twilight in delhi

Topics: Existentialism, Samuel Beckett, Theatre of the Absurd Pages: 8 (2171 words) Published: October 15, 2014
Lapis Lazuli -An International Literary Journal (LLILJ)
Vol.3/ NO.2/Autumn 2013

Theorizing the Absurd: Waiting for Godot Sixty Years After

Vijay Kumar Rai

Abstract

The term Absurd is essentially impregnated with various human conditions and situations arousing absurdity and is necessarily present in the post world war generation. Life has become bitter sweet or „life in death and death in life‟ to the coming generation. This human predicament sprouted its spears during 1920s, developed during 1940s and perpetuated in the later world. This very notion was enchanted, transported and sometimes devastated by the intellectuals of this world such as T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, Existentialists, Expressionists, Surrealists, and Absurdists of the 20th century. And Waiting for Godot is central sun round whom all the absurdist notions move. It transcendents time and has the cosmic significance even after 60 years of its publication. It insinuates modernism and perpetuates postmodernism that is nothing but “too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our lives before it.” Really in the midsty of then terminological mayhem, Absurd is best identified with Waiting for Godot with its sense of nothingness in life.

Lapis Lazuli -An International Literary Journal (LLILJ) ISSN 2249-4529, Vol.3/ NO.2/Autumn 2013 URL of the Issue: http://pintersociety.com/vol-3-no-2autumn-2013/ © www.pintersociety.com
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Lapis Lazuli -An International Literary Journal (LLILJ)

Key words: Absurd, Existentialism, Surrealism, and Post modernism.

The term Absurd is essentially impregnated with various human conditions and situations arousing absurdity and is necessarily present in the post world war generation. Life has become bitter sweet or „life in death and death in life‟ to the coming generation. This human predicament sprouted its spears during 1920s, developed during 1940s and perpetuated in the later world. This very notion was enchanted, transported and sometimes devastated by the intellectuals of this world. On the one hand T.S. Eliot beautifully mirrored the inner absurdity of the modern world in his magnum-opus The waste land (1921), and Samuel Beckett in his master piece Waiting for Godot (1955), on the other. Superficially Abusrd means ridiculous, but literally it means „Sense having nonsense‟ or „having everything hath nothing‟. That is considered absurd is actually antitraditional and avant- garde, hence is ridiculed. But originally its significance lies in its crude reality. When Eliot repents for spiritual sterility in the modern world, which is full of fury and mire, Absurd dramatists were preparing a suitable platform to expose the absurdity of modern man‟s life.

Absurd dramatists even opted the absurd form to expose the absurdity in its most effective way. This includes the writers of both drama and prose fiction; and the most significant of them are French Jean Genet and Eugene Ionesco, Irish Samuel Beckett, English Harold Pinter, American Edward Albee and others. Both mood and dramaturgy of absurdity were anticipated in their works. They were also supported by few other movements like expressionism, and surrealism, along with few other forceful works of Franz Kafka (The Tr ial, Metamorphosis).This current movement emerged in France after the world was second, as a rebellion against essential beliefs and values of traditional culture and traditional literature, which had the belief that„What a piece of work is a man? How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In apprehension how like a God! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals‟. (Hamlet: 47)

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Theorizing the Absurd: Waiting for Godot Sixty Years After
But after the 1940s existentialist philosophy by Jean- Paul Sartre & Ablert Camus opined human being as an isolated existant, cast into an alien universe, having a fruitless search for purpose and meaning and proceeding towards...


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Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grave Press. 1954. Print.
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. 1975. Print.
Coleridge, S. T. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. India: Anmol Publication. 2009. Print.
Esslin, Martin. The Theatre of the Absurd. New York: Doubleday. 1961. Print.
Hebdige, Dick. Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things. London: Routledge. 1988. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. India: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. 2001. Print.
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