Don’t Repent, Harlequin

Do you have an imaginary character or fictional person that fascinates you?

I’ve recently become interested in harlequins. These brightly-dressed comedic buffoons wear masks and diamond-shaped patterned costumes. The harlequin is usually mysterious and entangled in some sort of romantic intrigue.

“‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” is a dystopian short story by Harlan Ellison, published in 1965. The story takes place in some not-too-distant future where society is so regimented and uniform that all the people must say, do, and think the same things, and live on a strict schedule. The Harlequin is the resistance; he’s an individual in a world that has outlawed individuality.

Harlequins are popular with artists. Picasso loved harlequins, and even painted his son Paul dressed as one.

1901 Harlequin

Paul as Harlequin


Cézanne and Derain paintings featuring harlequins:

Paul Cézanne’s Pierrot and Harlequin


Andre Derain painting of a Harlequin

2 thoughts on “Don’t Repent, Harlequin

  1. There are certain aspects to French culture that completely pass me by and mystify me. This post reminds me that is not only mimes that are truly terrible, but maybe Harlequins before them were just as annoying? I dunno, but going to guess that is why they are long gone!

    Liked by 1 person

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