Samuel Beckett is a famous dramatist and a unique playwright who invented a new kind of play. He experimented with the stage and blew a new soul into it. His plays are completely different from those of traditional writers. Mostly, dramatists of his era mainly focused on the action of the play. Thus, action was a vital element of every drama. Samuel Beckett ignored the concept of action. He proved that there can be drama without action. There is no action in his play even the audience feels pleasure in watching it.
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The theme of Bordem in his Plays
In addition, he added the theme of boredom in his plays. His plays are not just watched but experienced. The audience needs to know the deep meaning of every dialogue in the play. Every word and dialogue is full of symbols, therefore, more knowledge is required to understand them. Moreover, the audience has to feel his plays instead of just watching them. It was a new experience for the audience to watch such types of drama on stage. Samuel Beckett became famous by doing so. He is still remembered because of his contribution to the theatre of the absurd. He enlarged the scope of theatre, therefore, his contribution, in this context, can never be underestimated.
Lack of Characterization
The plays by dramatist/playwright Samuel Beckett lack plot and characterization. There is no story in them. He is not a storyteller nor has he had any experience in sketching characters. Usually, the Focus of the audience remains on the characters and story of the plays but Samuel Beckett skips these two important ingredients. Hardly, do we know any character in Beckett’s play, whom we identify by his actions. He does not reveal their real identity. Many playwrights have gotten fame due to their art of characterization but Beckett is famous for hiding the identity of his characters.
No Development in the Plot
In addition, there is no plot development in Beckett’s plays. They start with a problem and end with the same. “Waiting for Godot” is a remarkable example of it. We see Estragon and Vladimir standing and talking on the stage without doing anything. Only the delivery of dialogues can be seen on the stage. Nothing else is available in the play. The meaning and interest of the play lie in its dialogues. In Act-1 we find them standing near a tree. In Act-2 we find no movement in their position. The play goes on like this and ultimately ends with the same situation.
Hence, there is no plot in his plays. No one can figure out the story of “Waiting for Godot”. It is just about a situation. Similarly, we don’t know the background of Estragon and Vladimir. Both are not completely introduced to us. Very less introduction to these characters has been given by the dramatist in this play. Thus, it is an entirely new concept of writing plays without plot and characterization.
Being and dramatist and a unique playwright, Samuel Beckett uses interesting yet simple language in his plays. Hardly, any useful line can be found. There may be very rational and symbolic dialogues yet they apparently do not seem useful. Every word is a symbol, therefore, great attention is required to dig for their meanings. Beckett’s use of language is absurd. He does not define the meanings of dialogues; rather it depends on the audience to perceive the meaning of dialogues.
Furthermore, the dialogues of the play are short. However, speeches are exceptional. It seems that the characters are not giving any message to the audience but passing time while talking to each other. Dialogues of the plays are argumentative. In “Waiting for Godot” both major characters pass the ball. They talk but most of the time their dialogues have no meaning. Most of the time, dialogues do not serve any purpose.
Numerous dialogues are there in the play that were not necessary. There are some words in the play that have been invented by the dramatist. They are not even found in the dictionary. Hence, Beckett’s language is somewhat unique. His plays are rational but the language and behaviour of the characters are irrational. Moreover, Samuel Beckett uses uncivilized language as evident in “Waiting for Godot”.
Illustration of Reality
It is also one of the major characteristics of a dramatist/playwright of the theatre of the absurd that he presents reality in his plays as Samuel Beckett sketches in Waiting for Godot. Beckett does not use fancy words. He likes to depict life, which is reality. In fact, realism is the fundamental ingredient of his plays. He remains close to reality while describing any situation. Again, the example of “Waiting for Godot” is worth mentioning. The entire play shows the reality of life. It shows a situation viz. waiting. Characters come on stage and portray the reality of life. Even the themes of the play are real. Hope, death, boredom and pessimism are part of life. Thus, Beckett’s plays are entirely about reality.
Beckett presents pessimistic themes. There is very less hope in his plays. In fact, every play that belongs to the theatre of the absurd has this common theme in it. As mentioned above, Beckett presents reality and pessimism is also a reality. In fact, it is part of life; therefore, Beckett’s approach in most of his plays is pessimistic. For instance, every act of “Waiting for Godot” ends with despair. Eventually, the play itself ends with hopelessness.
Complexity in Becket’s Plays
There is also an element of complexity in his plays. Being a dramatist/playwright of the theatre of the absurd, he does not make anything clear. In “Waiting for Godot”, we don’t know who is Godot. From the start of the play, the audience along with the characters waits for Godot but till the end, he does not appear. Samuel Beckett ignores the concept of clarity. He has nothing to do with lucidity. The meanings of his plays are entirely dependent on the rationality of the audience. In “Waiting for Godot”, it depends on the audience how it perceives the meaning of Godot. Samuel Beckett himself has also no acquaintance with Godot. In an interview, when he was asked; “who is Godot”. He replied; if I knew I would have told it in my play. Thus, an element of complexity is also there in Samuel Beckett’s plays.
In a nutshell, Samuel Beckett is not only a dramatist or playwright but also an innovator. He wrote dramas which could not even be imagined by a prudent mind. He did not only write them but made them successful. The audience witnesses a lesson on the stage instead of a story. His plays involve the eyes, the ears, the intellect, and the emotions, all at once, which may be described as “total theatre”.