ChangMMW6OutlineLectureNineteen20101 - (1 Always...

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Outline Lecture Nineteen—Finding Meaning in the Absurd Key Questions: 1) In what ways is Waiting for Godot an enactment of existentialist philosophy? 2) What made Beckett’s unconventional 1952 play, with no plot, no definite setting, no protagonist even, such an enduring testimony of the human condition? I) Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot a) Problem of Time in Modernity b) The Dissolution of Time i) Time understood as one endless, repetitive cycle (1) None of the characters can be sure when something happened ii) Overwhelming sense of temporal disorientation (1) No clear distinction of past, present, and future (2) Suspended in a constant state of ahistoricity iii) What do birth and death mean, when nothing of consequence happens in between? c) Trapped in existence i) Powerless to live, yet also powerless to die
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Unformatted text preview: (1) Always rationalizing their paralysis by “waiting for Godot” (2) Contemplating killing themselves d) Making Meaning Out of Existence i) Desperate attempt to create “the impression that we exist” (59) (1) Sharing stories to pass the time (2) Conversations go on in circles ii) The perpetual paralysis defines their existence e) Sartre’s “Hell is other people” i) Abusing each other to sustain our own existence ii) The example of Pozzo and Lucky iii) Fleeting existentialist moment of recognizing human accountability? ( Read 90) f) Performance vs. Reality i) Play has no outside reference point ii) The action or plot is simply the passing of time itself iii) The complicity and entrapment of the audience in the human condition...
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This note was uploaded on 03/04/2011 for the course MMW 6 taught by Professor Chang during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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