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LostInParadise's avatar

What story do you think is being told in the song Send in the Clowns?

Asked by LostInParadise (29638points) November 18th, 2021
7 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

When I first heard it sung by Judy Collins and later by Barbra Streisand, it seemed like it was about a woman speaking to a younger woman about how she never reached her potential and was upstaged by the other woman.

The actual story behind the Sondheim song is much different. Link . It is from the play, A Little Night Music, and is sung by a woman to a former lover, expressing her regret for rejecting his marriage proposal. Is that how you imagined the song?

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janbb's avatar

I imagine it as someone singing to a partner in a long term but unhappy relationship. It’s tragic but also farcical that they stay together.

gondwanalon's avatar

Great song!
I think it’s about a lost love.
The clowns are the many facades that we present to each other.

filmfann's avatar

She is addressing a former lover, and laughing at her own bad timing.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Yes. Desiree and Frederik are both middle-aged. Over the years, she had rejected his marriage proposals. Later in life, she realized that she loved him deeply, but he’d recently married a silly, young girl. Desiree sings “Send in the Clowns” to Frederik, regretting her own unfortunate choices and life’s unexpected twists.

Fun trivia. Every actress who’s sung the line, “Don’t you love farce?,” has been careful about pronouncing it. If the words are blurred or sung too quickly, they seem to be, “Don’t you love arse?”

Zaku's avatar

When I first heard it, it meant to me that it was going to be quite a while before I could see more muppets on The Muppet Show, and there were many similar slow melancholy verses to endure. I got that the singer was sad and looking for some sort of cheer to compensate, but it wouldn’t entirely make the sadness go away. It did do a good job of conveying a certain sad state, but I would rather they send in the muppets.

zenvelo's avatar

Stephen Stills’ interpretation:

It was getting to the point where she’s no fun anymore. (I am not sorry).

Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now

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