Obedience and Submissiveness in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot Essay

Obedience and Submissiveness in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot Essay

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Obedience and Submissiveness in Waiting for Godot


Samuel Beckett's pessimistic attitude about the existence of man lead him to write one of the best contemporary plays known to the twentieth century. Even with its bland unchanging set, clown-like characters, and seemingly meaningless theme, Waiting for Godot, arouses the awareness of human tragedy through the characters' tragic flaws.

Charles Lyons feels, a character's attitude of the space in which he lives, shows a range of detail marking economic status, social classification, and psychology (Lyons 19). Beckett uses the character, Lucky, as a metaphor for Man. Using physical, mental, and social blemishes, Lucky exemplifies Becketts idea that universal man is a slave to his own being. First Lucky symbolizes man's slavery in a physical sense. Lucky has a master that instructs him where to go and what to do. Lucky is physically tied with a rope to his master, but in a sense is also tied to him by fear of being alone. Lucky is asked by two tramps to dance, but refuses. Lucky only dances at his master command.

Lucky is also a slave to weakness. When Lucky does finally dance, he shuffles chaotically. Ramona Cormier and Janis Pallister describe Lucky's movements as stiff and ungraceful. They believe it is because he is use to being loaded down with burdens...his body is unable to move freely (Cormier and Pallister 13). Brooks feels that age has diminished Lucky's dance to a few ineffectual, spasmodic memories of a past ritual (Brooks 294). Lucky calls his dance the net (Beckett, Act I 27).

It is ironical that Lucky does not escape the net that restricts him from being independent. The last physical characteristic of slavery that Lucky exemplifi...


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... C. "The Mythic Pattern in Waiting for Godot." Modern Drama 9 (1966/67) 292-299.

Carey, Gary, and James Roberts, eds. Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Endgame, & Other Plays. Cliffs Notes, Inc. Nebraska: 1995.

Cromier, Romona.,and Janis L. Pallister. Waiting for Death. Alabama: U of Alabama Press, 1979.

Fletcher, J. "Action and Play in Beckett's Theater." Modern Drama 9 (1966/67) 242-246.

Iser, W. "Beckett's Dramatic Language." Modern Drama 9 (1966/67) 251-259.

Lamont, Rosette. "Beckett's Metaphysics of Choiceless Awareness." Samuel Beckett Now. Ed. Melvin J. Friedman. Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1975. 199-217.

Lyons, Charles R. Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove Press, 1983.

Metman, Eva. "Reflections on Samuel Beckett's Plays." Samuel Beckett: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Martin Esslin. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1965

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