Martin McDonagh’s, The Pillowman, delves into some dark places in its depiction of artistic freedom, the value of art and morality. In this brutal, yet sensational "story", a key question is being imposed on the reader about the meaning and purpose of art, and more specifically whether art reflects or influences real-life situations. The horrific stories of Katurian with their explicitly violent subject matter helped to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in society and what isn't.
Throughout the play the importance of storytelling and art is reinforced, especially by Katurian, the prodigious playwright who expresses this early on when he tells detective Tupolski, "the first duty of a storyteller is to tell a story and I believe…show more content… In fact, Katurian says, "Right at this moment, I don't care if they kill me. I don't care. But they're not going to kill my stories. They're not going to kill my stories. They're all I've got." All in all, Katurian is an artist sacrificing his life in order to protect his art for the future and is in a battle against the hypocritically bloodthirsty public, represented by Michal and the two sardonic cops, who are bent on blaming the artist for society's antisocial impulses, immoral actions and craven tastes. Ultimately, "The Pillowman" raises the question: Is society responsible for the stories Katurian writes or is Katurian solely to blame for the tales and their ghastly…show more content… Ariel also gives a little monologue in which it is revealed that he desires above all else to capture people who hurt children, which casts him in a better light. In this monologue, Ariel expresses his hatred towards Katurian's stories when he says, "And so, naturally, when I hear that a child has been killed in a fashion . . . in a fashion such as this 'Little Jesus' thing . . . You know what? I would torture you to death just for writing a story like that, let alone acting it out!" Surprisingly, at the end of "The Pillowman", Detective Ariel, "for reasons known only to himself chose not to put the stories in the burning trash, but placed them carefully with Katurian's case file, which he then sealed away to remain unopened for fifty-odd years." Ariel surprisingly recognizes the potential value of these stories and realizes their ability to become a true legacy. Katurian is executed for killing both his parents and Michal, but Ariel ultimately decides not to burn his stories and in turn, gives these stories a chance of living