Waiting for God A Masterpiece of Samuel Beckett

Waiting for God A Masterpiece of Samuel Beckett

 Prof. Asghar Ali Ansari

                                                                                      School of Languages, Literature &Society

                                                                               Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India

Samuel Beckett was one of the greatest Anglo-Irish novelists and playwrights. He was born in Dublin in 1906 but later on he shifted to France. He wrote both in French and English. For his literary works Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1969. Waiting for Godot was originally written in French language, “En attendant Godot”, “A tragicomedy in two acts.” Later on it was translated into English entitled “Waiting for Godot”. In this blog we will discuss the play, Waiting for Godot.

The play , Waiting for Godot is about two men –Vladimir and Estragon—who are waiting for another man called Godot. The play, Waiting for Godot is about the meaning of life and the absurdity of existence. The main themes of this play are existentialism, the passing of time and suffering of the human beings.

The two characters are engaged in a variety of discussion and encounter while awaiting the titular Godot who never arrives. Vladimir and Godot are waiting for Godot for a long time. But they do not know why they are waiting for Godot and moreover they even do not know who is Godot and when will he come? This shows the uncertainty of human beings. Our life is meaningless. We do not know the aim of our life. Like Vladimir and Estragon we are just struggling in life but for what we are struggling is not clear to us.

In this play, the main concerns are waiting and Godot which are ever puzzling. Throughout their lives human beings always wait for something and Godot simply represents the object of their waiting—an event, a thing, a person, death. In this play Beckett has depicted a situation that has a great human application.

Nihilism is one of the major themes of Waiting for Godot. The whole play is based on the philosophy, “nothing to be done” and “nothing to do”. The life of modern people is barren like that of the tree in Act I. They struggle to find the ways to pass the time. To pass the time very difficult for us because we have nothing to do in this world. Our life is without aim. We are in this world but we do not know why we are here. Thus we see that in this play the playwright shows that the human beings in this world are full of physical, mental and emotional suffering. In the play, Vladimir and Estragon are starved for food in physical pain and emotional suffering.

The play is full of symbols. From those symbols we find out some meaning of the play. Here Godot symbolizes the salvation that religion promises, but which never comes just as Godot never actually comes to Vladimir and Estragon. In fact they are waiting for salvation from God which can remove all their suffering as the religion promises us. But it proves to be false. They have been waiting for a long time but neither they see God nor they get salvation. Thus we see that the play, waiting for Godot is also an attack on religion for its orthodoxy.

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