Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot. Review Discussing Absurdist Techniques Employed To Create An Existentialist World.

1715 words - 7 pages

Silence, anticipation, dangerous cycles of repetition, intangible mysteries, unanswerable questions; are all techniques used by Samuel Beckett in his play "Waiting for Godot" to create a tense world of existentialism into which the reader is thrust. "Waiting for Godot" is a two act play about two vagrants living in extreme poverty in a barren landscape. Devoid of social skills and devoid of independence they find solstice in each other being both amused and disgusted by one another's company. Their life is meaningless with the exception of one diminutive task: Waiting for Godot, a mysterious stranger who, though much anticipated, never appears. The only people who do arrive are Pozzo and Lucky a master and his mistreated slave. Beckett wrote this play in reference to the limbo between WW1 and WW2. A time of totalitarian armies of German and Russian Solders, the holocaust, dislocation of belief, National socialism and loss of innocence. People were treated as cannon fodder and individuals meant nothing, they were simply disenfranchised from their own futures. In the midst of this was the overshadowing fear of impending nuclear warfare; It's as though the people were simply 'waiting' for death. In response to this rose the Absurdists. They were the dramatic version of Dadaists and they sought to make fun of the terror and to challenge the audience. Beckett was an Irishman therefore subjugated by the English. This shared oppression gave him a broad audience across Europe. Other Absurdist playwrights arose out of this time such as Ionesco, Camus and Sartre. Absurdists believed that the world was out of harmony with nature, reason and propriety and therefore 'absurd' (class notes), many also adhered to the existentialist philosophy which stated that despite ones ability to doubt all existence it is impossible to disregard the existence of the thinking conscience. Existentialism seeks to know the meaning of existence whilst criticizing life for its apparent absurdity.Beckett develops the theme of Quality of Existence by using tension of task and tension of relationship (dilemma). He weaves his characters a poverty stricken environment in which they are awkwardly bound to depravation, each other and worst of all to themselves. He fills each character with contradicting philosophies that force them to choose between their pessimistic existentialist ramblings, their false pride and their basic morals inherent to all humanity. Whilst Pozzo plots what to 'gift' his two new comrades Estragon and Vladimir (torn by contrasting morals) argue about the acceptance of his charity.Estragon:Even ten francs would be welcomeVladimir:We are not beggars!Estragon:Even fiveVladimir:(to estragon indignantly) That's enough!(Line 8 Page 38)Vehement environmental factors such as sleeping in ditches and being beaten by bullies are endured with acceptance by the characters Didi and Gogo who are consequently stripped of all ability to behave morally.Estragon:In a...

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