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How are Absurdist theatre techniques used to highlight social awareness in Beckett's...

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mjay25 | Student, Graduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:34 AM via web

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How are Absurdist theatre techniques used to highlight social awareness in Beckett's Waiting for Godot?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the principal ways in which Beckett harnesses the strength of Absurdism in this remarkable play is through the presentation of a scene that highlights the absurdity, meaninglessness and futile nature of modern life in is depiction. This is a strategy that is used in other Absurdist works, as the playwrights deliberately plunge the audience into a world that is absurd to help them see the parallels between it and their own existence. In this play therefore we see that Beckett deliberately dispenses with traditional aspects of plays, such as a clear and credible plot, realistic situations, dialogue that makes sense and convincing characters. In this play therefore we see characters who can only be described as peculiar who engage in conversation that is focused on banal subjects and is difficult to understand. The action follows no structure or logical progression. 

The best example of this is the presentation of Lucky and his monologe in Act One where he describes his "thinking" process. Note the content of his monologue and how difficult it is to make any sense out of it whatsoever:

I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull to shrink.

Beckett deliberately dispenses with logical dialogue to show the absurd nature both of his play but also of the world in which we live. There are no given comforting realities in this world and we are left to face the madness and chaos of an existence without any hope of an ending, just like Vladimir and Estragon. 

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