Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece, for some odd reason has captured the minds of millions of readers, artists, and critics worldwide, joining them all in an attempt to interpret the play. Beckett has told them not to read anything into his work, yet he does not stop them. Perhaps he recognizes the human quality of bringing personal experiences and such to the piece of art, and interpreting it through such colored lenses. Hundreds of theories are expounded, all of them right and none of them wrong. A play is only what you bring to it, in a subconscious connection between you and the playwright.
One popular interpretation of Waiting for Godot relates it to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as related in the New Testiment. There are significant "clues" and "evidence" to make this connection, and as the main tenant of the Existentialist movement, which grew out and of WWII experiences of not only Beckett, but all the other great Existentialists, Camus, Sartre, and Ianesco. It also developed using the writings of Hegal, Schopenhaur, and Nitchze. The main philosophy of Existentialism can be summed up in one statement - "How can one reconcile one's existence with a world devoid of order, norms, or divine guidance." Thus, there is an implied aspect of religion and the questioning there of in any Existential piece, as this is a facet of human society that helps us deal with the Existential Dilemma.
First and foremost is the title itself. Waiting for Godot. Who IS Godot?
VLADIMIR: (Softly) Has he a beard, Mr. Godot?
BOY: Yes Sir.
VLADIMIR: Fair or... (he hesitates)...or black?
BOY: I think it's white, Sir.
(p. 59 A)
Look at any portr...
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...that believe in the divinity of the self, and I believe Beckett, by this statement and others in other plays, feels that way as well. Godot will never show up. Estragon and Vladimir must find him for themselves, rather than letting him come to them. They must take action and make the world around them exist, a world with more than a dead or dying tree.
This is the Existential solution. To exist in a world devoid of reason, one must create that reason, else be doomed to endless years of waiting for enlightenment to come, which it never will, appearing only on the horizon of tomorrow's forever. Beckett is telling us to get up off our butts and exist. God isn't coming, and if you want to wait forever for him be our guest, but the rest of us are going to be human BE-ings.
Beckett, Samuel. The Complete Dramatic Works. London: Faber and Faber, 1990.
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