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Non Verbal Tendencies in Beckettian Drama

Giving power to the unspoken word and the belief that acceptance of one’s fate can set you free. After a world torn apart by War and the horrors and atrocities commited, man wondered at the meaning of life in its aftermath. This context is crucial in beginning to understand Beckett’s work as he emerged in to the world of theatre and for academics trying to unravel the meaning behind his work. Timothy Pytell a professor of history, writes about Viktor Frankl’s search for meaning after surviving Auschwitz: Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what will become of him-mentally and spiritually. He may retain dignity even in a concentration camp. If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering….Here lie the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides if he is worthy of his sufferings or not.- Frankl cited in Pytell, 2003, 101

For Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, understanding the meaning of his dehumanisation and suffering, found him a certain kind of autonomy in death. This ‘Existentialist’ view presumes that man is responsible for shaping his progression, through the choices he makes. Thus, the only way to influence a change in social condition is to first understand the human condition, that society was in effect a symptom of one’s own anxiety and desire. For many including Frankl, this search for meaning characterised a way of coming to terms with the psychological tumult brought about by War and the death of loved ones. This video gives an overview, the full article an be read on Illumination Curated on

Article written by Drama Llama | Educator | Writer | Academic | Consultant

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