To what extent does the ‘absurdist’ form of Endgame function to evoke elements of ‘the human condition’ in the modern world?
In the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Absurd’ is defined as ‘the chaotic and purposeless nature of the universe, and the futility of human attempts to make sense of it’. Another definition describes the absurd ‘as the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world’. These definitions validate Ionesco’s interpretation of the term who says: ‘Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose......Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his action become senseless, absurd, useless.’
These perspectives on the world form the common alliance that binds the authors associated with the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’. The absurdist form rejects conventional or Realist drama as it propagates an ideology that the world makes sense. The ‘well-made play’ claims to put the mirror up to reality, yet shows it as stable place where everything is normal and works well, where all problems encountered are clearly explained and neatly resolved. After the atrocities of the 20th century specifically World War II, not only is faith in God dwindling, people are losing faith in their established systems, the comforting blanket has been removed, ‘all assurances of hope, all explanations of ultimate meaning have suddenly been unmasked as nonsensical illusions, empty chatter, whistling in the dark’.
Absurdist theatre represents this change of circumstances and ideology it emerges as a more encompassing picture of the world that includes the harsh realities, forcing the audience to come to terms with them. The dramatist who employs methods applicable to the Theatre of the Absurd have been moulded by their experience of suffering, isolation and anguish at the state of the world, causing similarities in their artistic vision and approach. I will now outline and analyse these characteristics synonymous with the Theatre of the...