The Theatre of Absurd Essay
It has been said that Waiting for Godot is a play in which nothing happens-twice. Compare how two playwrights, whose work you have studied this term, have used the Absurdist form to express their ideas. Out of all the plays we have studies, I think that ‘’Waiting for Godot’’ and ‘’Blasted’’ are the ones in which the authors mostly used the Absurdist form to express their ideas but nevertheless through completely different styles.
First of all ‘’Absurd’’ is commonly known as the philosophical concept of ‘’ existence absurdity’’ which means everything that the human mind cannot explain, such as unjustified and meaningless actions which can be found in both the plays. The word ‘’Absurd’’ comes from the Latin and is a link between the word ‘’ab’’ that express a concept of ‘’ far from’’ and ‘’sardare’’ that means ‘’speak wisely’’. In Blasted as regards violence and in Waiting for Godot as far as the whole contest, the unfolding events, the absence of a temporal structure and the unspecified location.
To explain my understanding of absurd and what led me to find it in those two plays, it is appropriate to start from the analysis of the authors lives, because the connection is very clear as not only have Sarah Kane’s work been deeply influenced by those of Beckett, but the thing that most unite the two is the sense of depression, and dissatisfaction that confines both in the solitude and consequential denial of reality. This was what caused Beckett to feel the sense of loneliness and non sense that led him, though, to reflect on the tragic human existence but also what permitted him to create his masterpiece.
In the case of Kane the reflection on the tragic nature of life and the absurdity of the existence leads her to the total madness that tragically ended up in the act of suicide. In any case, depression took the authors to conceive uncommon opinions about reality, and trough their own mental ‘’insanity’’ or ‘’diversity’’, write their masterpieces that the audience found at first, absurd. In humans you can find two opposite way of thinking and act: the irrational and the rational.
The human being tries to dominate and controls the irrational, but in certain individuals the second has the upper hand and all the behaviours that arise from this, are rightly conceived out of common sense, that is, in the end, the dark side of the human soul. When falls into irrationality and unpredictably, every action becomes licit, even if it manifests itself in its utter absurdity. I personally believe that both the playwrights have used an absurdist form in their works to show how common sense and reality are relative, despite the fact that their styles are very different.
In the two works existential unease is manifested by irrational behaviours, which are the predominant but diametrically opposed in the two plays. They are two sides of the same coin, two faces of the same discomfort. Sarah Kane has involuntarily approached to Beckett’s style as far as the moral message (that her work wants to convey) is concerned. In Blasted the absurdity is staged by violent actions, often overly stark and in most of the cases the result of a senseless and unjustified hatred which, for this reason, I consider ABSURD.
The play is set in a luxury hotel’s room in Leeds, the characters are basically three: Ian, a tabloid journalist dissatisfied with his life, Cate brought into his room for the night, and a soldier who enters in the third the scene. Cate, even if much younger than Ian seems to be his ex-girlfriend and he keeps to repeat that he love her but she avoids and rejects him, until he decides to rape her. She is emotionally fragile and seems to be intellectually simple also because she doesn’t react with strength to Ian’s violence as if it was something normal that she accepts every time even not wishing to.
Ian, on the other hand, is a proud man misogynist, authoritarian, racist and homophobic. He often insults and humiliates Cate, but at the same time repeats monotonously how much he loves her. When the soldier gets in the scene Ian’s character seems to undergo a radical change, all of his confidence disappears, he does not react even when raped by the soldier. He tries to challenge him with vain words, trying to show that he is strong, but in practical he lets the soldier to suck away his eyes and instantly he turns into the weak creature that we had found in Cate at the beginning.
One might wonder why Cate, although always insulted and even raped by Ian does not respond and continues to deviously stay close to him and even help him. On the other hand, could be considered absurd that Ian, initially so conscious of himself, turns into a weak submissive to the soldier’s will. Can be reckoned strange that he does not respond, he does not comply, he does not wriggle when raped. So we can find him blind at end of the story, forsaken bewildered, looking for help that requires in Cate, just the one that he had treated in such a contemptuously way, as a useless object in the scene before.