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Word Count: 3,300
On of the major playwrights during this period was Jean-Paul Sartre Sartre hadbeen imprisoned in Germany in 1940 but managed to escape and become one of theleaders of the Existential movement Other popular playwrights were Albert Camusand Jean Anouilh Just like Anouilh Camus accidentally became the spokesman forthe French Underground when he wrote his famous essay Le Mythe de Sisyphe orThe Myth of Sisyphus Sisyphus was the man condemned by the gods to roll arock to the top of a mountain only to have it roll back down again For Camusthis related heavily to everyday life and he saw Sisyphus an absurd herowith a pointless existance Camus felt that it was necessary to wonder what themeaning of life was and that the human being longed for some sense of clarityin the world since if the world were clear art would not exist The Myth ofSisyphus became a prototype for existentialism in the theatre and eventuallySisyphus is the absurd hero This man sentenced to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain and then watching its descent is the epitome of the absurd hero according to Camus In retelling the Myth of Sisyphus Camus is able to create an extremely powerful image with imaginative force which sums up in an emotional sense the body of the intellectual discussion which precedes it in the book We are told that Sisyphus is the absurd hero as much through his passions as through his torture His scorn of the gods his hatred of death and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing p89 Sisyphus is conscious of his plight and therein lies the tragedy For if during the moments of descent he nourished the hope that he would yet succeed then his labour would lose its torment But Sisyphus is clearly conscious of the extent of his own misery It is this lucid recognition
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