"Theater of the Absurd" refers to particular plays written by European and American playwrights of the post-Second World War period who shared the view of many existential philosophers that life is meaningless, communication impossible, society robotic and inhuman. These playwrights could not express these views within the framework of traditional theatre; they needed new modes of expression, new venues, new dramatic structures and new stage imagery, and thus "Theater of the Absurd" was born.
The term “Theater of the Absurd” is coined in a 1962 book by the Hungarian-born critic Martin Esslin. It refers to a particular type of play which regards the human condition as meaningless. Some argued that as long as people fail to introduce a logical explanation of the reality of the universe, they have to confess that they lead absurd life.
Anyway, this term is used to refer to some dramatic traits discernible in the works of some playwrights including Samuel Becket, Eugène Ionesco, Edward Albee and many others. Such playwrights want to convey their bewilderment and anxiety in the face of the inexplicable universe. A point to be mentioned is that writers of this genre were not comfortable with this term and preferred instead other titles such as the "Anti-Theater" or the "New Theater".
"Theater of the Absurd" and the Ancient Greeks:
Although the "Theater of the Absurd" is often traced back to avant-garde experiments of the 1920s and 1930s, the roots of it can be traced back as early as the ancient Greeks. Absurd elements first made their appearance in the wild humor and buffoonery of Old Comedy and the plays of Aristophanes in particular as well as the use of myth. Also, I’d like to refer to the morality plays of the Middle Ages, too. Some critics consider them a precursor to the Theater of the Absurd. The miracle/mystery (like Noah’s Flood) and morality plays (like Everyman) are religious in intention or... [continues]
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