinck
Date premiered 20 May 1891 (1891-05-20)
Genre Symbolism

Intruder (French: L'Intruse)[1] a play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. It is the second play Maeterlinck wrote.

Intruder concerns man's conflict with preternatural forces, against which he is powerless.[2] The same theme was prevalent in Maeterlinck's first written play, Princess Maleine.


The first performance of Intruder occurred at Paul Fort's Theatre d'Art in Paris on May 20, 1891. The play was to appear at the end of a program benefiting Paul Verlaine and Paul Gauguin. If the program went on too long, then the play was to be removed.[3]

Intruder was a success and received praise from many critics.[4]


Set in the living room of a home, the grandfather, who is blind, waits with the father, the uncle, and the three daughters. They wait for the arrival of the priest and the sister. The ailing mother, who is in the next room, has given birth to a child, who sleeps in another adjoining room.

After hearing many noises, the grandfather hears two sets of footsteps upon the staircase. The maid appears, saying the door was open, so she shut it. The grandfather claims he heard someone enter the room behind the maid, but the others in the room say she was alone. The clock strikes midnight, the baby commences screaming, and the Sister of Mercy appears, announcing the death of the mother.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Maurice Materlinck, Bettina Knapp, (Twayne Publishers: Boston), 41.
  3. ^ Maurice Maeterlinck, Knapp, 40.
  4. ^ Maurice Maeterlinck, Knapp, 48-9.