Now we will explore the world of one of Beckett’s most famous play from the “Theater of the Absurd”, Waiting for Godot. The play is seen by many as meaningless and irrational, however it contains inner symbols and ideas that Beckett had on life and religion.
The play “Waiting for Godot” has all the traits of existentialism both Vladimir and Estragon represent the man in general who is facing the problems of his existence in this world. They are interdependent like all other man. Hope for salvation is the subject of play and is the problem faced by the whole human race. Representing the man in general, the two tramps realize the futility of their exercise and we note that they are merely filling up the hours with the pointless activity. Hence their ‘waiting’ is mechanical and deals with problem of existentialism.
I will look at what I have determined to be the three most predominant interpretations of the play, including anti-Christianity, existentialism, and nihilism. By also examining Beckett’s life and influences, I believe that a well-rounded set of possibilities will be presented. Finally, I will use sources to work my own argument. I believe this play is inherently about nothing, and that it is us as readers that over-complicate it. Because we search for meaning in everything, Waiting for Godot has to mean something, otherwise it does not fit into what we find comfortable or acceptable. I will start by delving into Samuel Beckett’s background.
Throughout literature, much has been assumed and gathered about the state of man and his purpose in life. Different poets, novelists, and playwrights have employed the powerful tools of language to broadcast their respective statement to the literate world. Many authors stand out for their overly romanticized or horribly pessimistic notations on life, but only Samuel Beckett stands out for his portrayal of absence. As Democritus, a Greek philosopher, noted, "nothing is more real than nothing," a quote which became one of Beckett's favorites and an inspiration for his masterful plays (Hughes 1). Beckett's works have astounded many through their utter divergence from the typical basis of a play. His blatant discount for the traditional concepts of character development, setting, time, and sequence of events distinguish Beckett's plays from a myriad of themed dramas. Because of such breaks from the standard, the message of Beckett's plays rings clearly. In his ground breaking play Waiting for Godot, Beckett describes two men, Estragon and Vladimir, who come to a rock and a tree beside a road and wait for an unknown "Godot" in vain day after day, idly making frivolous conversation and casually meeting another pair of characters, Pozzo and Lucky, who pass by daily. His follow up play, Endgame, creates a similar scenario with a blind, chair-bound man, Hamm, and his servantile friend, Clov, stuck in a room characterized only by two high windows and two ashbins housing Hamm's parents, Nagg and Nell. Such unusual plays portray the American Theatre of the Absurd perfectly. In both Waiting for Godot and Endgame, Samuel Beckett expertly incorporates nonconformist setting and dual chara...
A basic human drive that appears in “Waiting for Godot” includes one of exisiting. After the men wait for Godot, which whom is never going to show up, they go through the same experiences over and over. They ask the same people about the same things and stay in the same spot the entire time. It is giving the readers an example of existence. The men need to discover the meaning of life through their own personal experiences throughout the world instead of waiting around and hoping for answers.
The absurdist plays Waiting for Godot written by Samuel Beckett and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead written by Tom Stoppard both incorporate human needs and concerns within their context through its whimsical and comedic dialogues. Both plays belong in the category of the theatre of the absurd, where the existentialist philosophy underlies all aspects of the plays. The central characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead share a deep friendship, this same friendship can also be seen within the relationship between Vladimir and Estragon who are the protagonists in Waiting for Godot. Beckett and Stoppard playfully express friendship and camaraderie throughout their plays, while both sets of characters delve deeper into human needs as it illustrates the dependency for one another that each character relies on .
Distortion presents exaggerated and absurd portraits of the human condition. Distortion also equips an author with a plane of existence that provides an avenue for posing questions concerning the nature of thought, behavior, and existence. Samuel Beckett distorts reality in his play Waiting For Godot; this literary effect enables him to question human life and a possible afterlife.
Humans spend their lives searching and creating meaning to their lives, Beckett, however, takes a stand against this way of living in his novel ‘Waiting for Godot’. He questions this ideal of wasting our lives by searching for a reason for our existence when there is not one to find. In his play, he showcases this ideology through a simplistic and absence of setting and repetitious dialogue. Beckett’s ability to use these key features are imperative to his ability of conveying his message of human entrapment and existence.
The theme of futility is further reflected in the cyclical nature of the dialogue in the sense that nothing appears to change and everything is simply repeated, their conversation never reached a definitive conclusion they are ultimately still ‘waiting for Godot’ and longing for answers. The concept of time is used very successfully by Beckett in order to highlight and develop the theme of futility in ‘Waiting for Godot.’ Time can be seen as a very fluid concept in the sense that the audience is never made aware of how l...
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot has been said by many people to be a long book about nothing. The two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, spend all their time sitting by a tree waiting for someone named Godot, whose identity is never revealed to the audience. It may sound pretty dull at first but by looking closely at the book, it becomes apparent that there is more than originally meets the eye. Waiting for Godot was written to be a critical allegory of religious faith, relaying that it is a natural necessity for people to have faith, but faiths such as Catholicism are misleading and corrupt.
We live on a planet revolving around the sun, while there are at least about one septillion other stars in this universe. What is the significance of our existence in this infinite cosmos? What is the purpose of our lives? With the explosion of scientific knowledge and the WWII bombs in the modernity epoch, the insignificance of our lives was realized; Samuel Becket staged the futility of human existence in the play Waiting for Godot. He portrayed nothingness through the use of structure, language, dialogue, and setting. He further demonstrated that the lives of the two characters Vladimir and Estragon takes meaning when they wait for the ambiguous Godot. In order to be relieved from the crippling question of existence, they occupy themselves with meaningless activities. Due to the lack of a plot in Waiting for Godot, one can deduce that perhaps Beckett is referring to the futility of human existence in general.
The problem with designating Beckett's work as Absurdist is, precisely, that this interpretation reduces his work. When a critic describes a work as "Absurd," she does not simply mean that the work is "outrageous" or "nonsensical" or merely silly. Coined by American critic Martin Esslin, the term "theater of the Absurd" can be defined as a kind of drama that presents a view of the absurdity of the human condition by the abandoning of usual or rational devices and by the use of nonrealistic form....Conceived in perplexity and spiritual anguish, the theater of the absurd portrays not a series of connected incidents telling a story but a pattern of images presenting people as bewildered beings in an incomprehensible universe. (Holman 2)
Samuel Beckett’s most popular absurdist drama, Waiting for Godot, is one of those dramas which critics point while discussing about the theatre of absurd. Waiting for Godot was written and first performed in the year 1954. Waiting for Godot is amongst those drams which had an enormous effect on the audiences due to its strange and new conventions. The drama has challenged the audiences to make sense of a world which is unintelligible. The heart of the play is basically “getting through the day” which means that when tomorrow comes we have the strength to continue with full enthusiasm.
The theme of the play Waiting for Godot is better interpreted after considering the background of the time it was written. Beckett reflected the prevailing mindset and conditions of the people living after World War II into this story of Vladimir and Estragon, both waiting hopelessly for a mysterious 'Godot', who seems to hold their future and their life in his hands. Beckett himself was...
Estragon and Vladimir poetically talk about "all the dead voices" they hear. They are haunted by voices in the sounds of nature, especially of the leaves rustling. Vladimir shouts at Estragon to help him not hear the voices anymore. Estragon tries and finally decides that they should ask each other questions. They manage to talk for a short while.