Modernism is not mere representation to a period of time but it also represents a life style, way of thinking, different perspective to things, and rebel creation of art against previous schools. Therefore we will try to define this movement and present its characteristics especially in literature. Through wandering at Modernism we will take Endgame as an example of the absurd theater that written by Samuel Beckett and we will explain how it embodies the characteristics of Modernism, language, style, and so forth.
Modernism is cultural movement that reflects certain changes not only in the arts (literature, drama, painting, music, sculpture, dance, architecture) but in sciences such as physics, chemistry, and so forth. Modernist production rose after World War to break tradition, beliefs, principles, and rules, "this break includes a strong reaction against established religious, political, and social views". Therefore Modernism refuses a single way of looking at world and obvious separation between "right and wrong, good and bad, and hero and villain". "Modernists rebelled against Victorian ideals". They emphasized humanism over nationalism and how humans were part and responsible to nature, plus "they challenged the idea that God played an active role in the world". So this leads them to the concept or notion that "no person or thing born to specific use" thus they challenged any assumption that point to presence meaning and purpose behind world events. The term "modernism" includes significantly "experimental arts" in addition to its rejection for any "traditional style and conventions". Its technique is characterized by "the disruption of chronological linear plot in fiction , the use of fragmentary images and dense allusions in poetry, and the abandonment of realist or naturalist characterization and dialogue in drama". All these features will be useful in analysis Endgame as an absurdist theater. Endgame "tends to support the superficial view that people and things are meaningless, without significance".
In comparison between Modernism and conventional drama such as Realism and Naturalism we will find extreme differences between them. Realism in literature was part of a wider movement in the arts to focus on ordinary people and events. Realists tries to portray real life at the period of time (French revolution). It uses technique that represents real speech, action, events and clear emotions. Realist works are characterized by traditional narrative and real story that has real characters, events and conflict. Naturalism is a literary movement which "characterized by the application of scientific determinism to literature". It depends on assumption that is real exists in nature. "Realism and Naturalism are often linked due to its emphasis on realistic people in realistic settings, featuring ordinary people struggling against unseen forces over which they have no control. Realism and Naturalism differs insomuch that Realism focuses on literary technique whereas Naturalism focuses on a specific philosophy". Through our presentation for the characteristics of Modernism, we will give an example from Endgame that is written by Samuel Beckett. This play belongs to the absurdist theater "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." Eugene Ionesco. Modernism as style of writing refers to new techniques to communicate the ideas or notions that are presented. One of its features is static, stripped action and dialogue and periods of silence. So it rejects any traditional styles and convention by "its adoption of radically innovative and often complex, difficult forms". This is embodied through Endgame. Endgame as the title describes an ending already known in the last part of a chess game, when there are very few pieces left and its masters always study...
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