The Pillowman is a dramatic play written by Martin McDonagh that is set in a police-run government city. It involves only 4 characters and dives into subjects many people may find disturbing. With the fresh news of a serial child murderer on the loose, policemen Tupolski and Ariel find the man who they think did the killings due to his stories which seem eerily similar to the gruesome murders of the children; his name is Katurian Katurian.
Katurian is a writer who is best known for his extremely dark and gruesome stories that often take a dark and sometimes sadistic twist to everyday fairytales. As Katurian is being questioned about vague details, the police officers begin to lose their temper and begin using excessive force to try and get the answer they want but still, Katurian holds true to his innocence, however, everything changes when his brother, Michal, is brought into the mix. Michal, Katurian's younger brother is mentally handicapped due to his parent's abuse towards him as a young boy. In order for Katurian to write like he does now, his parents had to make him go through his own miniature version of Hell itself. Katurian, as an adult, wrote one of his stories on the tragic events which scarred him for the rest of his life.
In the short story “The Writer and the Writer's Brother” Katurian tells of the times of his adolescence and how short lived it was. When Katurian was just a small boy, when he was about to go to sleep he would start to hear muffled screams, drills, hammers, retching, everything designed to make a grown man break. However, Katurian listened and instead of crying or begging for it all to stop, he began to write. His stories began to become artworks of literature at the as of 14, short stories that would place him 1st in any competition but at what cost? This continued for many years until one night when a note was slipped under Katurians door. It was written in what seemed to be blood and told of how his own brother suffered these pains so that he could become a better writer. With such boiled rage and built up hatred, Katurian busted down the boarded up door to find his own brother who had been beaten and damaged so much that he didn’t know what else to do but murder his parents for what they did to him. He took a pillow to his father and then to his mother, suffocating both of them. Ever since this incident, Katurian has had to take care of Michal which leads to the climax of the play.
After being told Michal had been arrested as well and was tortured into saying that Katurian has committed the murders, Katurian finally gets the opportunity to see Michal. Michal went to Katurian and told him that he had committed the murders. Without realizing the full consequences, Michal admitted to the crimes and was sentenced to be executed, however, Katurian was not going to let that happen. Instead, he began to read Michal a story to relax him and soon Michal had fallen asleep. To save him the pain of execution, Katurian took a pillow and smothered his own brother and took full responsibility for the murders of the children, his brother, and his parents. With no effort at all though, Katurians confession quickly fell apart as he did not know specific details but was still sentenced to be executed for confessing to the murder of his parents and of Michal. He asked for one promise though; to let his stories live on after he died in an act to save his only thing left that mattered to him. In the end, Ariel, in an act to redeem whatever reputation Katurian had left, Took the stories and saved every one of them.