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Comparing Albert Camus’s The Stranger, And Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot

860 words - 4 pages

There are many similarities when reading Albert Camus’s novel, The Stranger, and Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot. It is not that they were written in French, but that they both explore the absurdity of the world and that of existence. These books are characterized as being uneventful and morbid, but they carry significant messages beneath the plot and dialogue. Life is the passing of time, ultimately finalized by death. People want to assign meaning to their lives, a useless desire that takes its toll on all. But the only truth is in how an individual fulfills his or her own void. In regards to existence, people must follow their own convictions and decisions for fulfillment. In both The Stranger and Waiting for Godot, the authors reveal life’s unpredictability and the cruel indifference of humanity. In The Stranger, Meursault is an indifferent character who remains perfectly composed during life’s endless tribulations. In Waiting for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon wastefully pass time waiting for Godot, a man who might never come. Although Camus and Beckett deliver a very somber view on humanity, their characters reinstate themselves as committed and genuine individuals.
A major discrepancy between the novel and the play is that Vladimir and Estragon believe and want salvation from God, while Meursault outwardly rejects it. Not much goes on in Waiting for Godot, the play is focused on two men waiting for Godot, a man they neither know, seen, or ever met. The play is mostly dialogue between Estragon and Vladimir, who are almost unaware of their own existence. Their wait for Godot can be seen as waiting for salvation from God. As they wait for Godot Vladimir explains to Estragon, “ What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come--” (Beckett Act 2,52). While Estragon and Vladimir live only to see Godot, Meursault rejects the minister’s prays to save his soul. As Vladimir and Estragon wait for their God, it becomes evident that waiting for fifty years and doing nothing worth while with that time is a sin in itself. Vladimir and Estragon wasted their entire life for this pointless endeavor, while Meursault chooses to live the most carefree and spontaneous life: smoking, swimming in the mediteranean, drinking, and having casual sex. On the other hand, Vladimir and Estragon contemplate hanging themselves repeatedly throughout the play. When...

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