The Theme of Madness - Literature review Example

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The following paper under the title 'The Theme of Madness' gives detailed information about Samuel Beckett, the great Irish poet, author, and playwright who said in his most famous play, Waiting for Godot, “We are all born mad. Some of us remain so.”…
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The Theme of Madness
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Download file to see previous pages Considering the times, it makes sense that much of Samuel Beckett’s works—his plays, poetry, and novels—focus on the theme of madness. This reaches back very early in Beckett’s career, even in his first novel, Murphy, published in 1938. It explains why many consider Beckett an existentialist, although as Ackerley and Gontarski state, Beckett’s views are far removed from Sartre’s existentialism (501). Much of Beckett’s works, especially his plays written after the war, have existential themes, although it is incorrect to pigeonhole him as an existentialist. It seems that as Beckett progressed in his career, he became both more existential and minimalist. Beckett is often mislabeled as an existentialist because of his connection with Theatre of the Absurd as described by Martin Esslin (n.p.), who coined the phrase and used Beckett and Waiting for Godot as his main examples.
Plays in the Theatre of the Absurd genre have been strongly influenced by existentialism. Esslin saw them as the fulfillment of the existential thinker Albert Camus’ concept of “the absurd.” By placing Beckett’s plays within the genre and connecting them with Camus, Beckett was subsequently wrongly closely associated with the existentialists. It cannot be denied, however, that Beckett’s works, even his earlier ones like Murphy, have existential themes. Esslin describes these themes as “the sense of metaphysical anguish at the absurdity of the human condition” and the “sense of the senselessness of life, of the inevitable devaluation of ideals, purity, and purpose” (n.p.). Beckett’s works, including Murphy, can be placed squarely within this tradition of writing.
Murphy is Beckett’s second work of prose and his first novel. Unlike most of his works, which were composed in French, it was written in his native English.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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