College papers academic writing service


The flickering illusion of faith in waiting for godot an absurdist play by samuel beckett

It is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but the next comments will help you to understand it, maybe you find the clue in part a, or b, or c But you can expect witness to the strange power this drama has to convey the impression of some melancholy truths about the hopeless destiny of the human race. Beckett is an Irish writer who has lived in Paris for years, and once served as secretary to James Joyce. Since "Waiting for Godot" has no simple meaning, one seizes on Mr.

Beckett's experience of two worlds to account for his style and point of view. The point of view suggests Sartre--bleak, dark, disgusted. The style suggests Joyce--pungent and fabulous.

Put the two together and you have some notion of Mr. Beckett's acrid cartoon of the story of mankind. Literally, the play consists of four raffish characters, an innocent boy who twice arrives with a message from Godot, a naked tree, a mound or two of earth and a sky. Two of the characters are waiting for Godot, who never arrives. Two of them consist of a flamboyant lord of the earth and a broken slave whimpering and staggering at the end of a rope.

Since "Waiting for Godot" is an allegory written in a heartless modern tone, a theatre-goer naturally rummages through the performance in search of a meaning.

It seems fairly certain that Godot stands for God. Those who are loitering by the withered tree are waiting for salvation, which never comes. The rest of the symbolism is more elusive.

But it is not a pose. Beckett's drama adumbrates--rather than expresses--an attitude toward man's experience on earth; the pathos, cruelty, comradeship, hope, corruption, filthiness and wonder of human existence. Faith in God has almost vanished. But there is still an illusion of faith flickering around the edges of the flickering illusion of faith in waiting for godot an absurdist play by samuel beckett drama.

It is as though Mr. Beckett sees very little reason for clutching at faith, but is unable to relinquish it entirely. Although the drama is puzzling, the director and the actors play it as though they understand every line of it. The performance Herbert Berghof has staged against Louis Kennel's spare setting is triumphant in every respect. Although "Waiting for Godot" is an uneventful, maundering, loquacious drama, Mr.

Lahr is an actor in the pantomime tradition who has a thousand ways to move and a hundred ways to grimace in order to make the story interesting and theatrical, and touching, too. His long experience as a bawling mountebank has equipped Mr. Lahr to represent eloquently the tragic comedy of one of the lost souls of the earth. The other actors are excellent, also. Marshall as a fellow vagrant with a mind that is a bit more coherent; Kurt Kasznar as a masterful egotist reeking of power and success; Alvin Epstein as the battered slave who has one bitterly satirical polemic to deliver by rote; Luchino Solito De Solis as a disarming shepherd boy--complete the cast that gives this diffuse drama a glowing performance.

Beckett is no charlatan. He has strong feelings about the degradation of mankind, and he has given vent to them copiously. Perhaps that is why it is puzzling and convincing at the same time. Theatregoers can rail at it, but they cannot ignore it. Beckett is a valid writer. Ropes, Belts, and Cords in Waiting for Godot Interpersonal relationships in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot are extremely important, because the interaction of the dynamic characters, as they try to satiate one another's boredom, is the basis for the play.

Vladimir's and Estragon's interactions with Godot, which should also be seen as an interpersonal relationship among dynamic characters, forms the basis for the tale's major themes.

Interpersonal relationships, including those involving Godot, are generally couched in rope images, specifically as nooses and leashes. These metaphors at times are visible and invisible, involve people as well as inanimate objects, and connect the dead with the living. Only an appreciation of these complicated rope images will provide a truly complete reading of Beckett's Godot and his God, because they punctuate Beckett's voice in this play better than do any of the individual characters.

The only rope that appears literally is the leash around Lucky's neck that Pozzo holds. This pair of characters appears separated by a rope that is half the width of the stage. In terms of the rope, the relationship between these characters is one of consistent domination.

The stage directions say that "Pozzo drives Lucky by means of a rope passed round his neck. He is essentially the horse pulling Pozzo's carriage in a relationship that seems cruel, domineering, and undesirable, and yet Lucky is strangely sycophantic.

In explaining Lucky's behavior, Pozzo says, Why he doesn't make himself comfortable? Let's try and get this clear.

Has he not the right to?

  1. The misery of the characters as they wait is palpable. But Vladimir realizes that he is trapped, that he must persist in the illusion, that he has no choice.
  2. In Act I Pozzo is travelling to the market to sell Lucky, his slave.
  3. So there was an end to the waiting. This is their situation the first time they meet Vladimir and Estragon.

It follows that he doesn't want to. He imagines that when I see how well he carries I'll be tempted to keep him on in that capacity. As though I were short of slaves. Perhaps he is happy. Or perhaps he is not miserable enough.

The flickering illusion of faith in waiting for godot an absurdist play by samuel beckett

Or perhaps he has no sense of the world beyond his present situation; perhaps, as Vladimir and Estragon, he cannot envision himself any differently. The relationship between Pozzo and Lucky does not, however, stagnate at this juncture. The very next day, when the two next appear, the rope between them is significantly shorter so that the now-blind Pozzo may find his way. In this new situation, it is less clear which character leads the other, or if either one is truly in control.

As the stage directions read, Pozzo is blind. Rope as before, but much shorter, so that Pozzo may follow more easily.

The shortness of the rope, necessary because of Pozzo's blindness, affects their relationship; their new-found closeness makes it difficult for Pozzo to dominate and for Lucky to be truly servile and completely pathetic. As the stage directions indicate, after bumping into Estragon, Lucky falls, drops everything and brings down Pozzo with him. They lie helpless among the scattered baggage.

He calls pathetically for help rising from the ground, which apparently represents despair in a manner similar to that of the forest floor in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter's forest sequence of chapters.

Pozzo tries to end the despair by telling Estragon to jolt the rope that is still around Lucky's neck. But Pozzo forgets that Lucky will react differently because, ignoring the vast differences between his own roped-in sadomasochistic relationship with Lucky and Estragon's blunt hatred of Lucky. So Estragon kicks Lucky in revenge, and the anger endemic in this action fails to achieve an upward result.

Estragon's and Lucky's collective pathetic impotence soon ends, however, as Pozzo decides to once again dominate Lucky in the familiar manner. The loving belligerence resumes as Pozzo screams "Enough! Although the length of the rope is not literally changed, there is clearly an equilibrium length which must separate Pozzo from Lucky figuratively in order for their relationship to proceed naturally; any longer or shorter and there would not be the proper amount of domination and submission.

But is the despair found on the ground any different from the surrounding misery that is omnipresent in the lives of Vladimir and Estragon? In a way, it is, for there is a terminus to the despair of the ground: Pozzo and Lucky eventually get back on their feet. In being upright once again, there thus is a concurrent pleasure in being away from the despair of the ground and misery in their omnipresent surroundingsfurther underscoring Pozzo's and Lucky's sadomasochistic desires.

Vladimir and Estragon have a similar relationship in many ways, for there is a certain amount of submission and domination in their interactions with one another. The submission and domination, however, is less consistent and less rigidly defined than it is for Pozzo and Lucky. But when the two principal characters seek to play a game, Vladimir suggests they "play at Pozzo and Lucky" [p47], a game that requires them to abuse one another for amusement.

But Vladimir asks Estragon to play Pozzo and dominate him, a situation that diverges from Vladimir's seemingly normal assertiveness in their relationship. Overall, their relationship is one of misplaced dominance, where Vladimir is generally the stronger of the two, but he clearly wishes he were not. As yet another way to pass the time, Vladimir and Estragon also consider suicide, by hanging with a rope.

The rope that they would hang themselves with, however, is not the rope that ties their relationship together; their binding rope is figuratively present throughout the entire play and yet they cannot find a rope suitable for hanging themselves. The topic of suicide first arises in a fit of boredom, as the two friends search for ways to speed up the passage of time while they wait for Godot: What about hanging ourselves? It'd give us an erection. With all that follows. Where it falls mandrakes grow.

That's why they shriek when you pull them up. Did you not know that? Let's hang ourselves immediately! But never do Vladimir and Estragon contemplate suicide in a realistic context, where they can see it as an act that would inevitably prevent them from meeting Godot at least in the literal interpretation that he is human. Suicide for them, therefore, is just another diversion, perhaps a titillating autoerotic fantasy, but a diversion nonetheless, whose consequences they do not bother to or cannot fathom.

It impossible, however, for the two to kill themselves. They first realize that the only the flickering illusion of faith in waiting for godot an absurdist play by samuel beckett in their world, a weeping willow, will not support Vladimir's weight on the noose and therefore will not break his neck.

The second day, Vladimir and Estragon cannot hang themselves because they do not have the requisite piece of rope. By the second day, however, they have forgotten that they cannot hang themselves from the only available tree, and therefore their complaints about the lack of a suitable piece of rope and their attempts to substitute it with a belt of cord are unnecessary.

Thus, it seems that Vladimir and Estragon are merely using suicide as a topic for conversation, using the mere thought of an autoerotic death - one in which there is pleasure in sadness or pain, again, in a masochistic outlook - as an inherently pleasing ponder. Estragon says explicitly on the subject, "Don't let's do anything.

If they are living a virtual death, then dying will be nothing but more of the same. But, if they are merely living an extraordinarily mundane and pathetic life, then death, particularly pleasant death, will be the exclamation point that relieves them of their boredom with life. And are these two possibilities all that different? It seems that Estragon gives credence to the former when he says "everything's dead but the tree" [p59.