The Visit

Teacher Character Analysis

The teacher is the only man in Güllen (besides Ill) to acknowledge the insidiousness of the Gülleners new spending habits after Claire’s promise of a billion dollars in exchange for Ill’s death. He struggles to balance his devotion to humanist philosophy with his desire for material gain. He and the Doctor visit Claire at the beginning of Act III, hoping to dissuade her from killing Ill. When that doesn’t work, he nearly reveals Claire’s plot to the journalists visiting Güllen, but ultimately finds himself unable to resist her promise of money.

Teacher Quotes in The Visit

The The Visit quotes below are all either spoken by Teacher or refer to Teacher. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Visit published in 2010.
Act 3 Quotes

The temptation is too great and our poverty is too wretched. But I know something else. I too will take part in it. I can feel myself slowly turning into a murderer. My faith in humanity is powerless. And because I know this, I have turned into a drunk. I am scared, Ill, just as you have been scared. I still know that some day an old lady will visit us too, and that then what is happening to you now will happen to us, but soon, maybe in a few hours, I will no longer know it.

Related Characters: Teacher (speaker), Claire Zachanassian, Alfred Ill
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Teacher Character Timeline in The Visit

The timeline below shows where the character Teacher appears in The Visit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Irony and Artifice Theme Icon
The Schoolmaster, the Mayor, the Priest, and Alfred Ill, Güllen’s “most popular personality,” arrive at the railway... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
...the cat, and the coffin as only the whims of a “world-famous [lady],” but the Teacher finds them unsettling. In fact, he finds everything about Claire unsettling, and compares her to... (full context)
Act 3
Love and Prostitution Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...barn is strewn with enormous spiderwebs, and apparently is so dark that the Doctor and Teacher, who have come to visit Claire, struggle to find her. She tells the men that... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Teacher and Doctor announce that they have come to Claire to discuss her offer: they explain... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
But to the horror of the Teacher and Doctor, Claire informs them that she already owns Güllen’s industrial sites—and that it was... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
Irony and Artifice Theme Icon
Love and Prostitution Theme Icon
Claire takes leave of the disheartened Teacher and Doctor and we cut to Ill’s general store. The once dingy and dated shop... (full context)
Irony and Artifice Theme Icon
The Teacher enters the shop and begins to drink heavily. The other customers in the shop decline... (full context)
Irony and Artifice Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Up to this point, the Teacher has been not only drinking heavily, but also growing increasingly perturbed by the Gülleners’ dishonesty... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
...Not long after, Ill’s wife and her customers also take off, leaving Ill and the Teacher alone. The Teacher tells Ill that he was trying to help him, to tell the... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
Love and Prostitution Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Ill’s resignation sobers the Teacher, who recognizes that, in a way, Ill is to blame for Güllen’s dire current situation.... (full context)
Justice, Morality, and Money Theme Icon
Irony and Artifice Theme Icon
Humanism and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Teacher takes the stage and cryptically reminds the town that the donation will not come cheaply.... (full context)