The ‘after the bomb’ era of 1945 to 1991 produced waves of new philosophies and ideals in the way people thought of how they should live, and why they were living. As people delved into the arts, texts began to get published reflecting the post-war attitude which focused on the nature of the human condition and a questioning of humanity on both a personal and political level. ‘Waiting for Godot’, by Samuel Beckett, 1948, and ‘The Lives of Others’ directed by Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck set in 1984 explore the four major paradigms of the time; Scientific, Religious, Philosophical and Economic. Through the use of these paradigms, art, dystopias and existential themes these two texts do not embrace our humanity, but rather question the turn it took into the changed world.
Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot ‘, was written in the late months of 1948, which was three years after France was liberated from German occupation. The text of the play was a period in which the atomic bomb and the cold war were part of an intense reaction to the war that included both cultural continuity and a sense of discontinuity and an end of a civilization. After WWII, Beckett’s plays began to portray ideals that reflected society’s way of thinking at the time, which consisted of uncertainty, disillusionment and confusion as what happened. News of the holocaust was heard around the world and people began to inquire as to how something so inhumane occurred, and how so many people stood and watched it occur.
F.H.V Donnersmarck’s ‘The Lives Of Others’ is a realist film, set in 1984, Socialist Eastern Germany right before the collapse of the Berlin wall. During this time, opponents of the regime never imaged that their one-party state would give way, it was there to stay indefinitely. The mindset of those who lived in east Germany consisted of two major types of people, those who