Regina V. Zinoveva
Baltic Federal University
Archetypical images of a child and a cultural hero in the playwrights of Edward Franklin Albee and Sławomir Mrożek in the light of the generational problem
Zinoveva R.V. Archetypical images of a child and a cultural hero in the playwrights of Edward Franklin Albee and Sławomir Mrożek in the light of the generational problem. Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2021, vol. 27, № 1, pp. 122-128 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2021-27-1-122-128
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2021-27-1-122-128
УДК: 821(73).09«20»:792
Publish date: 2021-02-12
Annotation: The article examines the place of archetypal images of a child and a cultural hero in the ideological and imaginative system of theatre of the absurd of Edward Franklin Albee and Sławomir Mrożek. It is stated that in Albee’s dramas ("The Sandpbox", "The American Dream", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", "A Delicate Balance") and Mrożek’s dramas ("Tango", "A Happy Event", "Racket-Baby") the archetypal images of a divine and demonic ("unruly") child, outlined in Carl Gustav Jung's psychoanalytic philosophy, enter into ambivalent relations. The thanatological motifs which accompany this archetypal duality testify to the distorted image of the future in the consciousness of twentieth-century human, so that the image of a child in the drama of the absurd becomes a reflection of the general process of dehumanisation in modern society as well as in the family. The archetype of the cultural hero, according to the world mythological tradition, embodies the ideas of individuation and transformation of a child growing into adulthood. However, through the presentation of grotesque and parodic images of children and young men in the work of playwrights, the understanding of the child archetype as a potential cultural hero does not include the idea of civilisational progress as the "futureness" of the world, but rather reflects the eschatological scenario of the world history. The problem of family relations, which captures the generational conflict in its carnivalised version (the inverted relations between the "older" and the "younger"), is an indicator of the social absurdity represented in the plays. The comparative analysis of the plays in the light of the ambivalent archetype of "divine child" – "unruly child" contributes to the identification of national and socio-cultural specificity of the conflict of "fathers and sons". It is concluded that the collective experience of the generation to which Albee and Mrożek belonged to determines the pessimistic vision of the future by both playwrights.
Keywords: Edward Franklin Albee, Sławomir Mrożek, archetype, child, cultural hero, generation, conflict, carnival, absurd
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Author's info: Regina V. Zinoveva, Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, regina46@list.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1875-0729