Basics of LiteratureLiterature

What is Theater of the Absurd?

4 Mins read

Absurdity is the situation or state through which human beings exist in a meaningless, irrational universe whereby individuals’s lives haven’t any objective or meaning. ‘The Theater of the Absurd’ is a term coined by the critic Martin Esslin for the work of numerous playwrights, largely written within the 1950s and 1960s. The term is derived from an essay by the French thinker Albert Camus. In his ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, written in 1942, he first outlined the human scenario as mainly meaningless and absurd. The ‘absurd’ plays by Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter and others all share the view that man inhabits a universe with which he’s out of key. Its meaning is indecipherable and his place inside it’s with out goal. He is bewildered, troubled and obscurely threatened.

The origins of the Theater of the Absurd are rooted within the avant-garde experiments in works of the 1920s and 1930s. At the identical time, it was undoubtedly strongly influenced by the traumatic experience of the horrors of the Second World War, which confirmed the overall impermanence of any values, shook the validity of any conventions and highlighted the precariousness of human life and its basic meaninglessness and arbitrariness. The trauma of residing from 1945 beneath menace of nuclear annihilation additionally appears to have been an essential issue within the rise of the new theater.

At the identical time, the Theater of the Absurd additionally appears to have been a response to the disappearance of the non secular dimension from contemporary life. The Absurd Theater might be seen as a try to revive the significance of myth and ritual to our age, by making man conscious of the final word realities of his condition, by instilling in him again the misplaced sense of cosmic wonder and primeval anguish. The Absurd Theater hopes to attain this by surprising man out of an existence that has turned into trite, mechanical and complacent. It is felt that there’s mystical experience in confronting the boundaries of human situation.

Read About: Waiting for Godot as an Absurd Play

As an outcome, absurd plays assumed am extremely uncommon, revolutionary form, instantly aiming to startle the viewer, shaking him out of this comfy, typical lifetime of everyday considerations. In the meaningless and Godless post-Second World-War world, it was now not potential to maintain utilizing such conventional art varieties and requirements that had ceased being convincing and lost their validity. The Theater of the Absurd overtly rebelled in opposition to typical theater. Indeed, it was anti-theater. It was surreal, illogical, conflict-less and plot-less. The dialogue appeared whole gobbledygook. Not unexpectedly, the Theater of the Absurd first met with incomprehension and rejection.

One of the crucial features of absurd drama was its distrust of language as a method of communication. Language had developed into a vehicle of conventionalized, stereotyped, meaningless exchanges. Words failed to express the essence of human experience, not having the ability to penetrate beyond its surface. The Theater of the Absurd constituted firstly an onslaught on language, exhibiting it as a really unreliable and inadequate device of communication. Absurd drama makes use of conventionalized speech, clich├ęs, slogans and technical jargon, which is distorts, parodies and breaks down. By ridiculing conventionalized and stereotyped speech patterns, the Theater of the Absurd tries to make individuals conscious of the potential for going beyond on a regular basis speech conventions and speaking more authentically. Conventionalized speech acts as a barrier between ourselves and what the world is absolutely about: with the intention to come into direct contact with natural actuality, it’s essential to discredit and discard the false crutches of conventionalized language. Objects are far more essential than language in absurd theater: what occurs transcends what’s being stated about it. It is the hidden, implied meaning of phrases that assume major significance in absurd theater, over and above what’s being truly said. The Theater of the Absurd strove to speak an undissolved totality of notion – therefore it needed to transcend language.

Absurd drama subverts logic. It relishes the surprising and the logically not possible. According to Sigmund Freud, there’s a feeling of freedom we will take pleasure in once we are capable of abandon the straitjacket of logic. In making an attempt to burst the bounds of logic and language the absurd theater is attempting to shatter the enclosing partitions of the human situation itself. Our particular person identification is outlined by language, having a name is the supply of our separateness – the lack of logical language brings us in direction of a unity with living things. In being illogical, the absurd theater is anti-rationalist: it negates rationalism because it feels that rationalist thought, like language, solely offers with the superficial facets of things. Nonsense, however, opens up a glimpse of the infinite. It presents intoxicating freedom brings one into contact with the essence of life and is a source of marvelous comedy.

Read About: Symbolism in Waiting For Godot

There isn’t any dramatic conflict within the absurd plays. Dramatic conflicts, clashes of personalities and powers belong to a world where an inflexible, accepted hierarchy of values forms an everlasting institution. Such conflicts, nevertheless, lose their meaning in a scenario where the institution and outward actuality have turned into meaningless. However frantically characters perform, this solely underlines the truth that nothing occurs to alter their existence. Absurd dramas are lyrical statements, very similar to music: they impart an environment, an experience of archetypal human conditions.

The Absurd Theater is a theater of situation, as in opposition to the extra typical theater of sequential occasions. It presents a pattern of poetic image. In doing this, it makes use of visual elements, movement, mild. Unlike typical theater, where language guidelines supreme, within the Absurd Theater language is just one of many elements of its multidimensional poetic imagery.

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