Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett

analytical Essay
1975 words
1975 words

The world War II had pressed hard ‘The Absurdists’ as well as the ‘Existential philosophers’. They both got disillusioned and came to realize the emptiness of the human world. In retaliation to Ionesco’s criticism, Sartre criticized his ideas that he had put in his book ‘Rhinoceros’. According to Rosette C. Lamont, “Sartre’s criticism highlights a primary difference between the Theatre of the Absurd and Existentialism. The Theatre of the absurd shows the failure of man without recommending a solution” 10. Ionesco felt that Sartre and Camus thought out the themes which they did not express in a far more vital contemporary fashion. He said in an interview with Claude Bonnefoy, “ I have the feeling that these writers---- who are serious and important – were talking of absurdity and death, but they never really lived these themes ….. that all this was not deeply inscribed in their language. With them it was still rhetoric, eloquence; with Arthur Adamov and Beckett it really is a very naked reality that is conveyed through the apparent dislocation of language11. Beckett’s own relationship with Sartre was complicated and ‘he generally found the writing style of Sartre and Heidigger to be too philosophical and he considered himself ‘not a philoshpher’’ 12. However, it is safe to say that the war-weary world had shaken the nerves of all thinking men, whether ‘Absurdists’ or ‘Sartre- minded philosophers’ and everyone gave expression to his feelings as per his own bent of mind either using philosophical expressions or simply ‘absurd’ outbursts. The Existentialism and ‘Absurdism got so mixed up that it was difficult for great critics even to distinguish and disentangle one from the other. The ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ movement was original...

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... by M.H. Abrams and G.G. Harpham.

3. ------ ibid ------

4. ------ ibid ------

5. Samuel Backett : Endgame, Grove Press 1958.

6. Kennth Tynan.

7. A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams and G.G. Harpham.

8. ------ ibid ------

9. Eugene Inonesco : Pressent Past, Past Present, Da Capo Press 1998.

10. Rossete C. Lamont. Ionesco's Imperatives : The Politics of Culture. University of Michigan Press, 1993.

11. Claude Bonnefoy : Conversations with Eugene Ionesco. Trans : Jan Dawson Holt. Rinehard and Winston 1971.

12. Authony Cronin, Issac Cronin : Samuel Beckett: The last modernist Da Capo Press 1988.

13. Martin Esslin : The Theatre of the Absurd, MYT Press 1960.

14. ------ ibid ------

15. J.L. Styan : Modern Drama in Theory and Practice Cambridge University Press 1983.

16. Waiting for Godot : A Faber Paperback Page 80.

17. ------ ibid ------ Page 89.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the war-weary world had shaken the nerves of all thinking men, whether ‘absurdists’ or ‘sartre-minded philosophers.
  • Explains that existentialism and ‘absurdism’ got so mixed up that it was difficult for great critics to distinguish and disentangle one from the other.
  • Analyzes how the playwrights reject the conventional standards by which drama has been judged over the centuries. they express the senselessness of life by abandoning rational devices.
  • Analyzes how beckett uses non-verbal devices such as gestures, mime, music-hall cross talk and elements of circus to give cheerfulness to the world of weariness and despair.
  • Analyzes how beckett's "waiting for godot" was a new trend against conventional dramaturgy and its distinct aspects like austere stage-setting, unique protagonists, linguistic devices and other non-verbal acts made it an avant garde play.
  • Analyzes how beckett rejects the form and content of conventional theatrical plays. his two main characters, vladimir and estragon, have an appointment with a mysterious figure, godgot.
  • Analyzes how vladmir and estragon idle away their time waiting for godgot who never returns. pozzo and lucky are thrown back into non-action and their waiting shows their boredom and hopelessness.
  • Analyzes how beckett's play 'waiting for godgot' is a reference to time that pinches pozzo.
  • Analyzes how beckett vaguely points to the motive of the play, while vladmir repeats the phase twice, first referring to his hat, then to uselessness of mirth. the suffering of being is the main concern of this play.
  • Analyzes claude bonnefoy's conversations with eugene ionesco. rinehard and winston 1971.
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