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Theatre of the Absurd

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Natasha D'Mello

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Theatre of the Absurd

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Theater of the Absurd Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in absurdism Theater of the Absurd, or absurdism, is a term coined by theater critic Martin Esslin to describe a set of particular plays written in the mid 20th century, as well as later plays that were written in the same tradition.

Can you name some Absurd plays? What are some elements of the absurd? With these themes in mind, what are some examples from the play of when: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had no "setting"?
Rosencrantz and Guildentern could not make a decision, or did not make a choice for themselves?
Did Rosencrantz or Guildenstern's personalities change at all throughout the play? Or did the play end in the same way it began? Destiny vs. Free Will? Do you believe that life is predetermined?
That your purpose will reveal itself with time?
That there is a bigger plan? Free Will & Destiny in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Which do you think is a factor in this play?
Do you think that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were destined to be the way they were, or was it a result of their choices (or lack thereof)? What is absurdism? By: Aaliyah, TJ, Jesse and Natasha Absurdism is the idea that life is without purpose (unless you decide to give it one) and insignificant to the universe. Absurdism includes the following themes: no setting.
no real identities.
static, unchanging characters.
a lack of purpose or direction.
characters have little control over their lives. Think of some characteristics of the play. Or do you believe in the power of individual choices?
That the only determinant in your life is you?
That there is no destiny, only consequences? Consider this quote: "Where we went wrong was getting on a boat. We can move, of course, change direction, rattle about, but our movement is contained within a larger one that carries us along as inexorably as the wind or current....'' -Guildenstern, page 122 What does this quote mean? Think about:
Free will vs Destiny
what does the "boat" represent?
What does this indicate about Guildenstern's personality? What are some examples of coincidences or absurdities in the play? The coin toss
Meeting the players How much of your life is determined by chance? How much of your life is probability? winning the lottery?
dying in a plane crash?
finding $10 on the ground? Is it Destiny, Free Will...or just a coincidence? Absurdism uses humour in plays and stories to depict a universe that is uncaring and purposeless.
The characters in the play display elements of absurdism mainly through:
static personalities (no changes to their characters)
lack of choices or purpose (no free will)
coincidences (no destiny)
absurd conversations (silly conversations that hint of more serious topics) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: A character analysis How would you describe Rosencrantz?
How would you describe Guildenstern?
What similarities and differences do you see between these two characters? Character analysis: Rosencrantz Rosencrantz is the easygoing one of the two characters, happy to continue flipping coins, despite the implications of getting heads for every toss. Rosencrantz spends a large portion of the play being confused about what's going on around him. Rosencrantz prefers simplicity and rarely thinks deeply. Character analysis: Guildenstern Guildenstern, unlike Rosencrantz, seems almost desperate at times for an explanation to everything. He questions the implications of the coin toss, questions their memories and whereabouts, and is often telling Rosencrantz to focus. In this way, Guildenstern is the opposite of Rosencrantz. He keeps demanding answers to questions that have none. RECAP: The Video What happened in the video?
What parallels to the play did you notice? What do these parallels symbolise, and how do they relate to the theme of absurdism. Did you notice:
That Rose and Gwen were lost? This symbolised the lack of setting and the isolation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
That Rose and Gwen made few decisions of their own? They followed the hall monitor into a class they didn't know. They followed the teachers orders concerning Hamletta.
That despite not doing anything, Rose and Gwen end up expelled? Technically, everybody is fated to leave the school at some point (graduation, expulsion, dropping out). In the video, getting expelled is a parallel of the characters' deaths in the play, which was also unavoidable. In conclusion: RECAP What is absurdism? How do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern demonstrate absurdism in the play? The characters are what carries the play through its absurdist plot. The setting or story itself does not matter as much as the characters themselves do. They represent people in a purposeless universe.
Their qualities bring the theme to the forefront and make the play what it is: absurd. was there anything you thought was kind of ridiculous or unlikely? VIDEO! Look for parallels to the actual play. THANK YOU!! What is absurdism??
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