Man's Search for Meaning in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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Beckett was interested in putting everyday banality onto the stage in an experimentation of what theatre is. He attempts to provide a truer interpretation of ‘real life’ than that often depicted in previous theatre, which may typically contain excitement, exaggeration and liveliness. He suggests that one of the major constituents of human experience is boredom, indeed the very concept of ‘Waiting for Godot’ echoes this, and Beckett implies that much of life is spent waiting for something. The play is therefore a means of undergoing the difficult task of dramatising boredom. Routine and repetitiveness are apparent throughout the play and are key to creating the world of Vladimir and Estragon. This is reflected by the characters often having very similar arguments or discussion, such as frequent talk about committing suicide; or the concept that the two Acts, which make up the play merely appear to be repetitions of one another. Indeed ‘Waiting for Godot’ has been described as a play where “Nothing happens, twice”. Beckett’s struggle to make sense of things is evident in the combination of his characters acceptance that life may be meaningless, and their continuous questioning and search for meaning. The major refrain of the play, “nothing to be done”, first arises when Vladimir cannot find anything in his hat. It is suggestive of a domestic, banal failure but also implies an acceptance and resignation over such a failure. The disappointment felt when there is nothing inside Estragon’s boot evokes the idea of futility. Similarly the refrain implies that there is literally nothing for the characters to do and thus has associatio... ... middle of paper ... ...ly a serious survival tactic. This leads to the idea that friendship is fundamental for people to deal with the harshness of life and its nonsensicality at a time where people have become less religious. The literal concept of ‘waiting for Godot’ is important in creating meaning in Beckett’s world. In Act II Estragon says, “We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?” this echoes Beckett’s use of ‘Godot’ as a metaphor for something that we all need - a search to give people a sense of narrative and purpose. The sense of meaning that comes in humanity’s reluctance to give in, contrasts with the concept that it is a repetitive and inescapable routine. 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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