Waiting for Godot
The years after the Second World War are considered to be ill-fated for the theatre arts. However, over the course of time, interests as well as endeavors were carried towards undiscovered subjects and to those which are not openly acknowledged or displayed in the traditionally established forms and uses as well. Therefore, in gradual mode, without any ostentatious manifestation, another type of theatre appeared. In the 50s it was obtruded upon large audiences, which consisted of students and academics searching for something neoteric.
Absurdism is regarded as philosophical standpoint which asserts that the aspirations of humanity to detect meaning and reasonable explanation in the universe eventually fail (and, thus, are absurd) because no such meaning exists, leastwise to human beings. In general, a meaning of the word conveys rather “humanly impracticable” things and actions than “logically impracticable” ones.
The term “The Theatre of the Absurd” is created by Martin Esslin, who was one of the outstanding critics, investigated the given concept, for the number of playwrights’ works, mostly written in the 1950s and 1960s. The above-pointed term is derived from a research by the French philosopher Albert Camus (Ashraf, n.d.). He determined any human situation as fundamentally objectless and absurd in his “Myth of Sisyphus”. The representatives of the given concept were Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter (Camus, 1955).
However, very often, a certain viewer recognizes some principal similarities of the works and fails to recognize peculiar differences in each dramatist. Consequently, these writers do not belong to any intended and deliberate movements, these ones should be estimated for their individual responsibilities and contributions as well to the general concept of the Theatre of the Absurd.
As a matter of fact, most of these representatives consider themselves as lonely insurgents as well as outsiders, insulated in their own closed world. As it was indicated above, there were no manifestations, no thesis, no conferences, and no collaborations. Each of them developed his own writing style, every work is individually and distinctly elaborated.
One of the most significant and worthy of attention characteristics of the concept was its mistrust of language as a means of communication. According to the beliefs of varied absurdists, any language had developed into nothing more than meaningless and incomprehensible exchanges. Varied words itself did not convey the human experience. In accordance with the statements concerning the Theatre of the Absurd, language is an unreliable instrument of communication. The representatives of the genre would deform traditional speech, jargon, dialect and slogans as well to reveal that by going beyond conventional speech one can communicate in a more sincere manner. Taking into consideration various examples of Absurdist drama, the dialogue bears a resemblance to gobbledygook (language which is considered to be meaningless and inconceivable by excessive use of complicated technical terms) while in the others, it can contradict varied actions proceeding onstage (Waiting for Elmo).
Absurd drama overthrows logic. In general, the plot of any absurd drama ends up where it started – nothing has been completed and characters are identical at the end as they were at the start of a certain play. Since, these ones are dependent on each other for survival. The Theatre of Absurd disregards logical syllogism as well as order in contrast with conventional theatre where there is a known and familiar framework and fixed purposes. During a certain play a spectator feels like he or she is in suspense making an effort to grasp what will happen next.
The fundamental interest of the playwright is neither to detect a society and its standards and problems, nor a certain psychological investigation. To create a definite spectacle or play they are inclined to compose an effect of entirety which detects its obsessional internal world by means of varied gests, songs as well as colors. Hence, it has some congenialities with the mimes, the clowneries and improvisations. It can be compared to various ritualistic performances in Greece such as those of Aristophanes. One of the prominent examples may be Samuel Beckett's “Waiting for Godot” where he describes the polarity of existence. He confirms that polarities consist of blindness, life and death, body and intellect, time present and time past, going and not going, waiting and not waiting, and so on. He characterizes the men’s existence in term of above-indicated polarities. To realize it, he groups his characters in pairs (Vladimir and Estragon, or Didi and Gogo) (Waiting for Godot, Part 1).
Taking into account above-mentioned characteristic, it can be said that the plays are represented in terms of burlesque where every character bears in mind that his or her position and human existence is substantially absurd. Every play typifies the chaos as well as disorientation of any person.
Ashraf, A. Basic Concept of the Theatre of the Absurd. N.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
Beckett, Samuel. “Waiting for Elmo.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 Dec. 2007. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
Beckett, Samuel. “Waiting for Godot Part 1.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. 1955. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
Eradam, Yusuf. The Theatre of the Absurd and Jean Genet. N.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.