World Literature

Absurdism

Absurdism is the idea which states that it is meaningless to search for the value of life because of the lack of information and uncertainty. (“Absurdism”, n.d.) In literature,  absurdism is presented by meaningless actions and events as characters are placed in situations where they cannot solve the inherent purpose of life. (“Absurdist fiction”, n.d.)

Absurdism began back in the 19th century by a Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. He has decided to present the problems people faced with the Absurd, in his journals and by his development of existential psychology. (“Existentialism and the absurd”, n.d.) It has also been developed by Alburt Camus whom wrote many literary pieces which centered around absurdism. The aftermath of World War II also brought absurdism to develop because of the increase in absurdist views due to the destroyed environment. The harsh situation after the WWII allowed absurdity to develop even more because of the killing and bombs provides people to think more in a absurdist views.

Wating for Godot is one of the most famous absurdist plays, which has been written by Samuel Beckett. At first, this play had gotten some bad critisisms for it was misunderstood by many people. It features two characters that wait endlessly for Godot, a person who they don’t even know. The main point Beckett was trying to persuade was that “we all spend our lives waiting for something that may or may not come.” (“Absurdism; Beckett’s waiting for godot”, n.d.)

In line with Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco is a very famous absurdist dramatist. He was also called the “founder of the Theater of the Absurd”. (“Eugéne Ionesco biography”, n.d.) Out of the many plays he has written, one of the most famous plays includes the Bald Soprano (1950. This play portrays human life as automatism. He has gotten many awards and has been chosen for The Academy Francaise in 1970.

A famous key quote by the famous absurdist, Eugene Ionesco, states: “It’s not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it’s mankind.” Eugene Ionesco, as I have stated in the previous paragraph, is one of the most famous absurdist play writer.  This quote shows his deep feelings towards absurdism and his critical view towards life.

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Far Away by Caryl Churchill is a futuristic play full of absurdism, which involves Joan, Todd and Harper. Absurdism can be seen throught the environment of the play, as it is evident to be very strict and brutal because the day for the execution of prisoners is considered a parade and more like a celebration to the people. Also the unusal gradual tension being built up between each species that everything in nature is at a universal war, gives a very absurd mood. The war worries Joan, Harper and Todd because they can no longer trust the deers or even the river. The story ends with Joan describing her journey to Harper and Todd, revealing the intensity of the war, “…there were piles of bodies and if you stopped to find out there was one killed by coffee or one killed by pins, they were killed by heroin, petrol, chainsaws, hairspray…”. All in all, Caryle Churchill’s extraordinary play is full of ambiguity and absurdity, yet is proving that in reality everyone just want’s to be on the right and safe side.

Review Responses: 

“I won’t describe it in detail; that wouldn’t be fair. But you should know that you will never look at the Easter Parade in the same way again. In Ms. Churchill’s world, signs of human inhumanity come in all shapes and colors. And even a silly hat can turn unforgettably sinister.”- Ben Brantley, New York Times (http://theater.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?res=9f0ce5d71331f931a25752c1a9649c8b63)

“Far Away lasts a bare 50 minutes, but Godwin’s production makes it feel like a wake-up slap to the face, as we sleepwalk towards a future in which governments have played on terror to make us fear ourselves and in which resource wars set country against country. It may be a decade old, but this is a play that feels more resonant than ever.” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/may/28/far-away-review)

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