Albert Camus' The Stranger and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

Albert Camus' The Stranger and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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Albert Camus' The Stranger and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot


      Many differences and similarities are found between Albert Camus'

novel, The Stranger, and Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot. The

characters in each story is very different from their society and at the

same time, thy are very similar to each other.  To

understand in what ways they are similar, there must be and understanding

of how they are different from the society in which they live in.

      First of all, the major difference from the novel and the play is

their desire for God's salvation.  Recall when Meursault was in jail, he

did not want the magistrate to pray for God to save his soul unlike

Vladimir and Estagon, who waits many years for their god.  They both live

their life for one reason:  to wait for Godot.  However, to wait for

someone who is not going to come is just as pointless as not doing anything

at all, just like Meursault who lives his life at the spur of the moment.

Neither of them makes important goals in their lives.  Meursault can care

less about his promotion and Vladimir and Estragon could have done

something worth while with the last fifty years of their lives.  Because of

this, they found ways of passing time.  Vladimir and Estragon tries hanging

themselves and call each other names while Meursault goes smoking, drinking

with Raymond, listen to Salamando and have casual sex all because they do

not have anything else to do.  They all feel their very existence is

insignificant.  Whether they live or died would not change anything.  One

life is as good as another.

      Vladimir and Estragon's expression of their emotions contrast to

Meursault's lack of emotions.  After Vladimir and Estragon fight,  they

resolve their disputes by embracing each other.  Meursault's honesty

prevents him from showing any emotions that he does not have.  These ways

of expressing their emotions reveals their views of life.  Meursault knows

who he is in life but is just indifferent to it.  He did not care if

everybody thought he was strange or his associates is a pimp.  However,

Vladimir and Estragon does not know who they are in life.   To wait for

someone who is not coming is pointless.

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  They assume a role that their

"Godot" would give to them without living their own life.

        Although Vladimir and Estragon seems lifeless, they do possess some

emotion that are a sign of life.  Their abuse of one another shows their

impotence and dependency to each other just like any human being is

dependent on someone else such as their parents.  They  would not hang

themselves unless they both are able to do so.  Meursault does not have any

close relationship in which he is dependent on someone else.  They all have

desires such as death, meeting Godot, sex, and swimming in the beach but

Meursault do not show much emotions to someone else.  Even when ask about

marriage, he still does not reply with any enthusiasm or dismay, just the

answer. This independence is an example of how he is disconnected to others.

 It reveals his pessimistic views of life compared to Vladimirs' and


      Vladimir's thought of Pozzo at first was that he was inhumane

because of the way he treats Lucky but later sways and thinks of him as a

great man.  This demonstrates how weakly he validates his opinions and how

foolish he is to be easily persuaded.  In contrast,  Meursault was the

total opposite.  He did not cry during his mother's funeral because that

was expected of him nor did he change his lifestyle because society wants

him to, and because he validates his beliefs strongly, he had to pay it

with his life.

      Near the end in which Meursault is abut to die, he states that he

is ready to live.  This freedom from condemnation by society through death

contrasts Vladimir's and Estragon's freedom to break free from their cycle.

They can very easily break free from the cycle just by walking away but yet

do not.  This suggest an impotence in human beings.  Vladimir realize that

he is part of an ongoing cycle.  He say "let's go" but instead they sit and

do nothing.  The quotation "nothing to be done" can apply to both the novel

and the play because neither of them did anything apart from their routines.

They  all are very subtle to change.

        There are many existential themes incorporated into the novel and

play.  The question of how these people live their meaningless life is

still being ask today, but who determines how they should live their lives?

To better answer the question, there must be a better understanding of

their views and compare them other views.
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