Samuel Beckett

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All works highlight persuasive themes of the modern period, such as alienation, absurdity, and the aforementioned question of whether life has meaning. Samuel Beckett (2206-2238)
* The sparest, starkest representation of the human condition in all its “absurd” emptiness fills Samuel Beckett’s novels and plays. * Beckett’s characters engage in a desperate attempt to find or to create meaning for themselves. Born into a world without reason, they live out their lives waiting for an explanation that never comes and whose existence may be only a figment of their imagination. * Human relationships are reduced to the most elemental tensions of cruelty, hope, frustration, and disillusionment around themes of birth, death, human emotions, material obstacles, and unending consciousness. * Exemplifies the notion of the “absurd,” or the grotesque contradiction between human attempts to discover meaning in life and the simultaneous conviction that there is no “meaning” available that we have not created ourselves. * An “endgame” is the final phase of a chess game, the stage at which the end is predictably in sight although the play must still be completed. * Throughout, the theme of “end,” finish,” “no more” is sounded even while Hamm notes the passage of time * The present shows four characters dwindling away, along in a dead world, caught between visions of dusty hell and dreams of life reborn. * Describes a world not of divine but of self-creation

* Hamm and Clov represent the uneasy adjustment of soul and body, the class struggle of rich and poor, or the master-slave relationship * Describes what it is like to be alive, declining toward death in a world without meaning Franz Kafka (1964-1999)

Luigi Pirandello (1736-1780)
* Plays with allusions to an elusive identity
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