The Broken Window: Beckett's Dramatic Perspective

The Broken Window: Beckett's Dramatic Perspective

The Broken Window: Beckett's Dramatic Perspective

The Broken Window: Beckett's Dramatic Perspective

Synopsis

The author defines and analyzes the new type of theatrical perspective invented by Samuel Beckett. She begins with an overview of the changes of the definition of century knowledge, then discusses the concepts of time, space, and movement which underlie B

Excerpt

Space, time, and movement: the three basic obstacles to vision in the Beckettian universe.Place, time, and action: the three unities of classical French theater, which suggest the same way of seeing the world as does painting in linear perspective.Classical art, whether dramatic or plastic, separated the time and space of the observer from those of the phenomenon observed, thus rendering vision possible. Beckett puts it this way: "The classical artist assumes omniscience and omnipotence.He raises himself artificially out of Time in order to give relief to his chronology and causality to his development" (Proust, p. 62). Perspective was possible in the post-Renaissance theater because the dramatist and, therefore, the viewer were removed from the time, place, and action of the drama, and they possessed a stable and omniscient point of view that was clearly differentiated from that of any of the characters. Such stability was possible only in an era when people believed in the existence of another world—another kind of time and place—whose perspective they could imitate while viewing or creating works of art.

In Beckett's drama, on the other hand, the only point of view available to the dramatist and the spectators is as partial as that of the characters; we move along with them in the fragmented time and space that compose their universe, and while we may see them from a different perspective than that from which they see themselves, our vision is no more reliable nor stable than . . .

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