This is the first complete English translation of the play that many critics consider to be Durrenmatt's finest work. Unlike an earlier version adapted for the English-language stage, this translation adheres faithfully to the author's original play as it was published and performed in German.
The action of The Visit takes place in the small town of Guellen, "somewhere in Central Europe." An elderly millionairesse, Claire Zachanassian, returns to Guellen, her home town, after an absence of many years. Merely on the promise of her millions, she shortly turns what has been a depressed area into a boom town. But there is a condition attached to her largess, which the natives of Guellen realize only after they have become enmeshed in her vengeful plot: murder. Out of these elements, Durrenmatt has fashioned a many-leveled play which is at once a macabre parable, a deeply moving tragedy, and a scathing indictment of the power of greed.