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World Literature from 1660
Beckett: Absurdity
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Beckett: Absurdity
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Reading Assignments
Romanticism

Beckett and Theatre of the Absurd

Absurdism,
--a violation of the rules of logic
-- expresses the failure of traditional values to fulfill man's spiritual and emotional needs.
-- an indication of the manner in which reality repeatedly ``checkmates'' the individual
--characterizes the apparent pointlessness of life and the terrors of ``nonbeing."
--expresses the disparity between ``man's intention and the reality he encounters."
--symbolizes the ``fundamental mystery'' of life.

Theater of the Absurd
--human experience is seen as fragmented and purposeless.
--The search for truth characteristic of romantic drama is rejected.

Samuel Beckett is one of the foremost European adherents.

In Beckett's plays,
--life itself seems to have come to a halt,
--his characters typically engage in fruitless and repetitive actions that underscore the meaninglessness of their existence.
--emphasizes man's inability to control and order experience and repeatedly shows man as the victim of modern technology and bourgeois values.
--illusion and reality are often fused to suggest the painful absurdity of contemporary life.
--reveals the inversion and corruption of conventional patterns of friendship, love, and family allegiance
--language becomes a barrier rather than an aid to communication.

Nihlism
Nothing exists, is knowable, or can be communicated.
All distinctions in moral value are bogus, self-aggrandizing personal opinions that have been foisted on society.