Waiting for Godot: Existentialism and Christianity
In modern day society, individuals usually experience the same routine over and over again, but rarely become aware of the drudgery of daily life. These people are unable to achieve a higher level of existence by being uniform. Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, is an existential play where two men are stuck in the same routine day after day. They sit around all day waiting for the inevitable arrival of a man named Godot, who seems like he will never come; the two lose track of time. The men are completely unaware of what day of the week it is; they seem to be achieving nothing in their dull lives due to their tedious ways. Waiting for Godot is more than a mere existential play; there are heavy undertones of Christianity, creating a religious aspect to the play, yet the author manipulates Christian beliefs to strengthen existentialistic ideas.
There are many existential elements in this play, mainly monotony and the inability to take action. Both Acts one and two of the play are similar because they contain identical events. First, Vladimir meets Estragon at the same tree. Estragon sleeps in a ditch all night and is continually beaten up. They become acquainted with Pozzo and Lucky, and then a boy notifies them that Godot will arrive tomorrow. At the end of the act, Vladimir and Estragon are unable to leave, and the second act repeats the same sequence of events. Vladimir admits that “habit is a great deadener” (Beckett 105). A fundamental belief of existentialism is, individuals who repeat the same mundane task will not live life to the fullest and are stuck in a lull. The characters in Waiting for Godot are constantly stating that they will take action but do not acquire the initiative to finalize the task. Their life is not complete or entirely satisfied because of their “lack of perfection, power, and control…over their [lives]” (All About Philosophy). Pozzo realizes his inability to maneuver and...
Bibliography: Banks, Robert. Complete Book of Everyday Christianity. 1997. Urbana. 7 December 2009
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, 1954
Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. 2006. Philosophy Paradise. 30 Nov. 2009
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