Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2015


College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in English

First Advisor

Dr. Michael D. Sollars


This research involves an analytical study of Samuel Beckett's drama and how he captured critical attention to be included in what Martin Esslin called "The Theater of Absurd." Many critics have questioned Beckett's never-ending drama, a theater of puzzling and non-plussed ideas that continue to defy rational exegesis. However, deep study of fhis plays illustrates the importance ofhis central path in the development of modem drama. He explores the edges of modernism and absurdism by awakening slumbering archetypes,For Beckett and others such as Eugene Ionesco and Tawfiq A]·· Hakim, the framing archetypes.of human consciousness lie behind the manifestations on the stage. These archetypes provide the hidden foundation,.primal existence, and meaning of the seemingly nothingness in the images that are shown 011 stage. Also, Beckett;s characters are ambiguous and enigmatic. Beckett's workstands on the basis of Aristotle's drama, examines .other drama throughout the centuries, and then presents the twentieth century playwright's modernist approach. 1 2 The absurdist approach in Beckett's plays is a domain, richly arrayed with fragments repetition, absence, time, :find silence; creating a new discipline of the absurd .: and existential dread in the drama of the twentieth century. Waiting for Godot centers absurdism in the theater, which becomes a connection between different cultures; another approach of his analysis is emphasizing how Beckett's mysterious drama has influenced different playwrights around the world. In particular, based on the influence of Samuel Beckett's use of absurdity, a comparative drama appears in the Middle East. Tawfiq Al Hakim was influenced by Beckett's drama, and he established an Arabic theater of absurdity. However, Al-Hakims absurdism remains relatively unknown and unread in the West. This thesis argues the importance of including Al-Hakim's absurdist drama in Esslin's important collections of absurdist playwrights. Such an argument requires a focus on Beckett's three plays: Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and Happy Days, as well as The Tree Climber and Fate of a Cockroach by AI-Hakim. Beckett's drama offers the deep meaning of absurdism; its symbolism, language, arid themes assert the absurdity of life and how people are waiting for something unknown. It provides examples of alienation and the need of human companionship. In addition, the three plays are fertile soil to examine the illusion of time, self-consciousness, and the role of absence:and silence, The Tree Climber and Fate of a Cockroach offer parallels between the Arabic absurdism and its root from Beckett's European drama. It highlights the absurdity of being alive without being able to change meanings in this life or fate.. Based on faith and not certainty, the playwrights attempt to examine how this absurd world leads into the dark' abyss of nothingness, a state in which human existence is probed for validity