Philosophically, alienation refers to a imminent sense of estrangement and exile, a concept clearly illustrated in Camus' Stranger. In modern theatre, alienation also refers a technique used in many absurd dramas. In order to alienate the audience, the playwright typically uses language as a barrier to communication. Language becomes confusing; logic becomes circular. In these plays, the world is depicted as overwhelmingly incomprehensible and opaque; the characters are never able to achieve true understanding. Stoppard exercises many of these techniques in his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Part of the duo's comedy is their verbal play. Evasion is the very object of the game "Questions". Although they are talking to one another, nothing is being said; no communication is being achieved. Stoppard also builds on the motif of how incomprehensible the world is through the character of Guildenstern. Guildenstern constantly seeks to understand the world around him. He wants to know how it is possible for a coin to land almost a hundred times in a row heads up. He wants to know what is in the letter they have been sent. And finally, when they discover that death is inevitable, Guildenstern is enraged primarily because they have been told so little throughout the process. The goal of alienation is to remove the illusions of purpose and meaning infused into people's daily existence so that the audience gets a sense of their true existential condition.


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