Waiting for godot


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Waiting for godot

  1. 1. What are you waiting...?...to happen in your life in 40 minutes?...to happen in your life in a week?...to happen in your life in 3 years?...to happen in your life in 10 years?...to happen in your life in 30 years?
  2. 2. Waiting for Godotby Samuel Beckett
  3. 3. The Theater of the AbsurdThe Theatre of the Absurd is a theatrical style originating in France in thelate 1940s. It relies heavily on Existentialist philosophy, and is a categoryfor plays of absurdist fiction, written by a number of playwrights from thelate 1940s to the 1960s, as well as the theatre which has evolved fromtheir work.It expresses the belief that, in a godlessuniverse, human existence has no meaning orpurpose and therefore all communicationbreaks down. Logical construction andargument give way to irrational and illogicalspeech and as its ultimate conclusion, silence.
  4. 4. Theater of the Absurd follows theconcepts of existential philosophy• The theatrical style aims to show a worldwhere man is born with only himself andnothing else (no God).So, it means {and keep it in mind} :GODOT is not GOD!
  5. 5. Theater of the Absurd?? What???Critic Martin Esslin coined the term"Theatre of the Absurd" in his 1960essay and, later, a book of thesame name. He related these playsbased on a broad theme of theAbsurd.The Absurd in these plays takes the formof man’s reaction to a world apparentlywithout meaning, and/or man as apuppet controlled or menaced byinvisible outside forces.KEEP IN MIND
  6. 6. Repetition of characteristics in other plays• Broad comedy mixed with horrific or tragic images.• Characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive ormeaningless actions.• Dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense.• Either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the well-made play.• The Theatre of the Absurd shows the failure of man withoutrecommending a solution.
  7. 7. Some characteristics you should observewhen reading the play!Often Absurdist works utilise theatrical conventions such as:•Mime•Gibberish•Heightened•Language•Vignette** short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give a particular insight intoa character, idea, or setting.
  8. 8. These characterisitcs will provokethe absurdity in the playAs the plays generally lack conflict, they use thesecharacteristics to provoke some high levels of contrast,alienation, and irony.For example, a funeral scene performed by actors happily, or a birthday sceneperformed somberly.
  9. 9. Let’s conclude this theoretical partPlays within this group are absurd in that they focus not on logicalacts, realistic occurrences, or traditional character development;they, instead, focus on human beings trapped in anincomprehensible world subject to any occurrence, no matter howillogical. The theme of incomprehensibility is coupled with theinadequacy of language to form meaningful human connections.According to Martin Esslin, Absurdism is "the inevitable devaluationof ideals, purity, and purpose "Absurdist drama asks its viewer todraw his own conclusions, make his own errors". Though Theatre ofthe Absurd may be seen as nonsense, they have something to sayand can be understood. Esslin makes a distinction between thedictionary definition of absurd ("out of harmony" in the musicalsense) and dramas understanding of the Absurd: "Absurd is thatwhich is devoid of purpose.... Cut off from his religious,metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his actionsbecome senseless, absurd, useless".
  10. 10. CHARACTERS
  11. 11. EstragonLuckyVladimirPozzo
  12. 12. ESTRAGONESTRAGONEstragon is one of the two protagonists. He is a bumand sleeps in a ditch where he is beaten each night.He has no memory beyond what is immediately saidto him, and relies on Vladimir to remember for him.Estragon is impatient and constantly wants to leaveVladimir, but is restrained from leaving by the factthat he needs Vladimir. It is Estragons idea for thebums to pass their time by hanging themselves.
  13. 13. VLADIMIRVLADIMIRVladimir is one of the two protagonists. He is a bumlike Estragon, but retains a memory of most events.However, he is often unsure whether his memory isplaying tricks on him. Vladimir is friendly toEstragon because Estragon provides him with thechance to remember past events. Vladimir is theone who makes Estragon wait with him for Mr.Godots imminent arrival throughout the play.
  14. 14. Estragon has been compared to a bodywithout an intellect, which therefore needsVladimir to provide the intellect.Vladimir has been compared to the intellectwhich provides for the body, represented byEstragon.
  15. 15. POZZOPOZZOPozzo is the master who rules over Lucky. He stops andtalks to the two bums in order to have some company.In the second act Pozzo is blind and requires their help.He, like Estragon, cannot remember people he hasmet.
  16. 16. LUCKYLUCKYLucky is the slave of Pozzo. He is tied to Pozzo via a ropearound his neck and he carries Pozzos bags. Lucky is onlyallowed to speak twice during the entire play, but his longmonologue is filled with incomplete ideas. He is silenced onlyby the other characters who fight with him to take of his hat.
  17. 17. Pozzo appears blind in the second act. His transformationbetween the acts may represent the passage of time.Lucky appears as a mute in the second act.
  18. 18. BOYBOYThe boy is a servant of Mr. Godot. He plays an identicalrole in both acts by coming to inform Vladimir andEstragon that Mr. Godot will not be able to make it thatnight, but will surely come the next day. The boy neverremembers having met Vladimir and Estragon before. Hehas a brother who is mentioned but who never appears.
  19. 19. WAITINGWAITINGFORFORGODOT ...GODOT ...2nd part – The2nd part – Theplay analysisplay analysis
  20. 20. To existentialist writers, the universe is aforeign and indifferent place. Every aspectof creation, including the universe itself, ispitted against the individual. Existence ismeaningless and oblivion both before birthand after death-save for the fact that greatsuffering and anguishmark the plight inbetween these ends.
  21. 21. Although very existentialist in its characterizations,Waiting for Godot is primarily about hope. The play revolvesaround Vladimir and Estragon and their pitiful wait for hope toarrive. At various times during the play, hope is constructed as aform of salvation, in the personages of Pozzo and Lucky, or evenas death. The subject of the play quickly becomes an example ofhow to pass the time in a situation which offers no hope.Thus the theme of the play isset by the beginning:Estragon: Nothing to be done.Vladimir: Im beginning to come round to that opinion.
  22. 22. Although the phrase is used in connection toEstragons boots here, it is also later used byVladimir with respect to his hat. Essentially itdescribes the hopelessness of their lives.
  23. 23. A direct result of this hopelessness is the dailystruggle to pass the time. Thus, most of the play isdedicated to devising games which will help thempass the time. This mutual desire also addressesthe question of why they stay together. BothVladimir and Estragon admit to being happierwhen apart. One of the main reasons that theycontinue their relationship is that they need oneanother to pass the time.After Pozzo and Lucky leave for the first time theycomment:
  24. 24. V: That passed the time.E: It would have passed in any case.And later when Estragon finds his boots again:V: What about trying them.E: Ive tried everything.V: No, I mean the boots.E: Would that be a good thing?V: Itd pass the time. I assure you, itd be an occupation.Since passing the time is their mutual occupation, Estragonstruggles to find games to help them accomplish their goal.Thus they engage in insulting one another and in asking eachother questions.
  25. 25. The difficulty for Beckett ofkeeping a dialogue runningfor so long is overcome bymaking his characters forgeteverything. Estragon cannotremember anything pastwhat was said immediatelyprior to his lines. Vladimir,although possessing a bettermemory, distrusts what heremembers. And sinceVladimir cannot rely onEstragon to remind him ofthings, he too exists in a stateof forgetfulness.
  26. 26. Another second reason for why they are together arisesfrom the existentialism of their forgetfulness. SinceEstragon cannot remember anything, he needs Vladimir totell him his history. It is as if Vladimir is establishingEstragons identity by remembering for him. Estragon alsoserves as a reminder for Vladimir of all the things theyhave done together. Thus both men serve to remind theother man of his very existence. This is necessary since noone else in the play ever remembers them:Vladimir: We met yesterday. (Silence) Do you notremember?Pozzo: I dont remember having met anyone yesterday.But to-morrow I wont remember having met anyone to-day. So dont count on me to enlighten you.
  27. 27. Later on the same thing happens with the boywho claims to have never seen them before.This lack of reassurance about their veryexistence makes it all the more necessarythat they remember each other.
  28. 28. Estragon and Vladimir are not onlytalking to pass the time, but also toavoid the voices that arise out of thesilence. Becketts heroes in otherworks are also constantly assailed byvoices which arise out of the silence,so this is a continuation of a themethe author uses frequently:
  29. 29. E: In the meantime lets try andconverse calmly, since wereincapable of keeping silent.V: Youre right, wereinexhaustible.E: Its so we wont think.V: We have that excuse.E: Its so we wont hear.V: We have our reasons.E: All the dead voices.V: They make a noise like wings.E: Like leaves.V: Like sand.E: Like leaves.Silence.V: They all speak at once.E: Each one to itself.Silence.V: Rather they whisper.E: They rustle.V: They murmur.E: The rustle.Silence.V: What do they say?E: They talk about their lives.V: To have lived is not enough for them.E: They have to talk about it.V: To be dead is not enough for them.E: It is not sufficient.Silence.V: They make a noise like feathers.E: Like leaves.V: Like ashes.E: Like leaves.Long silence.V: Say something!
  30. 30. One of the questions which must be answered is why thebums are suffering in the first place. This can only beanswered through the concept of original sin. To be bornis to be a sinner, and thus man is condemned to suffer.The only way to escape the suffering is to repent or to die.Thus Vladimir recalls the thieves crucified with Christ inthe first act:V: One of the thieves was saved. Its a reasonable percentage. (Pause.)Gogo.E: What?V: Suppose we repented.E: Repented what?V: Oh . . . (He reflects.) We wouldnt have to go into the details.E: Our being born?
  31. 31. Failing to repent, they sit andwait for Godot to come and savethem. In the meantime theycontemplate suicide as anotherway of escaping theirhopelessness. Estragon wantsthem to hang themselves fromthe tree, but both he andVladimir find it would be toorisky. This apathy, which is aresult of their age, leads them toremember a time whenEstragon almost succeeded inkilling himself:
  32. 32. E: Do you remember the day I threw myself into the Rhone?V: We were grape harvesting.E: You fished me out.V: Thats all dead and buried.E: My clothes dried in the sun.V: Theres no good harking back on that. Come on.
  33. 33. Beckett is believed to have said that the name Godot comes from theFrench "godillot" meaning a military boot. Beckett fought in the warand so spending long periods of time waiting for messages to arrivewould have been commonplace for him. The more commoninterpretation that it might mean "God" is almost certainly wrong.Beckett apparently stated that if he had meant "God," he would havewritten "God".And for the lasttime ....Godot is NOT God!
  34. 34. The concept of the passage of time leads to a general irony.Each minute spent waiting brings death one step closer tothe characters and makes the arrival of Godot less likely. Thepassage of time is evidenced by the tree which has grownleaves, possibly indicating a change of seasons. Pozzo andLucky are also transformed by time since Pozzo goes blindand Lucky mute.
  35. 35. There are numerous interpretation ofThere are numerous interpretation ofWaiting for Godot and a few are:Waiting for Godot and a few are:ReligiousReligiousInterpretationInterpretationPoliticalPoliticalInterpretationInterpretation
  36. 36. Religious interpretations posit Vladimir andEstragon as humanity waiting for theelusive return of a savior. An extension ofthis makes Pozzo into the Pope and Luckyinto the faithful. The faithful are thenviewed as a cipher of God cut short byhuman intolerance. The twisted tree canalternatively represent either the tree ofdeath, the tree of life, the tree of Judas orthe tree of knowledge.
  37. 37. Political interpretations also abound. Some reviewers hold that therelationship between Pozzo and Lucky is that of a capitalist to hislabor. This Marxist interpretation is understandable given that in thesecond act Pozzo is blind to what is happening around him and Luckyis mute to protest his treatment.
  38. 38. An interesting interpretation argues that Lucky receives his namebecause he is lucky in the context of the play. Since most of the playis spent trying to find things to do to pass the time, Lucky is luckybecause his actions are determined absolutely by Pozzo. Pozzo onthe other hand is unlucky becausehe not only needs to pass his owntime but must find things for Luckyto do.
  39. 39. Even though the drama is divided into two acts, there are othernatural divisions. For the sake of discussion, the following, ratherobvious, scene divisions will be referred to:ACT I:(1)Vladimir and Estragon Alone(2) Arrival of Pozzo and Lucky:(3) Departure of Pozzo and Lucky:Vladimir and Estragon Alone(4) Arrival of Boy Messenger(5) Departure of Boy Messenger:Vladimir and Estragon AloneACT II:(1)Vladimir and Estragon Alone(2) Arrival of Pozzo and Lucky(3) Departure of Pozzo and Lucky:Vladimir and Estragon Alone(4) Arrival of Boy Messenger(5) Departure of Boy Messenger:Vladimir and Estragon AloneThe above divisions of the play are Beckett’s way of making a statementabout the nature of the play—that is, the play is circular in structure, and athird act (or even a fourth or fifth act, etc.) could be added, having theexact same structure.
  40. 40. But what doesit all mean?A traditional play, in contrast, has an introduction of the characters andthe exposition; then, there is a statement of the problem of the play inrelationship to its settings and characters. (In Waiting for Godot, wenever know where the play takes place, except that it is set on “a countryroad.”) Furthermore, in a traditional play, the characters are developed,and gradually we come to see the dramatist’s world view; the play thenrises to a climax, and there is a conclusion. This type of development iscalled a linear development. In the plays of the Theater of the Absurd,the structure is often exactly the opposite. We have, instead, a circularstructure, and most aspects of this drama support this circular structurein one way or another.Let me clarify yourdoubts, my littlestudent.
  41. 41. Hold on, Bruno! I’m trying to copy allthe texts from the presentation!By the way, how about the setting? It seemsso poor or simple. What can you say about it?The setting is the same, and the time is the same in both acts. Each actbegins early in the morning, just as the tramps are awakening, and both actsclose with the moon having risen. The action takes place in exactly the samelandscape—a lonely, isolated road with one single tree. (In the second act,there are some leaves on the tree, but from the viewpoint of the audience,the setting is exactly the same.) We are never told where this road islocated; all we know is that the action of the play unfolds on this lonelyroad. Thus, from Act I to Act II, there is no difference in either the setting orin the time and, thus, instead of a progression of time within an identifiablesetting, we have a repetition in the second act of the same things that wesaw and heard in the first act.