Freedom to Choose in Waiting for Godot, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Iraq

1484 Words3 Pages

Praises resound around the world everyday in admiration of man's magnificent creation, technology. Scientific progress has been hailed the number one priority of man, while the development of society itself has been cast aside like an old beta vcr. When surrounded by a constant herd of machinery, finding purpose in life is often overshadowed by a desire to continually generate new scientific inventions. In the post-war classics Waiting for Godot and Slaughterhouse Five, the authors rally for meaning within the chaos of technology and stress the importance of "a possibility of choice"(Sartre 339). In addition to improved technology, Vonnegut and Beckett emphasize that members of society need to attach significance to their lives through the use of free will.

Through his dramatic contribution to the "theater of the absurd," Samuel Beckett

abandoned the conventions of the classical play to concentrate on his important message to humanity. Using his pathetic characters, Estragon and Vladimir, Beckett illustrates the importance of human free will in a land ruled by science and technology. He understood the terrors of progress as he witnessed first hand the destruction caused by technologically-improved weapons working as a spy during WWII. In his tragicomedy, Estragon and Vladimir spend the entire time futilely waiting for Godot to arrive. They believe that this mysterious Godot will help them solve their problems and merely sit and wait for their solution to arrive. Beckett utilizes these characters to warn the reader of the dangers of depending on fate and others to improve one's existence. He supports this idea when Estragon blames his boots and not himself for the pain in his feet, and Vladimir responds, "There'...

... middle of paper ... with their own actions. Vonnegut begs man to resist the power of weaponry and invention and take control of his destiny using Billy Pilgrim as a chilling reminder of the dangers of apathy. In accordance with Vonnegut's opinion, Beckett affirms the value of free will through his absurdist drama and illustrates the consequences of allowing oneself to get lost in the confusion of a technologically-savvy war. Although society often deems technology and science to be the most important virtues, one must remember to maintain his free will amidst the cloud of steel.

Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, 1954.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. “Existentialism is Humanism.” Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre. Ed. Walter Kaufman. Meridian Publishing

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell Publishing, 1968.

Open Document