- 1 SECTION A
- 2 Write notes on any two of the following (250 words each):
- 3 i) Tragedy and Heroism in Rhinoceros
- 4 ii) Structure of the Play Waiting for Godot
- 5 iii) Characterization in Ibsen’s Ghost
- 6 2. Critically examine, with reference to the context, any two of the following:
- 7 1. Daisy: They’re singing.Berenger: they’re roaring, I tell you.Daisy: you’re mad; they’re singing
- 8 2. To win one’s mid-day mealOne needs the toughness which elsewhere builds empires.Except twelve others be trampled downThe unfortunate cannot be helped.
- 9 3. Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.Estragon: You want me to pull off my trousers? Again,“Let’s go”. (They do not move)
- 10 SECTION B
- 11 Answer any three of the following questions:
- 12 1. Discuss Ghosts as a Problem play.
- 13 2. Write a detailed note of Characterization in Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan.
- 14 3. Discuss the effects of the French Revolution and the Romantic Movement on Realism and Naturalism.
- 15 4. Discuss Waiting for Godot as an absurdist play?
|Title||BEGC-113: IGNOU BAG Solved Assignment 2022-2023|
|Degree||Bachelor Degree Programme|
|Course Name||Modern European Drama|
|Programme Name||Bachelor of Arts (General)|
|Last Date for Submission of Assignment:||For June Examination: 31st April|
For December Examination: 30th September
Write notes on any two of the following (250 words each):
i) Tragedy and Heroism in Rhinoceros
Ans: Eugene Ionesco’s play “Rhinoceros” explores the themes of tragedy and heroism through the characters and their experiences. The play is set in a small French town, where the inhabitants begin to turn into rhinoceroses, one by one, for no apparent reason. The play is a metaphor for the rise of totalitarianism and the dangers of conformity.
The tragedy in the play is evident in the transformation of the characters into rhinoceroses. The transformation is a physical manifestation of the characters’ loss of humanity and their descent into barbarity. The tragic element lies in the characters’ inability to resist the transformation, to hold onto their humanity in the face of overwhelming pressure. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the transformation happens gradually, and the characters are powerless to stop it.
Heroism in “Rhinoceros” is represented by the character of Berenger. He is the only character who resists the transformation and holds onto his humanity. Berenger represents the individual who stands up against the crowd and refuses to conform. He is the voice of reason in a world that has lost its way, and he represents the hope that humanity can be saved from its own destructive tendencies. Berenger’s heroism lies in his willingness to stand up for what he believes in, even when it is not the popular thing to do. He is a hero because he fights for the preservation of humanity against the forces that seek to destroy it.
ii) Structure of the Play Waiting for Godot
Ans: “Waiting for Godot” is a play by Samuel Beckett, which is widely considered a masterpiece of the 20th-century theatre. The play has a unique structure that is essential to its success in conveying its existential themes. The following is an analysis of the structure of “Waiting for Godot.”
Act I: The play opens with two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for someone named Godot. They discuss their situation and engage in various activities to pass the time. Their conversation is peppered with humor, but there is an underlying sense of boredom, desperation, and futility. The act ends with the arrival of a messenger who tells them that Godot will not be coming that day but will come tomorrow.
Act II: The second act follows a similar pattern to the first. The tramps are still waiting for Godot, but this time they are joined by two other characters, Pozzo and Lucky. The arrival of these characters introduces some dramatic tension, but their presence does little to alleviate the tramps’ sense of waiting and futility. The act ends with the arrival of the messenger, who tells them that Godot will not be coming that day either.
Repetitions: One of the most significant structural features of “Waiting for Godot” is its repetitions. The play is structured around a series of routines and patterns that reinforce the sense of waiting and repetition. The dialogue between Vladimir and Estragon is circular, with the same phrases and jokes repeated throughout the play. Even the arrival of the messenger and the subsequent news about Godot’s delay are repeated, creating a sense of deja vu.
Absurdity: The structure of “Waiting for Godot” also contributes to its overall sense of absurdity. The play lacks a clear plot, a definitive resolution, and even a coherent sense of time. The characters seem trapped in a perpetual present, with no sense of past or future. The lack of narrative structure mirrors the sense of purposelessness and uncertainty that the characters feel.
iii) Characterization in Ibsen’s Ghost
Ans: Henrik Ibsen’s play “Ghost” is a tragedy that explores the themes of morality, social conventions, and the human condition. The play’s central character, Mrs. Alving, is a complex and well-developed character who undergoes significant transformation throughout the play. The following is an analysis of the characterization in “Ghost.”
Mrs. Alving: Mrs. Alving is the central character of “Ghost,” and she is a complex and multifaceted character. At the beginning of the play, Mrs. Alving is portrayed as a dutiful wife who has dedicated her life to her late husband’s legacy. She is a respectable member of society, who adheres to social conventions and traditional gender roles. However, as the play progresses, Mrs. Alving’s character undergoes significant transformation. She begins to question the morality of the choices she has made in her life and becomes more assertive in challenging the social norms that have governed her life.
Oswald: Oswald is Mrs. Alving’s son, and he is a foil to his mother’s character. Unlike Mrs. Alving, Oswald is an artist who rejects societal conventions and traditional values. He is a free spirit who has traveled extensively and has experienced life outside of the confines of his mother’s society. Oswald’s character serves as a contrast to his mother’s traditionalism and adherence to social norms.
Pastor Manders: Pastor Manders is a secondary character in “Ghost,” but he is crucial to the play’s themes and to Mrs. Alving’s character development. Pastor Manders is a representative of the conservative and religious values that have governed Mrs. Alving’s life. He represents the oppressive social norms that have restricted Mrs. Alving’s freedom and self-expression. Through her interactions with Pastor Manders, Mrs. Alving begins to challenge the beliefs and conventions that have governed her life, and she begins to see the possibilities for personal freedom and self-expression.
2. Critically examine, with reference to the context, any two of the following:
1. Daisy: They’re singing.
Berenger: they’re roaring, I tell you.
Daisy: you’re mad; they’re singing
Ans: The above lines are taken from Eugene Ionesco’s play, “Rhinoceros,” and the two characters, Daisy and Berenger, are arguing about the nature of the sounds they hear. Berenger insists that the sounds are roars, while Daisy maintains that they are singing. This exchange can be interpreted in different ways, but one possible reading is that it reflects the characters’ different attitudes toward the events that are happening around them.
On the one hand, Berenger’s assertion that the sounds are roars could be seen as a sign of his growing awareness of the strange and unsettling transformations that are occurring in their town. The play is a metaphor for the rise of fascism in Europe, and the appearance of rhinoceroses in the town is meant to symbolize the spread of this ideology. Berenger’s refusal to accept that the sounds he hears are just singing could be seen as an expression of his resistance to this new reality. He is unwilling to accept that the world he knows is changing, and he clings to his own interpretation of events, even when it contradicts the evidence before him.
On the other hand, Daisy’s insistence that the sounds are singing could be interpreted as a form of denial. She refuses to acknowledge the danger that is looming around them, and instead chooses to believe that everything is fine. This could be seen as a reflection of the tendency of some people to turn a blind eye to the rise of fascism, either because they are afraid to confront it or because they believe that it will not affect them personally. Daisy’s reaction could also be seen as a critique of the power of language to shape our perceptions of reality. If we call the sounds singing, then we hear music; if we call them roars, then we hear danger.
2. 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.
Ans: The above lines are taken from the poem “To win one’s mid-day meal” by Mahatma Gandhi. These lines reflect Gandhi’s belief in the importance of hard work and resilience in achieving success in life.
The first line of the stanza suggests that winning one’s mid-day meal, or basic sustenance, requires toughness and perseverance, qualities that are often associated with the building of empires. This can be interpreted as a call to action for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Gandhi is essentially saying that if you want to succeed in life, you need to be tough and persistent, and you need to work hard to achieve your goals.
The second line of the stanza is more controversial, as it suggests that in some cases, the unfortunate cannot be helped, and that they must be trampled down in order for others to succeed. This line is open to different interpretations, but one possible reading is that Gandhi is acknowledging the harsh realities of life, where competition and survival often require individuals to prioritize their own interests over those of others. In this sense, the line can be seen as a reflection of Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, which acknowledges the inevitability of conflict and suffering, but seeks to minimize it through peaceful means.
The final line of the stanza is a stark reminder of the brutality of life, and the fact that in some cases, people may need to be sacrificed in order for others to succeed. This line is a sobering reminder of the harsh realities of life, and of the challenges that people face in trying to overcome them. At the same time, it can also be seen as a call to action, urging individuals to work together to overcome adversity and to build a more just and equitable society.
3. Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.
Estragon: You want me to pull off my trousers? Again,
“Let’s go”. (They do not move)
Ans: The above lines are taken from Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot,” and they reflect the characters’ absurd and circular dialogue that is characteristic of the play.
In this exchange, Vladimir tells Estragon to “pull on your trousers,” which could be interpreted as a command to get ready to move on or to take some kind of action. However, Estragon misunderstands Vladimir’s instruction and responds with confusion, asking if he wants him to pull off his trousers instead. This misinterpretation highlights the characters’ inability to communicate effectively and their tendency to get stuck in meaningless conversations.
The final part of the exchange, where the characters do not move, reinforces the sense of futility and aimlessness that pervades the play. Despite the apparent urgency of the situation, the characters are unable to take any decisive action and instead remain stuck in their own thoughts and words. This lack of action and progress is a central theme of the play and reflects Beckett’s existentialist philosophy, which emphasizes the fundamental meaninglessness and absurdity of human existence.
Answer any three of the following questions:
1. Discuss Ghosts as a Problem play.
Ans: Henrik Ibsen’s play “Ghosts” is considered a problem play, a term coined by T.W. Robertson in the late 19th century to describe plays that tackled controversial or taboo topics. “Ghosts” is a powerful and complex play that explores themes such as morality, societal conventions, and the human condition. The play is considered a problem play for several reasons:
- The play challenges traditional social conventions and moral values. “Ghosts” challenges the prevailing moral codes of its time, particularly the idea of duty and sacrifice. The play explores the moral consequences of keeping secrets and the dangers of adhering to social norms and conventions blindly.
- The play tackles taboo topics. “Ghosts” is a play that confronts controversial topics such as incest, sexually transmitted diseases, and euthanasia, all of which were considered taboo during the late 19th century. The play’s frank treatment of these topics caused outrage and scandal when it was first performed.
- The play reflects Ibsen’s philosophy of individualism. Ibsen was a proponent of individualism, which emphasized personal freedom, self-expression, and the rejection of societal norms and conventions. “Ghosts” is a play that reflects Ibsen’s philosophy, as it portrays the struggle of the individual against oppressive societal norms and conventions.
2. Write a detailed note of Characterization in Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan.
Ans: Bertolt Brecht’s play “The Good Woman of Szechuan” is a complex work of literature that explores themes such as morality, social injustice, and the human condition. The play’s central character, Shen Te, is a complex and multifaceted character that undergoes significant transformation throughout the play. The following is an analysis of the characterization in “The Good Woman of Szechuan.”
Shen Te: Shen Te is the central character of the play, and she is a complex and multifaceted character. At the beginning of the play, Shen Te is portrayed as a good-hearted and selfless woman who is willing to help anyone in need. However, she soon realizes that her kindness is being exploited, and she struggles to balance her altruism with her need for self-preservation. To survive in a harsh and unforgiving world, Shen Te creates an alter ego, Shui Ta, who is ruthless and unyielding in his dealings with others. Through her interactions with the other characters in the play, Shen Te undergoes significant transformation, as she learns to assert herself and navigate the complexities of human relationships.
The Gods: The gods are secondary characters in the play, but they play a significant role in the play’s themes and in Shen Te’s character development. The gods represent the forces of power and authority that govern society and control people’s lives. The gods are portrayed as indifferent and uncaring, with little concern for the plight of ordinary people. Through Shen Te’s interactions with the gods, the play explores the themes of social injustice and the struggles of the individual against oppressive societal norms.
The Water Seller and the Barber: The Water Seller and the Barber are minor characters in the play, but they serve a specific purpose in the play’s themes and in Shen Te’s character development. The Water Seller and the Barber are representative of the common people in society, who struggle to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world. Through her interactions with these characters, Shen Te learns to navigate the complexities of human relationships and the challenges of living in a society that values self-interest over altruism.
3. Discuss the effects of the French Revolution and the Romantic Movement on Realism and Naturalism.
Ans: The French Revolution and the Romantic Movement were two significant historical events that had a profound impact on the development of literary movements such as Realism and Naturalism.
The French Revolution, which began in 1789, was a period of significant political and social upheaval in France, marked by the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The Revolution brought about significant changes in French society, including the rise of the middle class and the emergence of new political ideologies such as liberalism and socialism. The Revolution also led to the development of a new artistic style known as Romanticism.
Romanticism was a literary movement that emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in response to the political and social changes brought about by the French Revolution. Romanticism was characterized by a focus on individualism, emotion, and imagination, and it rejected the strict rules and conventions of neoclassicism. Romantic writers often celebrated nature, the supernatural, and the exotic, and they sought to evoke a sense of wonder and awe in their readers.
Realism and Naturalism, which emerged in the mid-19th century, were a reaction against the excesses of Romanticism. Realism was a literary movement that sought to represent reality as accurately and objectively as possible, while Naturalism was a more extreme form of realism that focused on the darker and more unpleasant aspects of human existence. Both movements rejected the idealized and romanticized versions of reality that were common in Romantic literature, instead seeking to portray the world as it really was.
The French Revolution and the Romantic Movement had a significant impact on the development of Realism and Naturalism, as they helped to shape the social and cultural context in which these movements emerged. The Revolution brought about significant changes in French society, including the rise of the middle class and the emergence of new political ideologies such as liberalism and socialism, which provided the intellectual background for Realism and Naturalism.
The Romantic Movement, with its emphasis on emotion and imagination, also had a significant impact on Realism and Naturalism. Realist writers often sought to create an emotional and psychological impact on their readers, while Naturalist writers often used literary techniques such as symbolism and metaphor to convey a sense of emotional depth and complexity.
4. Discuss Waiting for Godot as an absurdist play?
Ans: “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett is often considered as a prime example of absurdist drama. Absurdist plays are characterized by their seemingly illogical and nonsensical plots, non-linear structure, and the use of existential themes such as the purpose of human existence, the human condition, and the search for meaning. In this context, “Waiting for Godot” can be seen as an absurdist play for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the play’s plot is highly illogical and nonsensical. The two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, spend the entire play waiting for a character named Godot, who never arrives. The play does not have a traditional plot structure, and instead presents a series of seemingly meaningless conversations and interactions between the characters. There is no clear resolution or explanation for the characters’ situation, which adds to the sense of absurdity and meaninglessness.
Secondly, the play’s language and dialogue are highly repetitive and circular, often consisting of meaningless exchanges and non-sequiturs. This contributes to the play’s sense of absurdity and lack of clear meaning or purpose. The characters often repeat themselves and misunderstand each other, emphasizing the futility of communication and the difficulty of finding meaning in the world.
Thirdly, the play’s existential themes reflect a key element of absurdist drama. The characters in “Waiting for Godot” are stuck in a meaningless and seemingly endless cycle of waiting, which is often interpreted as a metaphor for the human condition. They are constantly searching for meaning and purpose, but are unable to find it, highlighting the fundamental absurdity and emptiness of human existence.
Finally, the play’s setting and atmosphere contribute to its absurdist nature. The characters are trapped in a barren and desolate landscape, with no clear sense of time or place. The setting is ambiguous and disorienting, further emphasizing the sense of confusion and meaninglessness that pervades the play.
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For June Examination: 31st April, For December Examination: 30th October