Critical Analysis Of Waiting For Godot

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Soon after handling Death of a Salesman, I give them an introduction to some of the literary approaches- moral, sociological, psychological, archetypal, and formalistic. I broadly follow Wilber Scott’s work Five Approaches of Literary Criticism. After much thought I have slated this section here for the following reasons: It provides the students a framework for interpretation and critical analysis of all the literary works they are going to study in the course (one may wonder why not we introduce approaches first and then move onto individual works. However, my experience tells me that dealing with the theory first makes it difficult to apply it on any one single work, so the discussions become more abstract. Having just studied Death of…show more content…
What has worked for me in the class are the following: an overview of European theatre of the twentieth century, an introduction to Brecht’s epic theatre, and then to the theatre of the absurd. Essence of Martin Esslin’s seminal work Theatre of the Absurd forms a strong foundation. A brief introduction to playwrights like Eugene Ionesco, Gene Jenet and Harold Pinter etc. who shared similar ideas and techniques helps further. Discussion of existentialist/ nihilist philosophy, discussing linear narrative vs. circular plot structure, idea of ‘breaking the fourth wall ', the idea of language being an insufficient tool for communication etc. provide proper contextual basis. One interesting addition I have tried and which works very well is to give a link to the films like Goddard’s Breathless, Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, and Woody Allen’s Annie Hall in which there are thematic and stylistic congruencies. For example, to introduce the concept of breaking the fourth wall, clippings from Bergman’s film Autumn Sonata have been useful( so is Annie Hall). I also draw from modern Indian theatre- references to plays of Sriranga, Badal Sarkar and Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana enrich the discussion. Making them comment upon the plays enacted by different drama clubs of the institute too make them relate to the medium better. These references to multiple mediums/ forums help the students to link and form comprehensive shapes in their repository of 'learnt '
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