Comparative Study Of Endgame And The Sultan's Dilemma

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Comparative Study of Endgame and the Sultan's Dilemma


The paper focuses on the two comparative texts. These texts are 'The Sultan's Dilemma (1960)' and 'Endgame (1957)'. In the first section of the discussion the work of the author of the play 'The Sultan's Dilemma' is analyzed and the main text of the book is examined. However, in the second section of the discussion the book 'Endgame' is critically examined.


The Sultan's Dilemma

Although Tawfiq al-Hakim's dramatic imagination ranged across at least three millennia of human experience, touching down at particularly evocative points along the way, some generalizations may be made about common features in much of his work. Characterization has been important, but something less than a vital issue in his efforts; for that matter some leading personages have been typecast as abstract categories, such as war and peace, while others have been significant not for their intrinsic qualities but as participants in seemingly irrational situations. Characters in the plays based on medieval themes might possibly be interchanged with others from similar works. The domestic dramas also feature some stock types who seem to appear under various names in works of this kind. The author never claimed to have developed a florid, polished style indeed, he purposely avoided such tendencies and his dialogue has a crisp, staccato ring that often serves to heighten dramatic tension. There are, in many of his works, series of exclamations and interjections that, particularly in the absurdist dramas, merge with scenes taken up mainly with the exchange of questions. Even the most carefully constructed plays have been meant as much for the reader as for the theater audience (Badawi, p.53).

The drama of al-Hakim displays a remarkable diversity of outlook, and his breadth of vision inspires respect mingled slightly with awe. His cosmopolitan standpoint, coupled with his relentless quest for the new and untried, was in evidence across the span of his career. He was extraordinarily prolific; one recent count yielded eighty-four titles of dramatic works that he has composed, quite apart from his writings in other genres. His plays have been set in historical periods from the times of King Solomon of the Old Testament, through the age of classical Greek drama, across early and medieval periods of Islamic history, on to modern times in Egypt, and beyond, into the space age. He depicted the rustic peasant landscapes of his native country, the courts of great monarchs from the past, and the cosmic scenery of new worlds to come. It may well be argued that his work is uneven, both in its technical execution and where depth of characterization is involved (Long, p.52). It would seem that his penchant for the unexpected and the unusual at times may have affected the direction of his dramatic efforts; any facile attempt to devise categories for his works is doomed to frustration. Nevertheless, although even a chronological approach would be subject to anomalies and overlapping impulses may be observed in many areas, there are some broad elements of thematic continuity that ...