Camus, Caligula , for Actor

Topics: Existentialism, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre Pages: 5 (1628 words) Published: April 20, 2008
Background analysis:
Camus and French theatre of early 20th century

Existentialism philosophy
Existentialism and Camus
Expressing the message of existentialism through character •Historical background
Caligula historical and cultural background
Tragedy background
Other famous tragedy characters and their portrayal
Preparing the role:
Stanislavsky method for actors
Practical exercises

Script and language analysis of Caligula
French language of origin
The monologues
The existentialist...thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be a priori of God, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is that we are on a plane where there are only men. Dostoyevsky said, If God didn't exist, everything would be possible. That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. --Jean Paul Sartre

Play: Caligula
Playwright: Albert Camus
For whom: Actor in the role of Caligula

The play Caligula and its writer Camus are both unique aspects of French theatre in the early 20th century. Camus’ message underlying the play and his connection to the existentialism philosophy is something you should be aware of, in order to create a character that represents more than the role itself, but also the philosophical, political and social implications of the play as a whole. Specifically, French theatre of early 20th century was characterized by the emergence of new theatre philosophy. Among these, one of the most prominent was the existentialism approach to life began by Sartre, manifesting that “the most worthy and only realizable human values are those generated by a life of frustration, insecurity, and painful striving” (Robert G. Olson, An introduction to Existentialism). It is the message of this philosophy, combined with Camus’ notion of absurdity, that he wanted to express through his work. Absurdity plays a great role in his theories, and the life of Caligula is obviously absurd. However, Camus was not a coherent philosopher, thus Caligula is of course a lot more than a philosophical discourse. Apart from a ruler simply in conflict as to what degree of power he actually has, Caligula explores the notion of freedom to the absurd and in doing so ridicules society and social norms. Essentially, Caligula questions the existence of things as they are. “I revolt, therefore we are” says Camus through his character (Twentieth century French thought). In this he echoes the existentialists, who “mock the notion of a complete and satisfying life” (Robert G. Olson, An introduction to Existentialism). Because of his authority, Caligula has the opportunity to revolt. After discovering that the way things are is centered around society’s constant pity chase after money and hypocrisy for personal gain, Caligula realizes that he like every other man is bound by the moral norms of such a society as well. In order to become completely free, he assumes he should be free of them as well. It is here that the main conflict lies and the absurdity of complete freedom is exposed. Caligula’s pursuit of freedom mirrors the existentialist’s pursuit for values, since “freedom of choice, individual dignity, personal love, and creative effort are the existentialist values, and, generally speaking, the most important among these are freedom of choice and individual dignity”. In his pursuit of his freedom, Caligula sacrifices, however, his individual dignity, the “tragic flaw” that brings about his downfall. This is the main conflict of the character and the one you should focus upon...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Caligula Essay
  • Caligula Essay
  • Essay on The actor
  • albert camus Essay
  • Albertus Camus Essay
  • The Stranger by Camus Research Paper
  • Becoming an actor Essay
  • Essay about Actor and Hamlet

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free