Waiting for Godot as an Existentialist Play

Topics: Existentialism, Waiting for Godot, Jean-Paul Sartre Pages: 4 (1516 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Existentialism is an extremely diverse and varied philosophy. But, there are some themes that can be found in all its forms. (1) Existence precedes essence, in other words, you need existence to have essence. There is no predetermined "true" thing. It has to already exist in order to become what it is. (2) Anxiety and anguish. The fear or dread which is not directed at any specific object, it's just there. Anguish is the dread of the nothingness of human existence, the meaningless of it. According to Kierkegaard, anguish is the underlying, all-pervasive, universal condition of man's existence. (3) Absurdity. "Granted I am my own existence, but this existence is absurd." Everybody is here, everybody exists, but there is no reason as to why. We're just here, that's it, no excuses.” (4) Nothingness. There is nothing that structures this world's existence, man's existence, or the existence of my computer. There is no essence that these things are drawn from, since existence precedes essence, then that means there is nothing. (5) Death. The theme of death follows along with the theme of nothingness. Death is always there, there is no escaping from it. To think of death, as everybody does sooner or later, causes anxiety. The only sure way to end anxiety once and for all is death. The one fundamental behind all of Beckett’s work is this existentialist knowledge of man’s solitude, imprisonment, and pain in an intolerable universe which is indifferent to his suffering. The world in which Becket begins to write is one without unity, clarity, rationality, or hope, and where man feels himself alone and a stranger in a place which itself will one day cease to exist. From this confrontation between the unreasonable silence of the universe and the human need to be, there arises that futile revolt against existence; the painful rebellion of the spirit against three necessities – the abject necessity of being born, the hard necessity of living, and the sharp necessity of dying –...
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