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.
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.
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.
Kern, Edith. “Drama Stripped for Inaction: Beckett’s Godot.” Yale French Studies. Vol. 14. Yale University Press, 1954. 41-47. JSTOR. 22 Mar. 2004. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0044-0078%281954>.
“Many relate the play to existentialism…:God is dead, life is absurd, existence precedes essence, ennui is endemic to the human condition…In many ways, such a reading is an evasion of the play’s complexity, a way of putting to rest the uncertainty of one’s response to it” (Collins 33).
Time can feel as an illusion, something untouchable. Time can also fly by when attention is not being paid. On the contrary, waiting in life can make time feel as if it is slowly stopping. So do not waste time waiting, but act instead. Time is one of the most precious things in life and every second counts. No one can control the time, but time can control people.
While Beckett’s works are often defined by their existentialist themes, Endgame seems to offer no solution to the despair and melancholia of Hamm, Clov, Nagg, and Nell. The work is replete with overdetermination that confounds the efforts of critics and philosophers to construct a single, unified theme for the play. Beckett resisted any effort to reconcile the problems of his world, offer solutions, or quench any fears overtly. However, this surface level of understanding that aligns Beckett with the pessimism of the Modernist movement is ironically different from the symbolic understanding that Beckett promotes through his characters and the scene. Beckett’s work does not suggest total hopelessness, but rather that the fears of change, self-centeredness, and despair of Hamm and Clov contribute to their miserable existence. He opposes the Modernist attitude of focus on the subjective, internal state, and reveals the soul of the Modernist to be shallow and starving.
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'...
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.
Looking at the evidence, we can see that Beckett used many devices and ideas to guide his readers and spectators into discovering that his main idea was to show how his absurdist and irrational tragicomedy really expresses how the human life is built; he uses this to say that life is repetitive and formed by cyclical actions that leave everyone in the same place they started at the end, just like Vladimir and Estragon at the end of the play.
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.
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...
In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot two characters, Estragon and Vladmir are waiting for ‘Godot’ in which Beckett does not explain. Along with Estragon and Vlamir comes Lucky and Pozzo another two figures who add a bit of nonsense into the play to distract the reader from the real issue, waiting for Godot. Simply who or what is ‘Godot’, is the question that Beckett’s play raises. It is easy to say that Godot is a Christ figure or God, hopefully Beckett would not make it that easy. So who/what is Godot? One may say that the characters are just waiting for someone or something to make sense of the world that they are in. The characters hopelessly wait day after day for this ‘Godot’ to come, and yet it never arrives. One must look into each character to find out who it is that Godot is searching for.