Dr. Agnes Yeow Swee Kim
Drama of the Modern Era
2 December. 2012
The spectacle of language breaking down and the explosion of the hysteria underlying the polite banalities of social intercourse
To be modern is to be, in many important ways, different from anyone who ever lived before. This idea does not mean that human being has undergone a change; man’s nature is always the same, but his perception of himself has distorted in a way that is significantly new. There have been revolutions in the history of art before today. There is a revolution with every new generation, and every century we get a wider or deeper change under special circumstances, which affect our life. Modernism is the biggest revolution in western literature of the first half of the twentieth century. The development and rapid growth of industrialized societies, followed by the horror of world war one, were the most important factors which formed modernism that not only produced a break with all former historical conditions, but also is characterized by an immortal process of fragmentation and uncertainty within itself. Modernism came with the idea of change and said that traditional forms of art, literature, religion, social conditions and daily life, in this emerging industrialized world has became out dated. Therefore, writers tried to give birth to new forms of art and in the late 19th and 20th century there came an overflow of new kinds of drama called modern drama. This kind of drama was different from traditional ones and clearly was different in form because it contained unlimited forms and this is why it is called drama of fragmentation that results in writers having their own impact on literature.
By the social, economic and scientific changes that happened during the period, people’s attitude changed crucially and Just like every age in literature and arts, those things that take place at the time seriously affected the works of the writers and artists. During this age, the World War II and I had happened and had destroyed parts of the world besides leaving western countries in a ruined condition. This disordered situation was not only the result of the war but also the great depression. Technology also was becoming accessible for people around the world and grave investigations was accomplished on human psychologies such as Sigmund Freud’s developing revolutionary ideas about the human psyche, which gave people the opportunity to know how it works. Huge events such as the war surly made people feel cynical toward others and the great depression gave people a negative perspective of what life truly is which caused them feel depressed. These big changes shaped the idea of modernism and writers started writing under the influences of these kinds of improvements and alterations. That resulted in modern plays undergoing Issue such as the spectacle of language breaking down and the explosion of the hysteria underlying the polite banalities of social intercourse, which will be discussed in this essay with a close reference to modern plays such as Becket’s Waiting for Godot and Pinter’s Old Times.
Modern drama protested against the conventional kinds of drama and one of the obvious qualities of modern drama was its using language in a way that was seriously different from others. Language in former kinds of drama was totally used as a medium of communication, stating useful expressions, and consequently thought. Based on the crucial changes influenced drama, modern dramatists tried to find means of expression beyond the usual usage of language. Therefore, the whole language using in plays encountered basic changes that resulted in using the language in a way that there was approximately no meaning in it. This meaninglessness was because of the uncertainty that existed in the fundamental definition of the modernism. Hence, it is true saying that not having certainty results in not...