Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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The Bald Soprano

The Bald Soprano

Themes

The plays of Ionesco, along with the work of Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov, became the foundation for the theatrical movement known as the Theatre of the Absurd. This movement was defined by Martin Esslin in his famous book entitled (you guessed it) The Theatre of the Absurd. On the whole, these writers seemed to be inspired by the philosophy of Existentialism popularized by Jean-Paul Sartre and the idea of the Absurd as articulated by Albert Camus. Basically, they believe that there is no greater purpose in life, therefore everything we do is meaningless or absurd. Ionesco said that, "Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose. Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless" (source). In the minds of the Absurdists, it was each individual's responsibility to create meaning for themselves. This philosophy can be seen throughout The Bald Soprano.

Questions About Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd

  1. Read Camus's famous essay, "The Myth of Sisyphus," in which he outlines the concept of the Absurd. How is this philosophy reflected in The Bald Soprano?
  2. What is the Absurdist view of the nature of reality?
  3. What are the similarities between the philosophies of Existentialism and Absurdism?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Bald Soprano expresses the Absurdist view that our everyday lives are filled with repetitive activities which are inherently meaningless.

The Bald Soprano is similar to many other Absurdist plays in that its characters seem to represent all of humanity.

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