Futility in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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Beckett explores the theme of futility in an attempt to leave the audience with questions about the meaning of life. The techniques and ways in which he does this vary in relation to the scene but he relies heavily on the use of philosophical and emotive language and a shocking way to intellectually and emotionally engage the audience. All characters that Beckett features in his play are used as literary constructs in creating the tone and setting in which to develop and examine the theme of futility. The theme of futility is linked to the philosophy of Nihilism and grounded in the belief that our universe is stochastic, and therefore structure-less. If life has no structure or coherent meaning it can ultimately be seen as futile. Beckett explores the theme of futility throughout the text in numerous ways. The theme of futility is immediately brought to the forefront in the beginning of the scene through stage directions concerning Estragon’s struggle with his boot. Diction such as ‘he gives up, tries again… as before’ immediately set the tone of the futility of both his actions and the situation. This is further reflected in the setting of the play and the apparent bareness of their surroundings. 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... ... middle of paper ... ...above. Whilst numerous techniques are employed in order to develop and influence the audiences understanding and perception of themes he deems important perhaps the most significant tool, which Beckett utilizes, is the motifs and certain characterization. The play can be considered highly minimalist and therefore the dynamics that exist between the characters are essential in order to demonstrate and explore the theme of futility. Ultimately, the theme of futility and the effect it has on relationships and attitudes can be considered the most significant and widely explored by Beckett. Conclusively, futility is greatly involved in the play and Beckett explores it through methods I have explored in this essay. Works Cited Beckett, Samuel. Waiting For Godot. 3rd ed. N.p.: CPI Group, 2006. Print. Vol. 1 of Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works. 4 vols
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