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SAMUEL BECKETT

After the end of the second world war, drama became the genre which best represented the disappointment and the disillusionment of a generation shocked by the horrors of war. Social themes, such as the sense of man's alienation, the cruelty of existence and the lack of values to believe in, were highlighted especially in the plays of the “Theater of the Absurd”. This movement intended to protest against the illogical and unreasonable situation of men and society.

Among the authors who tried to emphasize this topic in drama, Beckett can be considered the most representative. Born in Dublin in 1906 into a middle class family, he successfully graduated at Trinity College with a degree in French and Italian. He therefore moved to Paris, where he taught and where he became acquainted with Joyce, whose stream of consciousness's technique was to have a deep influence on Beckett's production. After the outbreak of the war, he decided to join the French Resistance and, being hunted by the Gestapo, he went into hiding, near Avignon, where he worked as a farmer. After a short period spent in Dublin, he decided to settle in Paris, where he devoted himself to writing.

He produced his masterpiece first in French and then in English as “Waiting for Godot”. This play openly introduced the subjects and the rules, or better, therules typical of the new drama, that is, the theater of Absurd. Beckett represented a moment of life without any link to past or future, since "present" is the unique dimension of the time. Therefore, having no introduction and no conclusion, the plot basically doesn't exist. Vladimir and Estragon embody man's basic situation of waiting for something or someone they don't know. Even though they attempt to do something, they realize that there's nothing to be done; they're stuck in a world but they're not able to quit it. It is in their stillness that Beckett best conveys his image of men's desolate spiritual condition, emphasizing the fact that nothing really happens in their existence. The only vital act is waiting, in fast the hope that Godot might come after all is the last illusion that prevent Estragon and Vladimir from becoming aware of their senseless life.

As Beckett wants to represent the absurd condition of life, despite of the certainties, he made use of a very simple and bare language, he left more and more space to the moment of silence, seen as a symbol of the difficulty of communication about men. The same style and themes can be found in Beckett's other plays; in 1969 he received the novel price for the literature, having worked a turning point in the development of drama.

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