Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot: Existentialism and The Theatre of the Absurd

Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot: Existentialism and The Theatre of the Absurd

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Every person is responsible for themselves. In society, people are responsible for their actions; good deeds will accede to rewards while bad deeds will lead to demerits. Humans live in a world where they are told what to do and how to do it, and faced with what is considered right and what is seen as wrong, but at the end of the day, humans have the freewill to do as they please and make their own choices, which leads them to being responsible for those actions. Everyday, humans are faced with these choices and decisions to make only to know deep down inside that they will either have positive or negative reactions to their choices, and it is this key idea that led to a specific philosophical concept in the 19th century, existentialism. This philosophy can clearly be seen in everyday life as well as in theatrical movements in the past and present. By examining the works of Samuel Beckett, evidence of existential thinking will be brought forward proving the progress of this philosophical movement. It will illustrate how existentialism has influenced Beckett, especially through his play, Waiting for Godot.

The Theatre of the Absurd is another theatrical concept being examined proving that Samuel Beckett integrated the philosophy into his works through the Theatre of the Absurd. Whether or not Beckett justified existentialism or remodelled the theory, especially through the expression of “existence precedes essence”, will also be examined which will eventually lead to the result of whether this philosophical concept was seen as only a movement through a specific time, or a daily life exercise. Through the examination of existentialism and the idea of "existence precedes essence", it can be proved that this movement is still prog...


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...amined and quoted, by different philosophical movements and theories, yet Existentialism is one concept that can always be evident in Beckett’s play. The Theatre of the Absurd will always be associated with Existentialism as they both revolve around the human conditions and meaning (or lack there of) of life. In today’s time, it doesn’t really matter if you believe in the existence of God, or whether or not you understand and accept the meaning of life, but the overall concept of Existentialism is apparent in everyone’s life. People are responsible for what they make of their life every action has their consequence, and we exist first and it is our own purpose to give our own life meaning and become our own person.





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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