Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: The Theatre of the Absurd

Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: The Theatre of the Absurd

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The absurdist plays Waiting for Godot written by Samuel Beckett and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead written by Tom Stoppard both incorporate human needs and concerns within their context through its whimsical and comedic dialogues. Both plays belong in the category of the theatre of the absurd, where the existentialist philosophy underlies all aspects of the plays. The central characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead share a deep friendship, this same friendship can also be seen within the relationship between Vladimir and Estragon who are the protagonists in Waiting for Godot. Beckett and Stoppard playfully express friendship and camaraderie throughout their plays, while both sets of characters delve deeper into human needs as it illustrates the dependency for one another that each character relies on .
Dependency can be easily seen within Waiting for Godot as the two protagonists Vladimir and Estragon are within each other’s company throughout the play. When Estragon attempts to sleep as the duo waits for Godot, he has a nightmare and Vladimir runs to help him. In effort to comfort Estragon, who was going into hysterics, Vladimir says, “There…there…Didi is there…don’t be afraid…There…there…it’s all over…” (Beckett 79). This interaction between them expounds on Estragon’s reliance on Vladimir. Estragon has a more fragile mental physique then Vladimir and needs Vladimir’s reassurance in order to know his dream was not reality. On the other hand, Vladimir would have a sunny disposition without Estragon, as Estragon is the friend he relies on for his own mental health as Estragon is the anchor that holds Vladimir to society and life. The two often quarrel in verbal exchanges howeve...


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...r Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead are absurdist dramas, they correlate around a pair of friends who are comedic in both their actions and their dialogue. Stoppard’s set of characters depend on each other as much as Beckett’s ensemble. The dependency theme may be overlooked when first reading both plays, in order to find this underlying theme, a deeper analysis is required to produce a more clear understanding of Rosencrantz’s reliance on Guildenstern or Estragon’s reliance on Vladimir or vice-versa. The protagonists depict a friendly relationship, with an underlying theme of dependency, which is shown in humanity and is a trait present in society.


Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot : tragicomedy in 2 acts. New York: Grove Press, 1982. Print.

Stoppard, Tom. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. New York: Grove Press, 1967. Print.

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