What is the meaning/significance of Samuel Becketts play “Waiting for Godot”?
WOW! Somebody take Tam’s razorblades away from her! Yes, Godot never shows up even though he is eagerly anticipated. And, yes, his name so closely resembles “God” that we automatically make the leap that Tam has made. But Waiting for Godot was originally staged as a comedy. The New York premiere starred Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and there were rumors of a revival starring Steve Martin and Robin Williams. So I think if you’re going to read a philosophical truth into the play, it should be less of a “Life is short and dark and friendless and then you die” and more of a “Life is what happens to you while you’re making plans.” Beckett intended to shake up audiences’ perceptions of plot, character, and dialogue, and he did a good job. The opening night audience in Paris very nearly rioted from feeling like they’d seen two hours of “introduction”; that the plot never “took off” and then the final curtain was brought down. I think “Godot” is one of the most difficult p
Samuel Beckett’s theme, that there is no intrinsic meaning to life (imposed by an imaginary God) has been attempted by other playwrights before him, but they wrote their plays accordng to Freytag’s pyramid; i.e., they followed the rising action up to the climax and then had a resolution, which is what one expects of theater. This meant that they were using a highly conventional, orderly form to write plays about how there was no order to life — they were undermining their plays by structuring them this way. In Godot, you have repetition, but no sustained rising action. You have events that occur which don’t represent the triumph of any world view; you have movements/”plotlines” which unravel and don’t go anywhere (there is at least one suicide attempt in the play, which goes nowhere) and you have no guarantee (from the boy at the end of Act 1 and 2) that Godot is really coming. You have a play that says “life has no greater meaning” and DEMONSTRATES THIS through its often tedious stru