How do you describe the theatre of the absurd as a philosophical conception?You may illustrate from Waiting for Godot

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The theater of the absurd and absurdism, as an art form, stem from Albert Camus's writings on it in his essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe in 1942, where he exposes the topics of life, fate, and their mysterious natures. The term "absurd", in Camus's view, is a way to describe how life and the experience of existence is founded on nothingness. Therefore, whether life becomes better or worse is a mystery. Along with the reality of having no control of our destiny we find that many things do not seem to have an explanation. This may be like am empty argument, but this one writing of Camus got a lot of attention after its publication and was quite in vogue in the mid 50's to the 60's.

This was a time in society when people wanted to explore those mysteries of life and the meaning of our existence. Having no way to answer the many questions that we would ask about the subject, in comes ART to provide the full circle and offer some closure to our existential philosophies. Hence, the theater of the absurd gives a free license to explore the meaninglessness, curiousness, and the lack of understanding of life as a mysterious process.

Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, shows us two main characters whose life seems to have no more purpose, and whose goal is to wait for someone or something that never comes. Within the emptiness of the characters we encounter distorted dialogues and, well, absurd. Yet, more than a style, the absurd is a manifestation of a human reality: The preoccupation of knowing who we are, what our lives are intended to be, where do we come from, and where do we go next.

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