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THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD Eugène Ionesco Samuel Beckett Harold Pinter Tom Stoppard Albert Camus.

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Presentation on theme: "THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD Eugène Ionesco Samuel Beckett Harold Pinter Tom Stoppard Albert Camus."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD Eugène Ionesco Samuel Beckett Harold Pinter Tom Stoppard Albert Camus

2 Albert Camus (The Myth of Sysiphus, 1942) A world that can be explained by reasoning, however faulty, is a familiar world.But in a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light people feel strangers. They are irremediable exiles because they are deprived of memories of a lost homeland as much as they lack the hope of a promised land to come.This divorce between people and their lives,the actor and his setting, truly constitues the feeling of absurdity.

3 Eugene Ionesco(Dans les arms de la ville, an essay on Kafka) Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose… Cut off from his religious, metaphysical & transcendental roots, man is lost, all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless.

4 Loss of meaning: the world appears frightening as it is illogical

5 Historical & Philosophical Backgound Waning of religious feeling Breakdown of the liberal faith in an inevitable social progress after WW1 Relapse into barbarism, mass murder& genocide in the course of hitlers brief ruleover Europe during WW2

6 Disillusionment with the hopes of a radical social revolution as predicted by Marx after Stalin had turned the Soviet Union into a totalitarian tyranny The spread of spiritual emptiness in the outwardly prosperous & affluent societies of Western Europe and the USA

7 Cultural Roots Mimus()Greek/Latin Drama) Ritual Drama Allegorical & Symbolic Drama (e.g. Morality Plays or autos Sacramental) Dream & Nightmare Literature Tradition of Fools: Mad scenes in Drama (e.g. Shakespeares tragedies) Pantomime & Music Hall Nonsense poetry Commedia dellarte

8 No Communication Loss of Meaning > the language is devoid of meaning What happens on the stage transcends and often contradicts the words spoken by the characters The characters talk (= use the language )to fill the emptiness between them

9 In a universe that seems to be drained of meaning the pompous & laborious attempts at an explanation we call philosophy or politics must appear as empty chatter In a world that has become absurd the theatre of the absurd is the most accurate reproduction of reality

10 Martin Esslin (from Absurd Drama) A well made play. The characters are well observed & convincingly motivated Dialogue is witty & logically built up An Absurdist Play The characters are hardly recognizable human beings, their actions are completely unmotivated. Dialogue seems to have degenerate into meaningless babble

11 Beginning-middle- ending clearly recognizable It is primarily concerned to tell a story or elucidate an intellectual problem…It can thus be seen as a narrative or discoursive form of communication Result :Final Message DYNAMIC It starts at an arbitrary point & seems to end as arbitrarily It is intended to convey a poetic image os a complex pattern of poetic images; it is above all a poetic form It conveys a central atmosphere STATIC

12 The action goes from point A to point B: we constantly ask Whats going to happen next? Conditioned by clear, comforting beliefs, a stable scale of values, an ethical system in full working conditions Action :gradual unfolding of a complex pattern.We ask What is it that we are seeing? Absurdist playrights no longer believe in the possibility of of a neat resolution: they express a sense of wonder, incomprehension, despair at the lack of cohesion and meaning they find in the world

13 Politics Religion Implicit belief in the goodness & perfectibility of people Unthinking acceptance of the moral & political status quo Implicit idea that the world does make sense, reality is secure, all outlines clear, all ends apparent There is no faith in the existence of a rational and well ordered universe Sense of shock at the absense, the loss of any such clear & well defined system of beliefs & values

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