Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist Play Essay

Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist Play Essay

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Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist Play


          The play, Waiting For Godot, is centred around two men, Estragon and Vladimir, who are waiting for a Mr. Godot, of whom they know little. Estragon admits himself that he may never recognize Mr. Godot, "Personally I wouldn't know him if I ever saw him." (p.23). Estragon also remarks, "… we hardly know him." (p.23), which illustrates to an audience that the identity of Mr. Godot is irrelevant, as little information is ever given throughout the play about this indefinable Mr. X. What is an important element of the play is the act of waiting for someone or something that never arrives. Western readers may find it natural to speculate on the identity of Godot because of their inordinate need to find answers to questions. Beckett however suggests that the identity of Godot is in itself a rhetorical question. It is possible to stress the for in the waiting for …: to see the purpose of action in two men with a mission, not to be deflected from their compulsive task.

" Estragon: … Let's go.

Vladimir: We can't.

Estragon: Why not?

Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot." (p.14).

The essence of existentialism concentrates on the concept of the individual's freedom of choice, as opposed to the belief that humans are controlled by a pre-existing omnipotent being, such as God. Estragon and Vladimir have made the choice of waiting, without instruction or guidance, as Vladimir says, "He didn't say for sure he'd come" (p.14), but decides to "wait till we know exactly how we stand" (p.18).

Albert Camus, an existentialist writer, believed that boredom or waiting, which is essentially the breakdown of routine or habit, caused people to think seriously about their identity,...


... middle of paper ...


...h other or from their situation in general. The optimistic view of the play shows a range of human emotion and the need to share experiences alongside the suffering of finite existence; governed by the past, acting in the present and uncertain of the future.

Works Cited and Consulted

Alvarez, A. Samuel Beckett. New York: Viking, 1973.

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts. New York: Grove, 1953.

ClassicNote.com by GradeSaver. J. N. Smith. Aug. 1999. Web. 27 March 2015 Gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/WaitingForGodot/Analysis.html

Graver, Lawrence. Waiting for Godot. 5th ed. New York: U of Cambridge P, 1999.

Hugh Kenner, A Readers Guide to Samuel Beckett, London 1973.

http://www.britannica.com/eb/print?tocId=9014042

Wikipedia. Waiting for Godot. Web. 27 March 2015
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_for_Godot

 

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