on the void

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Senior Member
Messianic revolt occurs when the dramatist rebels against God and tries to take His place — the priest examines his image in the mirror. Social revolt occurs when the dramatist rebels against the conventions, morals, and values of the social organism — the priest turns the mirror on the audience. Existential revolt occurs when the dramatist rebels against the conditions of his existence — the priest turns the mirror on the void.
Source: The Theater of revolt An Approach to the Modern Drama by Robert Brustein

WR dictionary says:
void /vɔɪd/ adj
  • without contents; empty
  • not legally binding: null and void
  • (of an office, house, position, etc) without an incumbent; unoccupied
  • (postpositive) followed by of: destitute or devoid: void of resources
  • having no effect; useless: all his efforts were rendered void
  • (of a card suit or player) having no cards in a particular suit: his spades were void
  • an empty space or area: the huge desert voids of Asia
  • a feeling or condition of loneliness or deprivation
  • a lack of any cards in one suit: to have a void in spades
vb (mainly tr)
  • to make ineffective or invalid
  • to empty (contents, etc) or make empty of contents
  • (also intr) to discharge the contents of (the bowels or urinary bladder)
In spite of this I can not understand what "on the void" means in the above text. Would you please help me on that?

Thank you
Last edited:
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    OED gives a definition of "An unsatisfied feeling or desire." But in your example must be translated through the philosophy of existentialism[1].

    The void is therefore "a figurative vacuum in which there should exist answers to questions but nothing is found."

    [1] A futile attempt to resolve a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Such philosophy is based upon the idea that it is possible to sit in a darkened room devoid of real data and arrive at a meaningful answer.


    Senior Member
    American English
    I think I actually read that book. Brustein does get a little caught up in his metaphors.

    The general idea, not original to Brustein, is that theatre is a mirror, showing society what it really looks like. That's the second one, the "social revolt" concept. The mirror can also be turned to show the dramatist himself (the first case listed). And finally, the mirror can be turned to show nothing - the void - as in some of Beckett's plays and other Absurdist drama, in which the point is to show how empty and meaningless life really is.

    Edit: Crossposted with PaulQ.
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