"I was born. I was entered into the register of births. I grew older." The beginning is innocuous, but then there is a change: "I was accountable. I was at fault."
This is the start of an altercation with higher and lower authorities. Handke’s both amusing and acerbic criticism of language was created 50 years ago, in the context of his plays bearing telling titles like Hilferufe (Cries for Help), Weissagung (Prophecy) and – best known – Publikumsbeschimpfung (Offending the Audience).
Peter Handke sends his protagonist to the confession box and extorts a self-accusation from them, in the manner of a totalitarian regime forcing their sinners to incriminate themselves. He reveals the parallels between Catholicism and Communism and puts bigoted social concepts of guilt up for discussion, without sparing those of his own medium: "Which laws of the theatre did I transgress against?" In the theatre, only the audience can hear this confession.