Václav Havel was described as “Arthur Miller and Nelson Mandela rolled into one”.
His plays present tragicomic characters in worlds devoid of meaning, where language has been corrupted and where Kafkaesque bureaucracies loom over the characters’ lives and destroy those who do not conform. In his essays and through his civic actions, on the other hand, he sought meaningful answers to the questions of identity, language, and power with which his plays confront the viewer. The circumstances of Havel’s life provide a perfect foregrounding for an absurdist playwright. From the privileged child of an upper-class democrat family, to stigmatized “bourgeois” class enemy, to soldier, to successful playwright, to dissident, to political prisoner, to revolutionary, to president of his
Citation: Christensen, Andrew G.. "Václav Havel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 October 2007; last revised 17 January 2012. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=11839, accessed 03 December 2023.]