How does Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros demonstrate the qualities of the Theatre of the Absurd?  

Rhinoceros demonstrates qualities of the Theater of the Absurd such as being tragicomic, shocking, existential, and uncompromising in its lack of solutions or answers. It is also anti-realistic and probes truths about the human condition. It does this through the story of rhinoceroses who invade a French village, whose human inhabitants eventually willingly transform into rhinoceroses as well.

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The "Theater of the Absurd" is dramatic genre that arose in response to the post-World War II condition of the spread of Soviet-style authoritarianism throughout Europe, creating of the so-called "iron curtain." With Paris's liberation in 1944, Eugene Ionesco joined the vibrant intellectual and artistic avant-garde scene consisting of many Eastern European emigres like himself. They began focusing on a new kind of political satire concerned with the modern human condition and innovated an influential new vision of theater.

Martin Esslin's essay, "The Theatre of the Absurd," which coined the term, was published in 1960, the same year in which The Rhinoceros was first performed. Esslin focuses on the drama of Ionesco, along with Arthur Adamov and Samuel Beckett, arguing that their works are both philosophical reactions against the meaninglessness of life and dramatic reactions against realism , which attempts to imbue life with structure and clarity. Esslin identifies several features of...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on September 15, 2020
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on September 21, 2020