The Hostage Essay

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Ifeka is a Ph.D. specializing in American and British literature. In this essay she discusses Behan's play as an example of Absurdist theater.

Critics were at first puzzled by Brendan Behan's tragi-comedy The Hostage. They could not decide why Behan had created the bizarre mixture of serious themes with comic music-hall routines: was he writing in bad taste or had he simply lost control of the play altogether? They could see that the mixture had an almost Brechtian "alienation effect " upon the audience—they themselves had experienced those precise feelings of alienation and confusion while watching the play—but for what purpose? The answer would not become clear for some time: Behan had abandoned the Naturalism of Dublin's Abbey Theater and had completely bypassed the comedy-of-manners so popular at the time in favor of a cutting-edge fusion of Brechtian theater and the new Absurdist drama that was...

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This section contains 1,560 words
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The Hostage from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.