Modern European Drama
Assignment July 2023 January 2024
(Based on Blocks 1 – 4)

TMA: 01/2023-24

Max. Marks: 100

This assignment has two sections, A and B. Section A is compulsory. Attempt three questions
from Section B. Attempt five questions in all. All questions carry equal marks.

1. Write notes on any two of the following (250 words each): 10×2=20

i) Berenger in “Rhinoceros”:

Eugène Ionesco’s theatrical opus, “Rhinoceros,” delves deep into the intricacies of conformity, resistance, and the erosion of individuality when confronted with the relentless currents of societal coercion. At the epicenter of this enigmatic narrative stands Berenger, a seemingly unremarkable man whose evolution throughout the drama traverses profound dimensions.

Initially, Berenger is depicted as a somewhat hapless and disheveled persona, chronically tardy and grappling with the discord between his essence and the social norms enveloping his community. He incarnates the archetypal common man, a figure loath to metamorphose and fiercely antagonistic toward the inexorable herd mentality sweeping like wildfire, inexplicably transmogrifying citizens into pachydermatous behemoths. Berenger’s initial reluctance to embrace this surreal phenomenon mirrors society’s penchant for docility in the face of prevailing dogmas, sans critical introspection.

Nonetheless, as the narrative unfolds, Berenger undergoes a profound metamorphosis. He metamorphoses into the vanguard of reason and the sentinel of resistance against the rhinocerosian contagion. His steadfast refusal to genuflect before the herd mentality, his tenacity in preserving his own humanity, effigies an emblematic representation of individualism and insubordination. Berenger’s transmutation from an ostensibly inconsequential figure into an emblem of resistance poignantly underscores the drama’s overarching motif concerning the paramountcy of preserving one’s individuality amidst the crucible of societal coercion.

In summation, Berenger’s character in “Rhinoceros” assumes the mantle of a symbolic embodiment of the common man’s herculean struggle to safeguard his individuality within the straitjacket of a conformist society. His evolution from a passive spectator to a resolute nonconformist serves as the theatrical sounding board for the drama’s stern admonition against the perilous conformity to prevailing orthodoxies.

ii) Structure of the Play “Waiting for Godot”:

Samuel Beckett’s magnum opus, “Waiting for Godot,” stands as a paragon of absurdist theater, celebrated for its ascetic and iterative structural blueprint. The play unfurls over two acts, each further stratified into dual segments, revolving ceaselessly around the aimless vigil of two protagonists, Vladimir and Estragon, for an elusive character named Godot, who remains an ephemeral specter, never deigning to grace the stage with his presence.

Act I:

Estragon and Vladimir convene beneath a leafy arboreal canopy, engaging in a tapestry of dialogues, intermittently flirting with the notion of self-annihilation, yet faltering when action beckons.
A juvenile herald materializes, disseminating the somber tidings that Godot shall remain an absentee for the day, while the promise of his arrival tomorrow remains tantalizingly elusive.
Pozzo and Lucky, as transient enigmas, traverse the narrative, precipitating a fleetingly surreal encounter with Vladimir and Estragon.
Act II:

Vladimir and Estragon, once more ensconced beneath the arboreal sentinel, perpetuate the same conversational cadence and choreography as their antecedent performance in Act I.
The juvenile messenger resurfaces, his message verbatim, eliciting an eerie sense of déjà vu, before vanishing into the obscurity from whence he came.
Pozzo and Lucky resurface, although starkly transformed, Pozzo’s visual acuity extinguished, and Lucky rendered mute and incapacitated.
The denouement of the play materializes with Vladimir and Estragon vacillating betwixt departure and inertia, encapsulating the quintessence of existential paralysis.

The structural scaffold of “Waiting for Godot” exudes an aura of deliberate repetitiveness and circularity, an eloquent mirror to the futility and ennui that permeates the human condition. The conspicuous absence of a conventional plot or resolution artfully mirrors the tenets of existentialism, thereby accentuating the absurdity that underscores life’s inherent lack of teleological meaning. The dramatic fabric herein subverts established theatrical paradigms, proffering a singular form that resonates with its themes of indefiniteness, protracted anticipation, and the human odyssey.

In summative reflection, the structure of “Waiting for Godot” is an unapologetic exercise in repetition and circularity, emblematic of the philosophical tenets of existentialism, with its emphasis on the interminable act of waiting, devoid of a discernible purpose or conclusive denouement.

2. Critically examine, with reference to the context, any two of the following: 10×2=20
Daisy: They’re singing.
Berenger: they’re roaring, I tell you.
Daisy: you’re mad; they’re singing
To win one’s mid-day meal
One needs the toughness which elsewhere builds empires.
Except twelve others be trampled down
The unfortunate cannot be helped.
Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.
Estragon: You want me to pull off my trousers? Again,
“Let’s go”. (They do not move)
Answer any three of the following questions:
1. Eugène Ionesco’s Art of Drama creates a unique image which suggests Universalism 20
2. Write a detailed note of Characterization in Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan. 20
3. Discuss the effects of the French Revolution and the Romantic Movement on Realism and Naturalism. 20
4. Discuss Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist play?

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!