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The Lesson is a play that has been categorized as being a part of the 'theatre of the absurd', projecting a world where meaning has become both dead and deadly by means of infinite proliferation. The play is definitely tandem with this kind of a general straitjacketing, but specifically speaking, it is a play about teaching, the process of pedagogy, the student-teacher relationship and its innate power structure and a radical subversion of that power equation. It is not really a tragi-comedy and tends to become more and more chilling and dark as it progresses. It also makes use of the theme of madness, psychic derangement causing crime and uses some melodramatic device like the climactic murder in the play. The breakdown of communication and linguistic menace are also constitutive of the thematic ambit of the play. From the toothache of the student to the growing fury of the professor, the play taps unmotivated action and uses a lot of inconsequentiality in a signifying fashion. The murder of the student at the hands of the professor may well be seen as a vengeful act that underlines the failure of the pedagogic process. Absurdity also surfaces in the play much like Pinter, in the form of the final showdown which consists of an interrogation scene where questions become unanswerable in their defiance of basic logic.
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