Two lines from the play are directly lifted from the works which Albee is mocking: 'Flores para los muertos' is from A Streetcar named Desire and Martha's speech - 'Awww, tis the refuge we take...' - is from a play by Eugene O'Neill. Both of these playwrights sanction illusion in the face of reality; Virginia Woolf is said to be an elaborate metaphor for the 'willing substitution of fantasy for reality, the destructive and dangerous infantilising of the imagination and the moral being by fear.' Albee saw society as too willing to conform and adjust itself morally in order to benefit and succeed. George's attempts to escape from such a society result in his hiding in history and thus him and Nick are no better than each other. George has to resist the totalitarian - 'defend Berlin' - in Nick but his attempts to defend Western civilisation 'against its sex- and success-orientated assailants...are too closely centred on his scrotum.'
And "Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) and in the theories of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)"(ibid, p. 466). After advocating the idea of absurdity by Sartre and Camus, regarding philosophy and literature, it is always said, the years after World War II are fruitless years, in the matter of theater. But a few years later, the idea of absurd replies with a new term, which slips into literature meant of new type of theater. It is called the Theater of the Absurd, "the phrase "the theater of the absurd" was probably coined by Martin Esslin, who wrote The Theater of Absurd (1961)" (Cuddon, 1998.p. 910).
The play attacks the notion that there are no absolute truths or realities. Pinter is therefore concerned with what exists as unknown and intangible to humanity. His theatre interrogates the truth of nature and realities of language and demonstrates that much of what the audience regards as fact is fiction as he explores the uncertainty of human existence. When an audience of the 1960's went to the theatre, it can generally be assumed that they had preconceived ideas about what they expected and what they are going to gain from the theatrical experience. The traditional attitudes towards theatre and the conventions of realist drama are disrupted by Pinter.
Godot can be assumed as one of the many wishes that Vladimir and Estragon wait for. Waiting for Godot is part of the ‘Theater of the Absurd’. This implies that it is meant to be irrational and pointless in nature since you do not have a proper moral and conclusion to the play, i.e., it is an open ended play. The readers and audiences can have many conclusions towards the end of the play. The concepts of drama, chronological plot, logical language, themes, and recognizable settings are features of drama that a play from the Theatre of Absurd does not have.
Many individuals come to the realization of the absurdity when they come to the contradiction of what they know and wanting to know more about what is not known. The universal question is, “is suicide legitimate” and this becomes a legitimate question because upon confronting the absurd individuals begin to question life and the meaning and purpose of being alive. The absurd makes us wonder because the answers we truly need will never be found because we all die or commit suicide and nobody comes back from the dead. Until we find the answers we truly desire, we will have to revolt and deal with the contradictions of life. Revolting against our responsibilities and problems gives our lives meaning and makes us feel like a more wholesome and emotionally capable person
He indicated too, the influence of Camus’ Existentialism behind the absurd, with the idea that men are trapped in a hostile universe that was totally subjective, describing the nightmare that could follow when solitude and silence were taken to the ultimate degree. Humour within absurdist plays is often found as black humour in which disturbing or sinister subjects like death, disease, or warfare, are treated with bitter amusement, usually in a manner calculated to offend and shock. In absurd theatre it is used to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox, and cruelty of the modern world. ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett and ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ by Tom Stoppard. The plays are constructed into the form of meta-theatre, blurring the line between what is scripted and what goes on by accident, completely demolishing the “fourth wall" and engaging the audience.
In their delineation the authors simultaneously attack and present the potential dangers of "the unquestioned generalized acceptance of and participation" in this myth. This concern finds resonance in Edward Albee's comment when he describes his work as "an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, and emasculation and vacuity, a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen." Secondly Albee deploys techniques of Theater of Absurd. Albee often begins with a seemingly realistic circumstance that is abruptly interrupted by an absurd or surreal element or event. As for example in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Both of the plays I will look at are very sinister, subversive plays, riddled with dark humour. What is important to remember is that the plays are not just absurd for the sake of being pretentious, which I have to admit was my first opinion about the plays, it is important to remember that this mode of theatre is a reaction to realist theatre. Also, the incomprehensibility of the plays is another way of looking at the human condition and the idea of the irrationality of experience (adapted from the Penguin book of literary terms) The idea of an actual ending in these plays is problematic. " (Beckett) trades in plot, characterisation and a final solution, for a series of concrete stage images" (http://dana.nau.edu) Although they have endings, neither play really has a conclusion. This is one of the most prominent features of theatre of the absurd, the way in which the ending isn't clear-cut leaves the audience feeling somewhat uneasy.
Often considered Experimental Theatre, it lacked logically-constructed plots and pushed the limits of the stage (Franks). It evolved into a form of theatre, known as the Theatre of the Absurd, which challenged the norm of the post-World War II society (Culik). Through unique methods, the Theatre of the Absurd made a major impact on drama and life, challenging the power that realism had on the theatre and people during the 1950s. Three events or experiences occurred that influenced Theatre of the Absurd. The first was World War II which occurred from 1939 to 1945 (Axelrod 223 263).
Shakespeare is not content, however, with the simple notion of thought as a mere signifier of the battle between the mind and the body. The real clash is a conflict of consciousness, of Hamlet's oscillations between infinite abstraction and shackled solipsism, between recognition of the heroic ideal and of his limited means, between the methodical mishmash of sanity and the total chaos of insanity. I repeat "between" not only for anaphoric effect, but to suggest Shakespeare's conception of thought; that is, a set of perspectivally-splintered realities which can be resolutely conflated, for better or worse, only by the mediating hand of action. Any discussion of Hamlet, a work steeped in contradictions and doubles, necessitates inquiry into passages ... ... middle of paper ... ...ble that someday the legendary cultural baggage that accompanies Hamlet will be lost, and future generations may wish to judge the play on its dramatic merits and not on its required-reading position. If that is the case, they may very well "make" the play "bad" through their different perspective, one which we cannot yet appreciate, and Hamlet, already four centuries old, may disappear from our cultural consciousness.