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The Theatre of Absurd and Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) Samuel Beckett.

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Presentation on theme: "The Theatre of Absurd and Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) Samuel Beckett."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Theatre of Absurd and Samuel Beckett ( ) Samuel Beckett

2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND NEW MEANING OF EXISTENCEFRENCH EXISTENTIALISMSAMUEL BECKETT The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 1. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett Only Connect... New Directions

3 The aftermath of World War II increased by the Cold War. The atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps. The Allies’ atomic bomb. Disillusionment coming from the realization that Britain had been reduced to a second-class power. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 2. Historical background Only Connect... New Directions The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, 1945 The infamous entrance to Auschwitz.

4 Awareness of man’s propensity to evil and conscience of the destructive power of scientific knowledge. The lack of moral assurance and the decline of religious faith. The disillusionment with both the liberal and social theories about economic and social progress. Mistrust in the power of reason. Only Connect... New Directions A sense of anguish, helplessness and rootlessness developed especially among the young The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 3. New meaning of existence

5 Existentialism saw man trapped in a hostile world. Human life was meaningless and this created a sense of confusion, despair and emptiness. The universe was not rational and defied any explanation. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 4. French existentialism Jean Paul Sartre ( ) Only Connect... New Directions

6 The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 4. French existentialism The main exponent of this philosophical current was the French Jean Paul Sartre. Existentialists presented the absurdity of human condition by means of a lucid language and logical reasoning. Only Connect... New Directions Jean Paul Sartre ( )

7 Absence of a real story or plot. No action since all actions are insignificant. Vagueness about time, place and the characters. The value of language is reduced; in fact, what happens on the stage transcends, and often contradicts, the words spoken by the characters. Extensive use of pauses, silences, miming and farcical situations which reflect a sense of anguish. Incoherent babbling makes up the dialogue. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 5. The Theatre of the Absurd: main features Only Connect... New Directions

8 The sense of man’s alienation. The cruelty of human life. The absence or the futility of objectives. The meaninglessness of man’s struggle. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 6. The Theatre of the Absurd: main themes Only Connect... New Directions

9 Waiting for Godot (written in French in 1952 and translated into English in 1954 ) Endgame (1958) Krapp’s Last Tape (1959) Happy Days (1961) Breath (1970) The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 7. Samuel Beckett ( ) Samuel Beckett Main works Only Connect... New Directions

10 No Setting: a desolate country road and a bare tree. Time: evening. Characters: two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, bored by a day of nothingness; Pozzo and Lucky. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 8. Waiting for Godot Only Connect... New Directions Poster for a staging of Waiting for Godot.

11 The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 8. Waiting for Godot Theme: the static situation of waiting. Plot: the two tramps are waiting for a mysterious Godot who never turns up. Only Connect... New Directions Poster for a staging of Waiting for Godot.

12 Vladimir and Estragon are complementary. Lucky and Pozzo are linked by a relationship of master and servant. Vladimir and Lucky represent the intellect. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 9. Waiting for Godot: characters Only Connect... New Directions Waiting for Godot, London, Peter Hall Co.

13 The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 9. Waiting for Godot: characters Waiting for Godot, London, Peter Hall Co. Estragon and Pozzo stand for the body. The two couples are mutually dependent. The character the two tramps are waiting for is Godot  Biblical allusions in this name. Only Connect... New Directions

14 The play has a circular structure  it ends almost exactly as it begins. The two acts are symmetrically built  the stage is divided into two halves by a tree, the human races into two, Vladimir and Estragon. It is pervaded by a grotesque humour. Its tone is tragic and desperate. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 10. Waiting for Godot: structure Waiting for Godot, London, Peter Hall Co. Only Connect... New Directions

15 Human impotence in the face of life’s meaninglessness. A static world where nothing happens. Absence of a traditional time  there is no past, present and future, just a repetitive present. Disintegration of language  absurd exchanges, broken and fragmented dialogues. The lack of communication  use of para-verbal language: mime, silences, pauses and gags. The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 11. Waiting for Godot: themes Only Connect... New Directions

16 BeckettOsborne PlotObscure, non consequential True-to-life, consequential SettingSymbolic, bareRealistic, related to working class ThemeMeaninglessness of human experience Social critic against middle-class values Stage DirectionsRepetitive, frequentDetailed, informative, clear LanguageEveryday, meaninglessEveryday, simple, clear The Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett 12. Beckett vs. Osborne Only Connect... New Directions


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