Halldór Laxness Drama Analysis
Though Halldór Laxness always had close connections with the theater, his real career as playwright was relatively brief, from about 1960 to 1966. During this time, he wrote his three last plays, Strompleikurinn (the chimney play), Prjónastofan Sólin (the knitting workshop called “the sun”), and The Pigeon Banquet. The two other plays, Straumrof (short circuit) and Silfurtúnglið (the silver moon), were written during short breaks from other writing. Unlike most of Laxness’s best-known novels, his plays focus on contemporary themes. Their setting is the materialistic urban world, where the old way of life, family ties, beliefs, and values are gradually giving way to individualistic desires to live according to one’s own wishes and to pursue one’s own dreams of happiness, fame, and wealth. All the plays are social dramas, in the sense that Laxness tries to reveal some great truth about Icelandic or Western society, especially its vital problems or failures. The two earliest plays are classical tragedies, written in realistic style and marked by the author’s endeavor to move the audience. The last three plays are, on the other hand, pure comedies. They certainly deal with important questions but without giving any clear answers. These plays are commonly regarded as some of the earliest and most important Icelandic plays in the style of the Theater of the Absurd. As such, these plays are a milestone in...
(The entire section is 1375 words.)
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