Analysing leadership and determinants of Leadership Effectiveness Leadership is the behavior of an individual when he/she is giving directions and activities to a group moving towards a common purpose. A leader is seen as someone who sets the paths in an effort to influence people to adhere to those paths. Leadership is an action and not just a position. It can be shown via different people in various situations. A person may not born to be a leader but can be cultured through the upbringing and environment. But there are people who have innate capabilities to become leaders even though they are not exposed. These innate characteristics need to be polished in order for the person to let his or her leadership skills and capabilities shine through. Such leaders also need to be further equipped with certain competencies so that they can pick up qualities that they should demonstrate to become even greater leaders. A leaders personal characteristics are also vital for the developments and motivations of the organizations. True leaders such as the teachers who illustrated that leadership is an action (teaching and leading the students) and not a position. Personal characteristics can also determine what type of leadership approach a person will demonstrate and how effective his or her leadership capabilities are in different situations. Touching the lives and affecting the outcome of many different expectations, a teacher is the epitome of a leader. A leader has his or her own style of motivating the people in the organizations. A leader must find the best skills in order to provide directions, motivations and purposes. Effective leaders are flexible. Organizational Leadership Model The effective leadership influence is not the same for everyone. It depends on their ranks in the organization and abilities which are required in leaders. The three basic leadership roles identified: initiation, speech, and management. 1. Initiation Initiation refers to planned decision making on policy formulation or structural change. These vital decisions are the determinants of the organizations culture and mission. 2. Speech Strategic decisions and methods designed for implementation within the establishment. It includes adjusting or adding on to the present structure towards new policy demands. 3. Management Management is putting into practice the policies and measures that are available to maintain the operations of the organization efficiently. These three kinds of Leadership are naturally executed at diverse ranks in the company with different abilities and skills. The top level management would initiate new policies that involve a change in the businesss structure or understanding the companys mission. An understanding of the entire organization, culture, mission, vision and how it correlates with the external parties is mandatory for these top level individuals. They represent the organization and what the business stands for. Understanding the policy decisions and practicing them to the existing organization via utterance or speech is usually made by the intermediate-level managers. They must uphold a two-way point of reference by taking orders from the above management and adapting them for the lower groups of people in the organization. Type of Leadership Process Typical Organizational Level Cognitive (Knowledge) Affective (Emotion) Initiation: Change, creation and elimination of structure Top echelons System perspective Charisma Speech: supplementing and piecing out of structure Intermediate levels: pivotal roles Subsystem perspective: two-way orientation Integration of primary and secondary relations: human relation skills Management: use of existing structure Lower levels Technical knowledge and understanding of system of rules Concern with equity in use of rewards and sanctions EXHIBIT 16.1 The three Leadership Models. The Position in the Organization. The Skill Requirements A companys policies and procedures will be administered by the Lower-level supervisors. These personnel must possess both the technical knowledge and a clear perception of the organizations rules in order to be successful. They have to continually deal with issues such as equity, rewards and punishments in leading others. Therefore, leadership plays a crucial role in an organization because it has direct impact on the effectiveness of the organizations. Leadership is when a person manipulates others to perform a task at their own will which they would not normally do. Leadership is a vital process to an organization and it can be deliberated on three different stages; i.e. the individual, group and organization. Analysis at the individual stage: the leadership studies have paid attention on the successful leader personalities. Behaviors of both formal and informal leaders are focused at the group level. The effectiveness of an organization is decided by the relations between the leader, follower and circumstances. The studies have caused an emergence of different theories of leadership, namely situational and contingency. In Search for Leadership The requirements in selecting and training efficient leaders were emphasized during the World War I and the quarter century between World War l and World War II; numerous studies were made to examine the personal characteristics of good leaders. These studies are usually referred as characteristic studies since the primary goal was to classify the traits and personal characteristics of successful leaders. The diverse methods used to study these leadership traits could possibly be the reason in the irregularities of the results. The manner of studies was not consistent in identifying the leaders. A majority of the studies was in comparing efficient with inefficient leaders or leaders with non-leaders. Some were identified by external observers, others selected by the group by way of recommendation or voting, nominated by observers such as teachers while some were chosen because they are already in leadership positions. The studies conducted were in conflict as to the way they deliberated on the traits. Some traits were measured by mental tests; others relied on viewers to spot the traits they have seen while some depended on the persons to report their own personality traits. The trait studies were quite unsatisfactory as a whole especially since they had hoped to develop an accurate measure of leadership effectiveness. The spotlight on the leadership research moved because of the flimsy results, to contingency studies which investigated more than just traits of a leader. Numerous traits formed an important divergence in leadership effectiveness and they interrelated with other conditional variables to stimulate the effectiveness of the leader. Physical Behaviors Physical attributes including height, weight, health and appearance are also examined in the studies. It was concluded that there is a relationship between the above features and leadership. Apparently leaders have the tendency to be taller, heavier, better fitness, greater physique, higher energy output and more attractive in appearance. However, these types of results were not always reliable and consistent. The results neither are too weak in general and not consistent to be effective in selecting leaders nor are they helpful for training functions since not much can be made to alter most of these physical traits. Intellect It was generally agreed that leaders are more intellectual than non-leaders and the relationship was shown in the various studies. The relationship could probably begin from the reality that leadership functions depend mostly on success in problem solving. Leadership roles such as initiation, speech and management necessitate great mental ability. In general, it is safe to assume that leaders seem to be more intelligent than non-leaders but the relationships are small. Many other variables other than intellect inspire leadership effectiveness. It was also suggested that leaders should not be too intelligent than the group because associates who are notably brilliant than others are rarely chosen as leaders since the other members tend to snub them. Individuals with high IQs are inclined to have different sets of vocabulary, networks and aspirations that would create communication and inter-relations problems. Leaders do extremely well generally at school/college/university and score better grades. It is important for effective leadership to know how to do things. Thus general and practical knowledge are essential for leaders to make better decisions. Characteristic Traits Only a partial of the characteristic traits seem to be related to leadership and most are not especially convincing. It was suggested that the average leader is more social, has greater initiative, is more persistent, smart in getting things done, highly self-confident, cooperative, and adaptable to situations and possesses excellent communication skills. Leaders were found to be more emotionally mature than non-leaders in the personality integration or emotional adjustment. It can be concluded that personal characteristics are related to leadership. Effective leadership does not depend on a mixture of personality traits only because situational variables are also important since they always decide whether a character was associated with effective leadership either positively or negatively. Therefore, it can be deduced that effective leadership depends on the leaders characteristics, his subordinates and the nature of the task at hand. Many leadership styles were based on studies of leaders behaviors. The finest researches on the styles of leadership are made together at the same time; i.e. The State University in Ohio and the Michigan University. Researchers acknowledged two leader behaviors that were similar although the investigations were conducted separately. As a result, a two dimensional aspects of leadership have been to used to form the Managerial Grid. Authoritarian, Democratic, and Laissez-faire Leadership Due to the diverse political systems in the US and Germany before World War II, studies of leadership have been inspired which evaluated the three leadership styles: the authoritarian, the democratic and the laissez faire. In the democratic leadership style, decisions were made by vote of majority; equal participation encouraged; criticism and punishment minimal. In the autocratic leader, the leader made all the decisions and others must follow the set procedures strictly. In the laissez-faire leader, there was minimal actual leadership and others were permitted to work and play as usual without proper directives. Initiating Structure and Consideration The two leadership factors were initiating structure and consideration which include leadership behaviors in organizing and defining the tasks to be performed and goal achievements. A leader who assigns people to do specific jobs, expected workers to follow set routines and meet deadlines. The consideration factor is friendliness, showing trust, exhibiting warmth and concern for followers. Production-Centered and Employee-Centered Leader Behaviors Production centered behaviors were akin to initiating structure in which leaders would establish targets, gave directives, checked on operations and planned the group Employees work. Centered behaviors were similar to the considerations dimension in which the leader would develop a caring personal relationship with the subordinates and encouraged a two-way communication with them. The associations between the production-centered and employee-centered behaviors are found to be independent scopes of leadership. A leader with strong production orientation does not mean that he is disinterested in the employees. Managerial Grid Robert Blake and Jane Mouton had created a framework which relates task accomplishment to concern for people called the Managerial Grid. They both assumed that concern for production and concern for people would produce the most effective leadership style. There are leaders primarily more concerned with accomplishing the production and task not concerned about people. This person wants the job done and schedule followed at all costs. There is also individual who is not concerned whether the group produces anything but concerned more about the personal needs and interests of the team members. Ideally, leaders should be concerned about meeting schedules in order to get the work done and simultaneously are concerned about the team members interest and feelings too. The Managerial Grid is popular among managers. It is extensively used by organisations as part of their training program to assess leadership style. However, the effectiveness of the Managerial Grid is not consistently supported. The factors which are considered in determining leadership styles interact in complicated ways which resulted in various leadership styles. SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP In assessing leadership effectiveness, there are many factors that must be combined. A situational leadership model developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard considers three variables: (1) the guidance and the direction provided by the leaders (task behavior) (2) the emotional support given by the leader (relationship behavior) (3) the maturity level exhibited in performing the task As a result, four potential leadership styles have been created using a combination of the above factors: S1: Telling Give instructions and supervise performance closely. Suited for followers who are unwilling but of low maturity. S2: Selling Decide and provide opportunity for explanation. Appropriate for followers who are not able but willing. S3: Participating Sharing ideas in making decisions. Suited for followers who are able but not willing. S4: Delegating Responsibility handed over for decisions and performance. Appropriate for groups who are able and willing. Contingency Theory of Leadership Fiedler studied the interaction of leadership style and situation. He identified and developed ways to measure leadership orientation of the leader and situational factors which influence leadership. Leader Orientation Two types of leaders were identified, i.e. relationship-oriented or task-oriented. Leaders who are relationship-oriented tend to look at others as coworkers and look upon interpersonal relations as a requirement towards accomplishing the task. However, for task-oriented leaders, they react strongly against people whom they could not get along with in performing a task. Situational favorableness (1) relationships between leader and member can be good or bad; (2) the task is relatively well planned or not; and (3) the leaders authority is relatively strong or weak. The task structure becomes the second most important situational variable based on evaluation of four aspects of the task structure. Clarity: whether requirements of the tasks are stated clearly, Multiplicity: which the problems encounter can be solved. Verifiability: which the correctness of the decisions can be ascertained. Specificity: which there are generally more solutions involved in performing the task. Group effectiveness Relationship-oriented leaders perform excellently well in situations where concern for the team members is apparently necessary in order to motivate them to perform well. People naturally prefer leaders who care about them and their welfare. However, task-oriented leaders are clearly more effective in impossible situations. Path-Goal Model Directive leadership: subordinates are told what to be expected. Specific guide, standards and work schedules are provided to ensure that task are performed as expected. Supportive leadership: subordinates are treated equally and show concern for their needs and well-being; develop pleasant interpersonal relationships among the group members. Achievement-oriented leadership: challenging goals are set and subordinates are expected to perform at their highest level, improvement in performance always. Participative leadership: subordinates are consulted on suggestions and ideas in making decisions. Situational Aspects The distinctive personalities of those who follow and the environmental factors which affect the leadership style are called situational aspects or features of the situation. Significant characteristics of the followers which have been identified as determinants of leadership style are: (1). Followers with internal locus of control believe that they are rewarded for their own effort. Meanwhile, followers with external locus of control believe that external forces have a control on their rewards. (2). Authoritarianism: an individuals willingness to accept the influence of others. (3). Abilities: The followers ability and experience influence a leader whether they are able to work with an achievement oriented leader or a supportive leader who are patient enough to provide encouragement and instruction. The path-goal model recognizes three environmental factors which effect leadership styles: the nature of the task to be performed, the existing organizations authority system the organizational norms and dynamics The above factors may influence the effectiveness of various styles of leadership in a many ways. NORMATIVE DECISION-MAKING MODEL OF LEADERSHIP Based on the contingency theory of leadership, this leadership model does not assume any leadership style as appropriate for all situations. Leaders must develop a range of leadership styles and take on the most appropriate style depending on the situation. Leaders are required to know in which circumstances they need to consult others and vice versa. Even though the leader may be the chairman of the group, he/she is just one of the group members and does not have or even try to influence the other group members to adopt or follow a particular solution. The principle in selecting a leadership approach. The two measures/principles used for assessing the efficiency of a leadership style are excellence and approval. The quality of the decisions made refers to the accurateness of the actions taken and the extent which some objectives are achieved. The quality of decisions depends on accurate and relevant information Conferring with other group members often provides additional information. Diagnostic decision rules. In order to save time and minimize costs, some managers choose the lead autocratically. If the aim was to further the subordinates personal development, the participative style is selected. In some strategies, the manager decides alone. At times, the manager decides on his own after earlier consultations with his subordinates. Comparing the leadership models. All situational leadership models emphasize on the effect of external factors on a particular leadership style. Different leadership styles suggest styles that are determined by various situational factors. The models focus on different methods, which are situational factors and criteria for selecting the best style: task-oriented versus relationship-oriented. The normative decision-making model ascertains three leadership styles, namely autocratic, consultative, and participative. In each model, situational factors which influence the effectiveness of leadership are somewhat different. A significant reason which contributes to this is that normative decision- making model likens leadership to decision making and considers only this aspect of the leadership function. The model also uses different criteria for evaluating leadership effectiveness. DETERMINANTS OF LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS Although identifying what makes an effective leader seems like a simple task, however, individuals who are in leadership positions are often faced with a dilemma on deciding which leadership pattern to practice. Choosing a Leadership Style Choosing the most appropriate leadership style to adopt depends largely on the context of the organization. A successful leader must be capable of assessing the situational forces in the organization and respond accordingly to the needs. The forces include the organization culture, business goals as well as the organizations strategic plans. Effective leaders must understand themselves, the group, company and social environment. Strategies for Improving Leadership One of the main variables to improve leadership relates largely to the organizations reward system. Leaders should not overlook his capacity to reward his followers accordingly since followers will respond otherwise. For instance, the managers of high- performing groups generally are compensated according to their achievements. Considerate leaders manage to create satisfaction among their performing subordinates while at the same time; changes in the behavior of the leaders could be caused by the performance of the subordinates. Constraints on leader behavior. Leaders have limited opportunities to influence others. Leadership effectiveness is inhibited by a variety of factors. For example, the managerial decisions are planned ahead due to factors such as organizational structure, state and federal law, technological specifications and innovations as well as the absence of other alternatives. Many other organisational factors can impose limitations on the leaders capability to communicate with subordinates or reinforce their behavior towards achieving the organisational purpose. For example, organisational policies, nature of task, skills and abilities of available resources and other external factors may impede the capacities of organisational leaders. External factors. In terms of external factors, leaders are constrained by factors that they have no control on such as state and federal laws. Other external factors include the world economy and global issues. Irrespective of their leadership style, leaders with unskilled resources will face great challenges in leading. The availability of skilled followers is subjected to the external labor market. Organizational policies. The organization may limit a leaders effectiveness by hampering the amount of communication between leaders and followers. The existing company policies may also pose restrictions on the ability of leaders to reward or punish followers. Group factors. Leaders may find it hard to penetrate or influence group members who are highly unified. This will create difficulty for leaders to demonstrate his true capabilities in performing tasks for the organisation. Individual proficiencies and competencies. The leaders own talents and aptitudes may become their constraints because leaders can only possess limited expertise, energy, and power. Some situations may need greater amount of skills, experience and capabilities compared to what the leader may possibly have. Substitutes for leadership. Leadership is an extremely important function. It has an enormous influence on the value of organizations, especially in a business environment. However, in complex situations, we may not know exactly which leadership behaviour will be the most effective to adopt. In addition, certain situations warrant that leadership may be unnecessary subordinates. SUMMARY 1. Leadership is the increasing influence which occurs when an individual manipulates others to do task voluntarily which they would not do otherwise. The basic leadership roles include initiation of policy and structure, speech, and management. Leadership is required within organizations to provide direction to employees towards a common organisational objective. 2. The studies of leadership were mainly studies on traits that tried to identify the characteristics of effective leaders. The studies focused mainly on physical traits, intellect and characteristic. The results were usually weak and inconsistent although some personal characteristics were always related to leadership. Most studies concluded that apart from behaviour characteristics and traits of the leader, the nature of subordinates and the type of task to be performed were as equally important to determine success. 3. Another approach to studying leadership set on leader behaviors; i.e. how leaders actually behave. One of the studies compared the three leadership methods i.e. the authoritarian type, the democratic style and the laissez-faire mode. A democratic leadership produced the greatest satisfaction among subordinates while autocratic leadership style encouraged high level of productivity in the organisation. 4. A research conducted at the same time at two different universities identified two groups of similar behaviors of leadership. At The State University in Ohio, the researchers identified these two leader behaviors as initiating constitution and thought whereas at the Michigan University, the two parallel features were called the production-centered which focus more on the production and the employee-centered with the workers as the focal point. These two leader behaviors seem to relate leadership functions which are essential to the effectiveness of a group. A matrix named Managerial Grid had been formed based on these two factors. The Managerial Grid correlates the concern for production and the concern for people in identifying leadership effectives. 5. As a result of unsuccessful researches conducted to identify superior leadership behaviors, four situational theories of leadership were developed instead. Theories have suggested that the effective of leadership style depends largely upon situational factors, especially nature of the group and the task to be performed. 6. A situational leadership model that matches various amalgamations of chore and relationship manners with maturity of the subordinates. As the number of followers increases, the appropriate leadership style that should be employed would be telling, selling, participating and delegating. 7. Three situational variables are used to assess the most appropriate leadership style. The variables are the connection between the leader and the members (either good or bad), the task (structured or unstructured) and the strength of the leaders power. Based on findings, the most effective leadership style when these three variables formed an extremely favorable or unfavorable circumstance is task-oriented leadership. Nevertheless, a leader with high concerns for interpersonal associations is most effective when there were intermediate levels of favorableness. 8. The path goal model theory is derived from expectancy theory. It suggests that effective leaders must clarify the paths to attract followers. Based on this theory, the command, the sympathetic, the accomplishment-oriented and the contributive leadership styles emerged. The most appropriate leadership style is dependent on two types of situational factors: characteristics of followers as well as the internal/external environment. Three significant characteristics of follower are the locus of control (internal or external), authoritarianism and personal capabilities. The three environmental attributes are nature of the task to be performed, the existing organisational authority system and norms and dynamics of members. 9. The three leadership styles identified are autocratic, consultative and group decision making. Determining which style is most appropriate depends largely on several factors such as considerations whether adequate information is made available to the leader when making decision alone, whether the goals of the organisation are acceptable by the subordinates, or whether the followers accept decisions made without their involvement. 10. Members of the group also have a reciprocal influence on the leader. Group member can induce heir leaders behavior by reacting to the specific leaders behaviors selectively. The power and influence of a leader can also be limited due to certain external factors such as policies of the organisation, norms of the group members as well as the skills and abilities of followers. POSITIONING ON LEADERSHIP CRISIS Many leadership theories have been in existence as more people try to determine the most effective leadership style available. In addition, various leadership models and approaches have been used to produce identified types of leaders. Arthur G. Jago (1982) had projected a structure that organizes leadership theories that are based on each theorys focal point and approach. However, effective leadership also depends on specific situations, among other factors. The result of exposure to different experiences in life throughout the learning process also have the potential to produce mature leaders with high capabilities to lead organisations. Coupled with certain identified competencies which can be acquired, these leaders can demonstrate high skills and capabilities in their capacities as organisational leaders. There are various kinds of behavior that leaders can display to its followers. The two leadership behaviors that have been consistently identified are called the production-centered and the consideration-centered activities. A person can change his or her behaviour without being forced to based on the amount of influence exerted by another individual. Influence is also a contributing factor in shaping the behavior or personality of people. I concur with A. Ange on the presence of leadership crisis but I also foresee the resolutions taken and are still being taken to resolve the problem. Many organizations are spending money in sending their employees to be groomed and trained for future growth of the company whereby they are exposed to different methods of management and how to be great leaders. Leaders are born to leaders but in some circumstances, situations and environments also play a huge role in creating a leader. Leaders with innate capabilities also need to be exposed to certain conditions in order to build their characters and polish their leadership capabilities. Some can be shaped through exposure to various lifelong knowledge and skills training available today. With all kinds of methods and approaches easily accessible, average leaders can become even greater leaders with enough exposure and experience. Leaders come and go and new ones are always on the threshold to take over the empty space. The qualities of the leaders and their leadership styles vary but they are vital in the development and motivation processes of the organizations. There is a crisis in good leadership but it is not at a critical point. Big organizations would have everything in place for the future growth of the company and would have in line the replacements for all aspects of the management. Even small to medium sized organizations have planned their management line-ups for the future. The ongoing programs and trainings that are conducted by organizations to produce capable leaders and gr
Beckett vs Satre Essay
Samuel Beckettâ€™s vision of two lowly tramps in the middle of a derelict environment can be placed in direct contrast to the claustrophobic and eternal nightmare presented by Jean-Paul Sartre , but each playwright possessed objectives for their respective audiences and each shared a valued opinion on the theories of existentialism which can be established in the plays Waiting for Godot and No Exit. Beckett introduces the audience into a world of questioning and surrealist virtues and encourages the spectator to actually discuss the play and find the answer within.
Sartre, however, presents his play as a placard for the virtues of existentialism and attempts to prove that â€œhell is other peopleâ€. When being asked about the sources for his ideas or advocating him as a pioneer for the Theatre of the Absurd, Beckettâ€™s replies were often curt or dismissive. The Theatre of the Absurd was a term conceived by the critic Martin Esslin to describe the various playwrights who gave their artistic interpretations believing that human existence is futile and without meaning. According to Beckett himself the Theatre of the Absurd was too â€˜judgementalâ€™, too self-assuredly pessimistic:
I have never accepted the notion of a theatre of the absurd, a concept that implies a judgement of value. Itâ€™s not even possible to talk about truth. Thatâ€™s the part of the anguish. Sartre, however made his existentialist philosophies quite apparent. With his own theories he collaborated with the Dadaists and Surrealists after the Second World War and achieved to create his own â€˜humanistâ€™ way of thinking but with a prominent atheistic outlook. Sartre quoted rather proudly â€œLâ€™homme est condamne a etre libreâ€¦lâ€™homme est liberte. â€ Loosely translated he proclaims that â€œMan is condemned to be freeâ€¦man is freedom.
â€ Sartre firmly believed that man is nothing except his life and that consequently he is fully responsible for his actions. In Sartreâ€™s existentialist world, man is committed to choose his own destiny without the help of any religion whether he wants to or not and he made this philosophy apparent in all of his works, unlike Beckett who used a more cryptic or absurd stance in his plays. With or without the use of absurdist ideals and other forms of the genre Beckett certainly portrayed the human values in his characters and considered the ideas of social conditioning and the existentialist notion of absolute freedom.
Of all the ideologies written or philosophised over , existentialism seems to lend a lot of its virtues to Waiting for Godot. Ronan McDonald argues that absurdity and existence are fundamental to Beckettâ€˜s work: There may be more affinity with another association of existentialism and Beckettâ€™s beliefs, namely the idea of â€˜absurdityâ€™, though here (too) caution is advised. Without any grounding, without any reason for our being in the world, a certain strand of existentialist thought concludes that life is absurd, disordered and meaningless.
The â€˜absurd, disordered and meaninglessâ€™ which McDonald mentions is evident in the dialogue used in Waiting for Godot. Conversations between the two main characters of Estragon and Vladimir are often erratic and pointless and never seem to resolve at a natural climax. They bounce off each other instigating a retort which is unexpected and prompts an audience to laugh at the scenario with confusing intrigue. The dialogue in No Exit, on the other hand is logical and justified as it relates to the actual settings and situations of the characters.
Beckettâ€™s erratic streams of consciousness that materializes from his characters sometimes make no sense and compared to the confronting and direct speech in Sartreâ€™s work, can sometimes be slightly confusing. Sartreâ€™s characters all have a back story which can be deduced and discovered by the dialogue as opposed to the lack of any character history in Waiting for Godot. The audience can conclude that Estragon, Vladimir and Pozzo, although having different character traits, are all just waiting for Godot but do not know for how long or for what reason.
Garcin, Estelle, and Inez in No Exit all have different traits, as does Beckettâ€™s characters, but their characters are shaped from past despairs, sexuality or previous happenings in their lives which have evidently placed them in the hellish scenario in which they find themselves. Because of the situation in Sartreâ€™s play, the audience can relate themselves to the characters on an empathetic level and create stronger opinions and less questionable virtues than that of Beckettâ€™s enigmatic trio.
The despair and degradation towards many civilians during the Second World War became an established influence in both Sartre and Beckettâ€™s works during their most prolific period of writing after the conflict. The persecution of the Jewish people by the Naziâ€™s occupying Paris and Beckettâ€™s personal actions within the French Resistance seemed to have spawned a firm principle and an underlying subtext within his plays. McDonald makes this apparent when he says:
In his post-war career, though his work became ever less connected to a recognisable world, one could say, paradoxically, that it became more political, more shaped by exploitive power relations, edicts handed down from above, secrecy and inscrutability and descriptions of human torment. Many of these influences are indisputable in the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky throughout the first act in Waiting for Godot. During Act I of the play the abhorrent abuse Pozzo extends towards Lucky and the dismissive way in which he converses with the two slightly passive tramps creates a clear power divide between the characters.
Beckett reverses the divide when in Act II Pozzo finds himself in distress and the power is redirected to the two tramps. As Pozzo is struggling helplessly on the floor like an up-ended beetle the two tramps, reminded of the chicken bone they received from him the day before, explain: VLADIMIR: He wants to get up. ESTRAGON:Then let him get up. VLADIMIR:He canâ€™t. ESTRAGON:Why not? VLADIMIR:I donâ€™t know. [POZZO writhes, groans, beats the ground with his fists. ] ESTRAGON:We should ask him for the bone first. Then if he refuses weâ€™ll leave him there. VLADIMIR:You mean we have him at our mercy?
By using Pozzo as the one in need and the two tramps as the oneâ€™s who can help, Beckett creates a pessimistic vision of human needs in a deliciously black pratfall. McDonald agrees when he says: Beckettâ€™s work is notorious for itâ€™s intense preoccupation with pessimism and human suffering, notwithstanding its bleak beauty and darkly acid comedy. Power and conflict can be found aplenty in Sartreâ€™s hellish hotel room as all three characters seem to find themselves guilty of contraventions which have rendered them no better or worse for conscience in the eyes of the audience.
Whereas Estragon and Vladimir use repetition and slapstick to form the basis of comic moments, Sartreâ€™s characters use no such implements and keep the play solemn throughout. Garcin is the forlorn sadist, Estelle shrugs off her murderous past by being the conceited love-starved damsel and Inez stalks the room as the inert lesbian. Each character submits their own tales of woe and it is evident that none of them has the patience or understanding to cope with the others because as soon as a bond occurs between two characters, the third intervenes.
Having one man and two women in the room (one of them being a lesbian with a keen eye on the other) sexual frustrations boil over to create various power struggles and along with the inept attempts to befriend or belittle and vexed attitudes on their morbid incarceration, the atmosphere becomes a tense hot-bed of conflict with each character in turn venting their grievance towards another. In Frederick Lumleyâ€™s New Trends In 20th Century Drama, he states; No love is possible in the presence of the third, no end is possible since the three must be together for eternity , â€œneither the knife, poison, ropeâ€ can enable them to escape this fact.
With this fact constantly put forward by Sartre; the trioâ€™s future looks bleakly endless and this inevitable outcome contributes to the rise in tension and conflict. Lumley continues; The play presents an endless repetition, a study in monotony which, far from being monotonous, is in fact intensely dramatic and most seducing. Beckettâ€™s characters in Waiting for Godot all have their own motives and opinions but all seem to be quashed by the ever present threat of Godot appearing. The charactersâ€™ vivid streams of consciousness and erratic conversations take the audience along a confusing and often pointless
narrative but Beckett seems to relish this as it makes the spectator question the morals and whole raison dâ€™etre for the piece. Is Godot some sort of religious deity? Are the characters dead and living a life in endless purgatory? Is the story a tale of class and the power struggle that ensues from it? Beckettâ€™s aims can be discussed and divulged for years to come and I believe that there is no one conclusive answer, but Eric P. Levy sums up his plays excellently when he says: â€œBeckett explores human experience as he finds it today: denied any explanations but desperately needing them.
â€ I believe this to be the perfect description of what Beckettâ€˜s aims were for the audience; being denied any explanation from Beckett himself and desperately wanting to know who or what Godot is. In stark contrast to Beckettâ€™s surreal settings and arbitrary dialogue, Jean-Paul Sartre holds no blows when delivering his existentialist piece No Exit. The set itself is more representative of the hellish circumstances in which he has placed his characters as opposed to the stark emptiness of Beckettâ€™s setting.
The setting is just one room with no windows so characters and spectators alike have no sense of what time of day it is and a claustrophobic awareness is supported further by keeping the whole play within one act. In Waiting for Godot we observe all of the action in a sparse wilderness with just one solitary foliage-free tree as a visual representation of the outside world. The only hint of time passing is when the characters mention the previous days events or when the tree shows a mere sprouting of greenery in the second act of the piece.
Along with the scenery the title of the play, No Exit, precedes dialogue and induces drama by giving a sense of inescapability and hopeless struggle to the play. Frederick Lumley describes the set beautifully in saying; â€¦with itâ€™s barren walls, itâ€™s bricked up windows excluding daylight so that night and day are alike, the space where a mirror once hung (for in eternity one must look at others, not oneself anymore), is all part of a masochistic nightmare where continuity becomes an endless symphony of torture worse than any physical torture.
With these points in mind it is evident that Sartre relied more on the situation in which his characters were based rather than the frivolities of Beckettâ€™s characters and his absurdist approach. Although Beckett and Sartre shared the same philosophical outlooks on existentialism and the nature of human behaviour, Sartre used the theatre as his soap-box to create and present his philosophical views and tended to show the drama in the situation rather than the character based approach which Beckett utilized in most of his plays.
Sartre himself states; As a successor to the theatre of characters we want to have a theatre of situation. The people in our plays will be distinct from one another not as a coward is from a miser or a miser from a brave man, but rather as actions are divergent or clashing, as right may conflict with right. Sartre uses the situation in No Exit to create the dramatic conflict and tense atmosphere whereas Beckett uses the theatre of absurdity with sparse and stunning dialogue to create some form of dramatic tension in Waiting for Godot.
Conclusively this makes Beckettâ€™s play very much more ambiguous compared to the out and out existentialist views portrayed in No Exit. The characters in Sartreâ€™s piece all seem familiar to an audience who after witnessing the play have no quandary in deciding where the play leads or where it leads from and the content from itâ€™s start to itâ€˜s twisted and violent conclusion definitely advocates Sartreâ€˜s theory; â€œHell is other people.
â€ Waiting for Godot, however, leaves the audience perplexed at the outcome and offers various questions as to the origin of itâ€™s characters along with their motivations and mundane existence. With the erratic lines of action and the surreal and often pointless conversation, the audience can derive that the whole point of Waiting for Godot is; there is no point. But is this correct? Only Samuel Beckett could have revealed that answer. Bibliography Beckett. S. Waiting For Godot. Chatham: Faber Faber. 2006 ed. Sartre. J.
P No Exit and three other plays. Vintage International. 1996 ed. McDonald. R. The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Beckett. Cambridge: CUP. 2006. Levy. E. P. Beckett And The Voice Of The Species. Dublin: Macmillan. 1980 Knowlson. J McMillan (eds. ) The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett, vol I: Waiting for Godot. London: Faber Faber, 1994. Unwin. S Woddis. C. A Pocket Guide To 20th Century Drama. London: Faber Faber. 2001. Lumley. F. New Trends In 20th Century Drama. London: Barrie Jenkins Ltd. 1972 ed. References Styan. J.
L Modern Drama in Theory and Practice2 (Symbolism, Surrealism and the Absurd) Cambridge: CUP 1998 Lenny Love 2007 [ 2 ]. Knowlson, Damned to Fame, p. 178. [ 3 ]. New Trends In 20th Century Drama, Ch10 p139 [ 4 ]. Cambridge Intro to S. Beckett [ 5 ]. Cambridge Intro to S. Beckett Ch2, p22 [ 6 ]. Cambridge Intro to S. Beckett ch2, p23 [ 7 ]. Levy. E. P. Beckett the Voice of Species. p. 3. [ 8 ]. New Trends In 20th Century Drama. Ch10, p150 [ 9 ]. New Trends in 20th Century Drama. Ch10, p141.
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