Absurdist Theatre In Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot

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“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful.”

This quote extracted from Waiting for Godot, an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett that premiered on 5 January 1953, holds the essence of absurdist theatre and what its playwrights seek to express- the inescapable meaningless and futility of life. The origins of absurdist theatre are commonly linked to the avant-garde experimentations of the 19th century, but there has been speculation that there were traces of absurdist theatre in works of Old Comedy in Greek theatre, especially the element of tragicomedy- that is, the blend of both tragedy and comedy. Particularly in the comedies written by Aristophanes, many were combined with layers of sadness and tension. Bearing in mind the roots of Theatre of the Absurd, the fact that it only rose to prominence in the 1950s serves as a point to infer that the horror of World War II (1939-1945) was a major instigation for
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However, this hasty analysis is simply too skewed a perspective. An analogy to demonstrate this would be akin to saying that a green apple is not a good red apple. Theatre of the Absurd was a new stage in the evolution of theatre, and it would be unfair to use traditional standards to judge it. The initial reaction of the public to absurdist works such as The Bald Primadonna, or The Bald Soprano by Ionesco was typically that of outrage and a general lack of acceptance, which was to be expected since it was unfamiliar to them. The Bald Soprano simply follows a couple visiting another couple, with “meaningless banter” and ‘nonsensical’ entertainment’. At the end of the play, similar to Waiting for Godot, the story comes full circle and the cycle begins again with the repetition of the opening

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