Three features of postmodernism in “Episode in the life of an author & Waiting for Godot”
Post modern era dates back to late 20th century after World War II. It describes a particular style of thought which co-relates the emergence of new features and types of social life and economic order in a culture. Some of the famous post modern plays are look back in Anger by John Osborn, Death of a salesman by Arthur Miller, waiting for Godot by Samual Beckett & Episode in the life of an author by John Anouilh. All these plays depict certain features of post modernism. The following paragraphs will highlight the existence of intertextuality, metafiction and absurdity in the two post modern plays namely Episode in the life of an author and Waiting for Godot.
To begin with, ” intertextuality is a literary device where a writer gives shapes to his writing by connecting it with some other text or are influenced by other factor that kink together. For example a writer who had watched a play or read a story may get influenced by some of the ideas from that story which he incorporates in his own writing. “Intertextual includes devices like allusion, quotation, claque, plagiarism,” as stated by (Roshan, 2018). Episode in life of an author is a perfect example of his individualistic style that is eminently entertaining and theatrical. This one act play is a clear depiction of every individual life. The play clearly shows the link in the story to that of a life of an ordinary man. Every small details of play like a short temper of wives, the busy schedule of an author and all the chaotic atmosphere in a real life is showed through the play. Similarly in the waiting for Godot, the major reference is taken from the bible where the jews are waiting for Messiah who is expected to come but never arrives. Where as Christians awaits the jesus Christ but never comes. The tree that is the single piece of scenery for the play can be related to the tree in the Garden of Eden. The relationship between Pozzo and lucky and its inversion is sometimes read as reference to either Hegelian ideas of master-slaver relations or Karl Marx. Lucky’s thinking seems a parody of German philosophy in Becketts period and may also refer to the phrontesterion in Aristophanes clouds. As stated by (Sengupta, 2014) “Rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead thus shares with waiting for Godot not only the image of two lost souls waiting for something to happen, but stoppardsidea of Becketts humorous dialectical mode of expression.”
In continuation metafiction is one common feature of post modernism present in both the plays. Metafiction is a tool to undermine literary convention and explore the relationship between literature and reality, life and art, as supported by (Levine, 2015), “Realism, the genre in which literature is expected to reflect reality, tends to act as the default settings for establishing the worth of a given piece.” As the whole play in episode in the life of an author portrays the reality of the world but does convey the message of fiction throughout the play. The characters and the plot create a image of artistic value in the minds of the audience. Similarly, Beckett’s waiting for Godot shares this feature. The play depicts the concept of postmodernism through its major characters, Estragon and Vladimir. These main characters in the play primarily depict the concept of having “hope” in a situation which does not seem to give hope. The play is basically about two men, Estragon and Vladimir, waiting for Godot. Throughout their waiting time, the only thing they do is to make the time pass by doing things that would practically entertain them. Technically, the play depicts the idea of waiting for someone who is not coming. Through the entire play, Godot does not arrive. He is never present or never introduced on the stage. He represents the thing or person whom most of us want to meet. Waiting entails hope and patience. This work represents the reality that happens with most of the people in real world. The characters in Waiting for Godot depict the meaninglessness of everyday life activities. They are carefree, but hopeful and patient. These characteristics primarily show the real characteristics of people in reality. The play illustrates that the everyday life activities of people is meant to show and emphasize a perspective that tells that there is no future meaning that can put meaning to any action done in the present. The writer, Beckett, aims to emphasize the meaningless, pointlessness and nothinglessness of life. The play suggests that people should make what is present worthwhile. As supported by (Mhetre, 2017), ” The characters Vladimir and Estragon represents the miserable condition of life in the present. The play gives deep insight into the human conditions, and reflects a mirror to the audience which makes them ask, is this me and my life circumstances.”
Finally, absurdity is the most important feature which binds these two plays as a postmodern literature. “The absurd is characterized by absence of logic, the occurrence of incongruous and contradictory events, and the rendition of fantasy as reality,” as stated by (Popovic, 2016). Episode in the life of an author is an absurd literary piece which was famous during those era. The entire play is based upon illogical and senseless image of the reality. However it does succeed to capture the attention of the audiences as they now felt the connection between the reality and art. The irrationsl attributes of the characters, unsequencial plots and uncountable amount of humour adds on to the absurdity of the play. On contrast waiting for Godot also presents religious salvation as a false hope. The two characters are the wanderers on a bare country road that symbolises life. They wait for gogot who never arrives instead meets with a messanger boy who informs godot will come the next day. This play is an allegory of modern mans wait for personal salvation. To achieve the goals one must take action instead of wait passively for fulfillment to arrive on its own. So the play doesn’t have conventional plot, no motivational characters and no clear setting thus fulfilling the absurd literature as supported by (Khan, et. Al. 2015) “waiting for godot is an absurd drama and it shows the absurdity of human beings.”
To sum up, both these plays episode in the life of an author and waiting for godot are the best example of post modern literature as it examplifies a lot of features of post modernism. Especially intertextuality, metafiction and absurdity are some of the features which is reflected in both of these plays. Since post modernism development immerged after the worldwar the audiences seemed to enjoy the nature of the literature as it refreshed their mind from the harsh situation during that time. post modernism then became an activist strategy against the coalition of reason and power. Post modernism explains seek not to find the foundation and the condition of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change. So the task of post modern proffessor is to help students spot, confront and work against the political horror of ones time.(1210 words)
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