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BEGC-113: Modern European Drama

BEGC-113: Modern European Drama

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for BEGC-113 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Modern European Drama, you have come to the right place. BEGC-113 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in BAEGH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BEGC-113/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BEGC-113

Assignment Name: Modern European Drama

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Max. Marks: 100

Section A

1. Write notes on any two of the following (250 words each): 10x2=20


i) Tragedy and Heroism in Rhinoceros

Ans) One of the most interesting things to happen in recent theatre history is that the playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd became popular all over the world. These authors believe that the most important purpose of modern drama is to find new ways to show how irrational life is. Eugene Ionesco may have come up with the most innovative way to talk about this irrationality. His plays take people who are used to the usual structure of realistic drama and put them in a strange world that is both scary and funny. The goal of this study was to look at the structure of Ionesco's plays to learn more about how he mixed comedy and tragedy. His three-act plays were chosen for analysis because this is usually the best way to see how well a playwright can keep a storey going.


The way the study was done was by comparing the ways comedy and tragedy are shown in The Killer and Rhinoceros. The parts were form, plot development, character, and the end result. In both plays, there are social and serious problems that need to be solved. In The Killer, Ionesco looks at the serious issue of death being inevitable and compares it to the social issues of mass apathy, automatic language, and mass conformity to political ideologies. The Rhinoceros deals with the social problem that comes from political ideologies that aren't kind to people, as well as the serious problem that comes from people feeling alone when they don't agree with such an ideology. When serious and social issues are mixed together like this, they make each other stronger. Both plays' plots are built around a central symbol that is meant to grab and keep the audience's attention. The killer is a sign of how death is inevitable, and the man turning into a rhinoceros is a sign of how political ideologues can be stupid and act like animals.


ii) Structure of the Play Waiting for Godot

Ans) In terms of structure, a well-made play has a beginning, a middle, and a neat ending. On the other hand, the plays by absurdist playwrights often start at random and end in the same way. The random way the plays are put together shows how random and illogical life is. To put it another way, playwrights of the absurd look at life from an existential point of view. They show how meaningless life is by giving up on rational devices. So, most of the plays show a sense of wonder, not understanding, and sometimes despair at the pointlessness of life. Since they don't think the universe is fair and makes sense, they also don't think there is any way to solve the problems they bring up.


Waiting for Godot is one of the most important modern plays. When it was first performed in Paris, no one had ever seen or heard anything like it before. At first, some people were disgusted, some were confused, and some were very excited. In a short amount of time, people went to the theatre expecting a completely new kind of drama and left praising Samuel Beckett.


There are two parts to the play. In both Acts, the two tramps meet, Lucky and Pozzo join them, and then Lucky and Pozzo leave them alone after a while. The Boy finally goes to see the homeless people. In both acts, he says the same thing.


Notice how the same things happen in both Acts.

In both Acts, the graph of "action" goes in the same direction.

"We are waiting for Godot" is a repeated phrase that holds the structure together.


iii) Characterization in Ibsen’s Ghosts

Ans) Mrs. Alving and her maid, Regina, live in a big house in the countryside of Norway. Her family told her to marry her late husband, Captain Alving, but the marriage was terrible. She once ran away to Pastor Manders, who she liked, but he made her go back to her husband. She put up with her husband's bad behaviour, but when their son Oswald was seven, she sent him away so he would never find out about his dead father's bad behaviour. (His dad died 10 years before the play started.)


In honour of her husband's death, Mrs. Alving has set up an orphan asylum (an orphanage). It will be dedicated the next day. She doesn't want anyone to have any doubts that he was a good man who did the right thing. She is also a free-thinking woman who feels like she has to tell her son the truth about his father.


Pastor Manders is a priest from the town close by. He gives a lot of talks about religion and morality. Sometimes, his dealings with the orphanage's money seem sketchy, and he is also quick to give in to public opinion. He thinks Mrs. Alving shouldn't have left her husband and shouldn't have sent her son out into the world when he was so young. He is easy to surprise.


At the start of the play, Oswald is back home with his mother for the winter. The last time we saw him, he was living a pretty bohemian life in Italy. He also shows promise as a painter. Pastor Manders thinks he has gone away from what is right and thinks he looks like his father. Oswald is a good person by nature. He blames himself, though, for the fact that he has been very bored lately. He also seems to like Regina in a romantic way.


2. Critically examine, with reference to the context, any two of the following: 10x2=20


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 ‘Rhinoceros’ by Eugène Ionesco. The stage directions say that the loud, growing stampede (which appears on the wall as stylized heads) makes a "musical sound" and that the heads "seem to become more and more beautiful." Berenger tells Daisy, who doesn't seem to care, that he loves her with all his heart. Daisy gives Berenger some brandy as a reward for being a "good boy." Daisy tells him to let go of his guilt because, as "good" people, they deserve to be happy no matter what is going on around them. Berenger agrees, and he thinks that a lot of people probably turned into rhinos because they felt guilty.


Upstairs, a herd of rhinos causes explosions in the house. Now that he has changed, Berenger wants to live a guilt-free life. He offers some brandy to the drowned Daisy, who thinks they are to blame for the change. She thinks they should change to fit in with their new neighbours, but Berenger says they should start over, like Adam and Eve. Daisy has given up hope and says that they are the "weird ones." She is attracted to the power of the rhinos and thinks that human love is "weak." In a series of quick turns, Berenger slaps her, she pulls away and starts crying, he apologises and says he won't give up and will help her until the end, and she swears allegiance to him. The sound of the rhinos starts to sound more like music. Daisy thinks the sound is singing, but Berenger says it sounds like a roar. Daisy breaks up with him and leaves because he calls her stupid.


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 ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett. In Godot, the above conversation between Vladimir and Estragon shows how religious, political, and social changes from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century made people feel like their lives had no meaning or roots. Because he felt like his life had no point, he lost faith in a universe that made sense. This was also shown by the fact that people couldn't talk to each other, and that language couldn't explain how illogical human situations were. So, the language of the absurd is often at odds with what is happening right now and is often reduced to a meaningless pattern to show how useless communication is. Sometimes, what happens on stage goes beyond what the characters say, and it often goes against what they say.


So, it's not surprising that sometimes these homeless people fall into monologues and silences, just like Beckett, the playwright, did in Breath. So, just as there is a close link between the setting and the main characters, there is also a close link between the setting and the language (used by the protagonists). When you read Shakespeare and Marlowe's tragedies, you'll notice that the poetic intensity of the language used by the main characters not only shows who they are but also makes the tragedy even worse. Their language also has a certain amount of formality to it. They use images, rhythm, and other forms of prosody to make the effect stronger. How does Beckett's use of communication tools, such as common idiom, pauses, repetition, monologues, speech-pace, silences, etc., compare to what has been said so far?


Section B


Answer any three of the following questions:


1. Discuss Ghosts as a Problem play. 20

Ans) Realistic techniques are used in a problem play, but the characters argue and talk about a controversial topic to show it. Conflicting points of view are shown by different characters in a realistic setting. Ibsen used this structure to bring attention to a lot of the taboo topics of his time. He talks about how people think about incest, sexual desire, syphilis, and euthanasia today. Mrs. Alving, Osvald, and Regina talk about ideas with shades of liberalism and radicalism, while Engstrand and Pastor Manders talk about conservative ideas, especially about duties and obligations.


In Ghosts, Osvald and Manders talk about sexual relationships between men and women, which was a big issue in Europe at the time. Osvald supports free love between men and women because he has lived in France and Italy, where people are more open to new ideas. He thinks that two people can be happy together and share a home without getting married and taking on the costs and social responsibilities that come with it. Manders, who stands for both the church and the traditional parts of society, says that these relationships are wrong and illegal. As was required in a problem play, the playwright shows both points of view.


In the play, Captain Alving is used to talk about how people don't have enough freedom. Mrs. Alving says that Captain Alving was morally bad because he didn't have many chances to show how happy he was to live in the conservative society. If he had lived in some parts of Europe, where people are more open-minded, things might have been different. When Osvald talks about the sunny world of France and Italy, he talks about how liberal it is there. "They can still go home, though. And a few of them do, including one that's pretty normal and nice."


Ibsen has shown how the roles and responsibilities of women in society can be seen from different points of view. Manders reminds Regina of her duties as a daughter and scolds Mrs. Alving for not doing what he thought were her duties as a wife and mother. But he is more forgiving of Engstrand's flaws and says that he should be given a chance to change. "But, Mrs. Alving, please don't take it so badly. It's too bad that you're wrong about Engstrand." Like the conservative people he represents, Manders has different expectations for men and women. In patriarchal societies, men are more important than women. They work hard to make sure men's needs are met.


Women's movements in Europe in the 1800s fought for equal rights for women. Through Regina and Mrs. Alving, Ibsen shows how women's freedom can be seen from different points of view. Manders thinks that women should do what they are supposed to do to keep the social order, but Mrs. Alving's situation makes the case for a change in the social order. Changes in how people think about women and their ability to take part in society have made it clear that they should be treated as people, not based on their gender. Ibsen shows Mrs. Alving's pain, which she had to go through in the name of duty and responsibility, to show what the status quo costs people.


Ibsen talked about more than just sexual relationships, a person's place in society, and the status of women. He also talked about how the child-parent relationship changes over time. In societies that are changing and where each person is part of a complicated web of relationships, competing claims need to be looked at and made room for. In Ghosts as a Problem Play, the different roles that fathers and mothers play in a child's development were looked at. Problem plays showed both sides of an argument, but the writers usually made their case more strongly than those of the other writers. In literature, this is what is called the privileged discourse of a text. The writer's point of view is shown to be the most logical, and the conversations between characters are used to disprove the arguments of the other side.


2. Write a detailed note of Characterization in Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan. 20

Ans) Wang, who sells water and is poor, is Shen Teh's most loyal friend. He is the one who knows how good Shen Teh is, how hard she has worked, and how kind she is. He is a Sutradhar who tells the gods about the state of the Province and its people. He also talks to the gods from time to time and tells them how Shen Teh is doing with their orders. He asks them on her behalf to make the rules easier to follow, files a complaint to find Shen The, and asks Shui Ta where she is. He is happy that Shen Teh has won the title "Angel of the Slums." But he knows that praising his friend in this way doesn't help him live a happy life as a person. They are such good friends that when it's raining and Wang doesn't have any customers, Shen Teh insists on buying a glass of water from him to thank him for his hard work. She tells him that she is pregnant, which is a secret that not even her lover Yang Sun knows. Brecht gives these glimpses during small parts of the play because he doesn't want to show this bond in a realistic way. He uses one episode to show us how class conflict, ideas of justice, and self-defense work in a society that doesn't care much about them.


Wang shows her that he cares about justice by leading the search to find Shen Teh and bring Shui Ta before the judges. He starts a very important debate about the need to change the world and make sure good people are happy instead of letting them suffer in a way that makes them better people. Mrs. Shin, who wants more of Shen Teh's kindness and doesn't like it when people ask for help at her door, is shown to help Shen Teh during her pregnancy, keep the secret, and help her as a trusted friend and experienced attendant. Again, Brecht doesn't believe in psychological realism. Instead, he tells stories about moments and situations in an episodic way to start a debate or a logical investigation into the state of social relations. We should pay attention to how Wang, Mrs. Shin, the unemployed man, and Shen Teh stick together even though they are all poor. The storey and how the characters are shown are meant to be jumpy, non-linear, and based on the situation.

The family of eight shows up at Shen Teh's shop on the first night and acts irresponsibly, helping themselves to wine and cigars and demanding food as if it were their right, not caring about their benefactor's well-being. Brecht uses them to show how the less fortunate depend on those who are better off, which could stop the more fortunate from doing good things for the less fortunate. Their portrayal keeps the homeless from being treated too sweetly and adds a touch of soft humour, especially in the way the grandpa treats ShenTeh in a cute way.


Characterization in Epic Theatre doesn't show characters in a way that makes sense from a psychological point of view. The actor acts out a scene in which a character is put in a situation to bring out problems and issues that affect people in a certain social structure. Characters from different levels of a consumerist, capitalist society that treats people and ideas like love, goodness, friendship, etc. as things to be bought and sold show how that society is different. They are neither cardboard cut-outs nor hamartia-filled tragic characters played with imagination. Human desires, goals, and attitudes that are part of a dialectical, materialist world is captured in performative space to start a logical investigation of human potential and social limits. An actor plays the part of a character in a given situation to help us figure out what happened and why. We can then look at the character's actions and thoughts as they deal with the problem. The actor makes it clear that he or she is acting out a part. The audience is told what the difference is between the action and the performance. The audience member, on the other hand, isn't there to get rid of their feelings or have a cathartic experience. Instead, they're there to watch and talk about the performance. To understand the beauty of dialectics in Brecht's theatre, you have to put the characters in The Good Person of Szechwan in this kind of setting.


4. Discuss Waiting for Godot as an absurdist play? 20

Ans) William says, "Absurdist playwrights think our lives are silly because we are born without asking to be, and we die without wanting to." We live between birth and death, stuck in our bodies and minds. We can't imagine a time when we weren't, or a time when we won't be, because nothingness is a lot like the idea of infinity: it's something we only know because we can't feel it. When we are thrown into life, we feel powerful because we have our senses, our will, and our minds. But our senses contradict what we think, and what we think contradicts our senses. In the end, this leads to a feeling of not being able to do anything, which is something that Beckett's plays also deal with.


The absurdist playwrights talk about how life doesn't have a point and how people don't fit in with their surroundings. In his essay "The Myth of Sisyphus," Albert Camus summed up the main ideas of the Absurd Drama genre. Waiting for Godot is a lot like the storey of Sisyphus, who keeps rolling a rock up a hill even though he knows it will never reach the top. All the work that people do on earth is like this. When we realise that everything we do doesn't have a purpose, we feel anguish on a deeper level. This is the theme of the writers in the Theatre of the Absurd.


This idea is allowed to shape both the way the plays look and what they are about. Any attempt at logical construction or linking ideas in a way that makes sense intellectually is thrown out, and instead, the irrationality of experience is brought to the stage. So, everything in Waiting for Godot can be seen as a metaphor for the most "absurd" thing that can happen to a person. Godot could mean anything or nothing at all. In the same way, it is pointless to think about whether it is better to travel with hope or to arrive on Vladimir and Estragon's trip through time, since arrival is never really in question and hope is almost never possible.


In all of Beckett's plays, he avoids giving a clear definition of things. Because Beckett either doesn't know or doesn't want to answer for himself who Godot is, what Winnie means, what the master-servant relationship in Waiting for Godot and Endgame means, or any of the other questions that come up when watching his plays. Beckett said about himself, "I have never in my life been on my way anywhere, but simply on my way." This shows how he feels about the uncertainty he sees around him. Like his plays, his life seemed to have no end.


Beckett rejects the accepted logic of form and conventional structure. This means that both the form and the content of his work show what could be called absurd situations. Beckett points out that in art, matter and form must be the same thing. For example, the way Lucky talks, which may seem disjointed and illogical, is a good example of irrationality and the mess that is life. In the end, it makes sense or makes sense on its own because of this. But one has to wonder if the author of the absurdist play really thinks that life and people have no point. If the author was completely sure that life had no point, why would he keep living? Also, what would be the point of writing more and more about living? Just the act of writing has meaning because it puts things in some kind of order or gives them a value. Eric Bentley says, "Artistic activity is itself a way to get over hopelessness, and for artists who are especially hopeless, that is probably what art is mostly: a therapy, a faith." So, as strange as it may seem, when an absurdist writes about despair or how messed up life is, he or she is trying to put order into "disorder."

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