Existentialism | Existentialism Chief Characteristics


Existentialism | Existentialism Chief Characteristics

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Existentialism Existentialism Chief Characteristics

Existentialism Chief Characteristics

Term ‘Existentialism’ may be defined as a school of thought based on the conception of the absurdity (completely unreasonableness and inappropriateness) of the universe and the consequence meaninglessness and futility of human life and action.  It implies- first, the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile and indifferent universe. Secondly, it regards human existence as inexplicable and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.

Existentialism as a school of thought rose after World War II as a reaction against the traditional culture and literature i.e. Realism. Existentialism as a branch of philosophy has its roots in the movement of Expressionism and Surrealism which were radical revolts against Realism. Expressionism undertook to express the inner experience by representing the world as it appears to the state of the human mind, instead of representing things objectively.

Existentialism got its expression and dissemination throughout the world through prose and dramas. The principal existentialist dramatists were Arther Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, and a few others.

There are some features (characteristics) that are traced to be common to all dramas written by these existential dramatists. They are as below:

  1. Meaninglessness and purposelessness of life in this absurd universe is the principal theme of this genre of dramas.
  2. There is neither a specific plot nor specific action.
  3. There are few characters who are types of the lower or middle class of society.
  4. There is no structure, no dramatic unity.
  5. There is no stage direction, no change of spot or scene.
  6. The use of linguistic devices is queer and often incoherent.
  7. They are humorous and comic in character.

The Existentialist plays are called Absurd Plays by Martin Essling, because of their unique absurdity both in theme and style. 0 0 0.


N. B. The article originally belongs to the book entitled ‘Menonimus Dictionary of Literary Terms.

Books on Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
  15. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD) …

Related Search:

  1. Existentialism
  2. Existentialism: Definition, History, Characteristics
  3. Theatre of the Absurd
  4. Existentialism Characteristics
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.



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