Comment on'Modernism in theatre' in the context of Waiting for Godot and Look Back in Anger.

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

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Modernism can be clearly seen in these two plays, which both focus very strongly on concerns that are central to modernism and the way that modern man finds himself in an incredibly isolated and vulnerable position in life. In the character of Jimmy Porter, for example, the angry young man motif is created perfectly, as he is a character who rages against the injustices of society, where your birth shapes so much of your life chances and you have doors closed to you if you are not a child of the establishment. Note how this anger is displayed in the following quote:

The injustice of it is almost perfect! The wrong people going hungry, the wrong people being loved, the wrong people dying!

Jimmy Porter is an excellent example of a modern man because he finds himself so isolated, alone and without options through the world that he finds himself a part of. 

In Waiting for Godot, modern theatre is expressed in the form of absurdism with the rather bleak and hopeless lives that Estragon and Vladimir are shown to lead. They, just like Jimmy Porter, are shown to be incredibly isolated in a world that cares little about them and, at times, seems to be openly hostile towards them. Perhaps the only difference between the two plays is that at least Vladimir and Estragon have each other, whereas Jimmy Porter is unable to connect even with those closest to him because of his anger and disenfranchised position in society. Modernism is therefore depicted in both plays through the presentation of character and the way in which humans are shown to be so isolated by society and the world they find themselves in. 

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