write a comparative, analytical paper on Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.” Address a specific aspect of the umbrella topic suggested below by coming up with a clear, concise, and original argument.
At the beginning of the semester, we turned to the Ancient Greek tradition of drama and defined comedy as a story that ends with the protagonist finding his/her place in society (happy ending) as opposed to tragedy, wherein the protagonist loses his/her place in the world (tragic ending). Structurally, this binary formulation has been the basis for western literature as well. With modernity, and especially in the 20th century, the human condition can no longer be represented through these clear-cut binaries. Instead, we see the emergence of new sub-genres like the ‘tragicomedy’ and new forms of humor like ‘dark humor.’
Keeping in mind our discussions of these terms, in what ways do Beckett’s and Vonnegut’s works present the human condition as comical? To what extent does Martin Esslin’s quotation, “The highest form of laughter is the laughter about human unhappiness” hold true for Waiting for Godot and “Harrison Bergeron?” How is comedy an effective medium in dealing with existential questions in these works?
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