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How does Beckett flout the norms of theatre to create a new theatre in Waiting for...

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pearl7391 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM via web

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How does Beckett flout the norms of theatre to create a new theatre in Waiting for Godot?

I want to know the birth and features of absurd theatre in connection with Waiting for Godot.

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prishi12 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Beckett broke new grounds in theatre with his play "Waiting for Godot". It is a play with a difference and has certain distinct features which make it different from other conventional plays like - plain and simple stage setting, tramps as protagonists, absence of conventional plot, asymmetrical structure of the play and much more. Godot is an absurd drama that starts as an arbitrary point and also ends like that. The strength of the play lies in its opposition to the rules of convention.

In his play, Beckett rejected the logic of form and conventional structure, so both the form and content represent absurdity.The structure of Lucky’s discourse, for example, is disjointed and incoherent as it may seem, is representative of irrationality and the mess called called life. Godot expresses a sense of wonder and incomprehension, and at times despair at the meaninglessness of human existence. The protagonists, Vladimir and Estragon, do not believe in rational and well-meaning universe and so do not see any possibility of resolution of the situation they are in. Beckett's image of two tramps waiting beside a tree in a barren landscape became a universal icon of futile existence. But its nihilism represent a philosophical impasse. 

In the play, the two protagonist, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. Waiting for Godot follows two days in the lives of these two men in two acts. In both the acts, the two tramps are inexhaustible in inventing new ways of passing time and there is repetition of action. Their wait seems endless and nothing changes except the time.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 28, 2012 at 2:11 AM (Answer #2)

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This answer does not get at the real changes to conventional theatre. First, Beckett uses a two-act structure rather than three acts, giving an entirely different project from a Scribean development. Second, he is dramatizing an entirely new idea: the absence of action. This is completely different from Aristotle's "imitation of an action.". Thirdly, his "characters" are free from psychological profile. Finally, the play is not "absurd"--it is "absurdist," an essential distinction. Cf., for example, Dada or Futurism.

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