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Posted on May 1st, 2014, by

Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter are both representatives of the French movement “the Theatre of Absurd” and their works have much in common. Comparing Beckett’s “Endgame” and Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter”, it should be noted that the plays are very close in their essence and share a number of elements of style and language.

Absurdity of Beckett’s and Pinter’s plays lies in its set up on the stage, the dialogues and the plot. Ionesco’s definition of absurdity emphasizes the absurdity, uselessness of human actions. ”˜Absurdity’ is more subtle and not as global in “The Dumb Waiter” as it is in “Endgame”. “Pinter does not dehumanize his characters as Beckett and Ionesco sometimes do but leave them “human, all-too-human.” They are ”˜not as static, eccentric and inhuman”¦but rather real, common and human’ (Binyan 39). It is obvious that both Beckett and Pinter tend to build the absurdity of their plays on the senselessness of communication (characters’ conversations) more than on the plot.  However, both writers pay much attention to the repetition of actions of their characters. In “Endgame” Beckett describe the story of four people who apparently have survived after the end of the world and found themselves in a kind of bomb shelter, they live repeating the same actions every day waiting for their death, while Pinter in “The Dumb Waiter” tells the story about two hit-men who spent their lives waiting for the boss to come and to give them another order without even seeing him. It should be emphasized that the actions and thoughts of Pinter’s characters can be seen as only repetitions of the actions and thoughts of some one else, instead of being their own. Thus, they fail to live their own life and to have their own ideas and tensions. In such a way, Beckett’ understanding and revealing the absurdity in “Endgame” is more close to Ionesco’s idea as he stresses the uselessness of his character’s actions by the fact of inevitable death, while Pinter soften the absurdity of his characters’ lives. Their conditions are not as limited and hopeless as those of Beckett’s characters. Ionesco’s idea of absurd ”˜man is lost”¦cut from religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots”¦’ refers to both plays. “Endgame” represents the four people that are limited in their space and setting and in their communication. They are cut from the other world and have nobody except of four of them, while Pinter’s characters Gus and Ben experience the same limitation. They have only themselves and nobody else. Becket’s characters “are aware of what they have already lost” (McDonald 46). ”˜This limitation of the characters of both plays directly relates to Ionesco’s statement.

To sum up, it should be noted that Beckett’s and Pinter’s plays are very close in the style, theme and main idea and both author’s understanding implementing the category of absurd is very similar and close to Ionesco’s idea of the phenomenon.

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