How is Waiting for Godot an example of Theatre of the Absurd?

Originating in the aftermath of World War II, Theatre of the Absurd is a theatrical movement that relies on existentialism and illogical scenarios in order to offer commentary on the meaninglessness of human existence. Plays of this genre typically feature a non-logical universe, unclear character identities, a breakdown of communication, and a confusing or circular plot. Waiting for Godot features all of these characteristics as Vladimir and Estragon, who have no clear idea of who or where they are, find themselves trapped in a pointless cycle of waiting for a man who never arrives.

Why is Waiting for Godot considered a tragicomedy?

Beyond the fact that Beckett includes “A Tragicomedy” as the play’s subtitle, Waiting for Godot presents itself as a tragicomedy for the way in which it combines humorous actions and attitudes with rather bleak subject matters. Vladimir and Estragon gleefully discuss hanging themselves from the tree in Act One, for example, and brutal acts of violence contrast with their bumbling physical comedy. The dissonance between these two moods works to put the audience in an uncomfortable position, making it virtually impossible for them to distinguish how to react to the events on stage.

What does Godot represent?

While Godot never appears in the play himself, his presence has a tight hold on the action, or rather inaction, that happens throughout. Beckett offers little information as to who he is, but many scholars argue that Godot is a nihilistic reflection of God. The promise of his arrival and ability to save Vladimir and Estragon is enough to keep them waiting for days on end, but the play suggests that he will never actually come. This dynamic creates a bleak image of a god incapable of helping others, inviting the audience to wonder whether God exists at all.

What is the relationship between Estragon and Vladimir?

Beckett never clearly defines the relationship between Estragon and Vladimir, although he does imply that they have been waiting for Godot together for some amount of time. They have moments of hostility as well as moments of adoration, and these contradictory interactions reinforce the idea that they do not even understand the nature of their connection. Adding this ambiguity to their interactions hints at the struggle to find meaning in interpersonal relationships. Vladimir does, however, tend to take on more of a protector role while Estragon’s presence keeps him from feeling lonely.

Why does Pozzo go blind?

In Act Two, Pozzo reappears having completely lost his sight and explains that he “woke up one fine day as blind as Fortune.” This line is the closest answer that Beckett offers as to why this sudden change occurred, and his choice of the word “fortune” here suggests that Pozzo’s blindness is completely random. Not only does this explanation add to the non-logical nature of the play’s universe, it also emphasizes that individuals are powerless to change the course of their lives.

Popular pages: Waiting for Godot