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Theatre of the Absurd in Beckett

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theatre of the absurd
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    Theatre of the Absurd in Beckett’s Play Waiting for Godot ♣The dictionary definition of ”absurd” is ”ridiculous, incongruous” (Merriam Webster Dictionary), but when we speak about the theatre of the absurd, we refer to it as follows: ”Absurd is that which is devoid of  purpose...Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his actions  become senseless, absurd, useless ” (Eugène Ionesco). ♣   ” The decline of religious faith was masked until the end of the Second World War by the substitute religions of faith in progress, nationalism, and various totalitarian fallacies (= aberații, erezii, raționamente greșite). All this was shattered by the war. By 1942, Albert Camus was calmly putting  ( asking)  the question why, since life has lost all meaning, man should not seek escape in suicide. [...] In The Myth of Sysiphus , Camus tried to diagnose the human situation in a world of shattered beliefs:  A world that can be explained by reasoning, however faulty (=stricat, cu defecte,imperfect), is a familliar world. But in a universe that is  suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger. [...] This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, truly constitutes the feeling of Absurdity.   ”  (Esslin, p. 23) ♣” The theatre of the absurd, however, can be seen as the reflection of what seems to be the attitude most genuinely representative of our own time. ”  (Esslin, p. 22-23) ♣ Features  : - lack of plot :  there is no plot or story in Waiting for Godot ; the play doesn’t have beginning, middle or ending ; it starts with Vladimir and Estragon waiting for the mysterious Godot, it continues in the same manner, and it ends just like it has begun:  ESTRAGON: Let's go. VLADIMIR: We can't.  ESTRAGON: Why not? VLADIMIR: We're waiting for Godot. (Act 1, scene 1) VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go?  ESTRAGON: Yes, let's go. [They do not move.] (Act 2, final scene) -language seems to have degenerated into meaningless babble: LUCKY: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown [...]. - ” [...] these are often without recognizable characters and present the audience with almost mechanical puppets   ”. (Esslin, p.22)   POZZO:    Don't let him go! (Vladimir and Estragon totter=a se clatina.) Don't move! (Pozzo fetches bag and basket and brings them towards Lucky.) Hold him tight! (He puts the bag in Lucky's hand. Lucky drops it immediately.) Don't let him go! (He puts back the bag in Lucky's hand. Gradually, at the feel of the bag, Lucky recovers his senses and his fingers finally close round the handle.) Hold him tight! (As before with basket.) #  Now! You can let him go. (Vladimir and Estragon move away from Lucky who totters, reels=a se invarti, sags=a se incovoia, indoi, but succeeds in remaining on his feet, bag and basket in his hands. Pozzo steps back, cracks his whip.) Forward! (Lucky totters forward.) Back! (Lucky totters back.) Turn! (Lucky turns.) Done it! He can walk. - ” [...] these  (plays) seem often to be reflections of dreams and nightmares ” (Esslin, p.22)   POZZO: I woke up one fine day as blind as Fortune. (Pause.) Sometimes I wonder if I'm not still asleep [...] VLADIMIR: Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do , what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo  passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be? [...]. (He looks again at Estragon.) At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on. (Pause.) I can't go on! (Pause.) What have I said? ♣” The subject of the play is not Godot but waiting , the act of waiting as an essential and characteristic aspect of human condition. Throughout out lives we always wait for something, and Godot simply represents the objective of our waiting-an event, a thing, a person, death. Moreover, it is in the act of waiting that we experience the flow of time in its purest, most evident form.” (Esslin, p. 49)   VLADIMIR: Well? What do we do? ESTRAGON: Don't let's do anything. It's safer. [...] VLADIMIR: Ah no, Gogo, the truth is there are things that escape you that don't escape me, you must feel it yourself. ESTRAGON: I tell you I wasn't doing anything. VLADIMIR: Perhaps you weren't. But it's the way of doing it that counts, the way of doing it, if you want to go on living. ESTRAGON: I wasn't doing anything. [...] ESTRAGON: I am happy. VLADIMIR: So am I. ESTRAGON: So am I. VLADIMIR: We are happy. ESTRAGON: We are happy. (Silence.) What do we do now, now that we are happy? VLADIMIR: Wait for Godot. (Estragon groans. Silence.) Things have changed here since yesterday. ESTRAGON: And if he doesn't come? VLADIMIR: (after a moment of bewilderment=zapaceala, tulburare,uluire). We'll see when the time comes. (Pause.) I was saying that things have changed here since yesterday.
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