Existentialist Reflection In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot

1053 words - 5 pages

- What you waiting for?
-I'm waiting for Godot
This little dialogue sums up this piece of Nobel prize winning author Samuel Beckett's most popular absurdist play, Waiting For Godot, which is one of the first examples of Theatre of the Absurd. It begins with two lonely tramps on a roadside who are awaiting the arrival of a figure referred to as Godot and ends with the same scene. The sheer emptiness and randomness of the plot causes the audience (or the reader) to wonder if anything is going to happen, and whether there is any meaning in anything in the play – or in life. With this inaction and absurdity of main characters’ behaviour, Samuel Beckett promotes existentialists’ biggest ...view middle of the document...

Estragon’s suggestion that he and Vladimir make their own way now, before it is too late, is what represents the philosophy of existentialism: Estragon does not want to wait for the Godot, who may be interpreted as the supernatural, to find the answers to life’s vital questions, rather than that he relies on his own, human possibilities and experiences. The existential philosophy of human experience in the physical world is what Estragon seeks in his desire to leave for “inspiring prospects,” and the common human tendency to wait on religion to offer answers is inherent in Vladimir’s suggestion that they should stay and wait so that they can be enlightened by Godot. What is more, Vladimir blindly relies on Godot’s arrival, and has made the choice to wait, even though, as he says, "He didn't say for sure he'd come”, which can be read as the critique of religion, after all religions rely solely on faith as there is no, and there probably never will be, a scientifical proof of God’s existence. What Beckett is trying to convey through this play is that all of humanity may be wasting their lives in inaction - waiting for the salvation of a deity, when that divine being may not even exist.

Structurally, Waiting for Godot is a two-act play which is primarily cyclical, not only because its entire plot can be summarized by the title, but it ends and begins with almost the same scene, and dialagous. Had it not been for the external characters such as Pozzo, Lucky, and the boy, or for the changes of the leaves, one might think that the play’s time structure would be better represented by a point rather than a circle, as the time wouldn’t seem to pass. Many critics have concluded that Act Two is simply a repeat of Act One. In other words, Vladimir and Estragon may forever be "waiting for Godot." We are never given a full answer why are they waiting for him or who Godot is. Anthony Jenkins writes, "there can be no answers; Godot may or may not exist and may or may...

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