M.A English Part 2 Notes |
Question: The subject of Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, is not Godot but waiting, the act of waiting as an essential and characteristic of the human condition. Do you agree?
Answer: The subject of Beckett's play waiting for Godot is waiting which is an essential and a characteristic of every human being. The two key words in the title are "waiting" and "Godot", Some of the critics are of the opinion that Beckett has used the word Godot in the diminutive form of God. There is no doubt that every human being irrespective of his religion or cult wait for something either in the shape of person, thing, event or even death. But when Samuel Beckett was asked what play of his meant, he replied, "If I could tell you in a sentence, I would not have written this play". When he was asked what Godot represented, Beckett answered quite simply. "If he had given little explanation, the play would have been quite different and there would have been no controversy on the word Godot. The question will remain unanswered to the title "Waiting for Godot,"
The whole drama depends upon "waiting" The question arises waiting for whom and the answer is quite natural that the humanity is waiting for Godot. There is every possibility that Beckett has left it to the general estimation of some supernatural agency or a mythical human being whose arrival is expected to change the entire situation of religious insurgency prevailing in the minds of all human beings.
Samuel Beckett was born on a Good Friday i.e., 13th April 1906. It seems quite appropriate that he might have been obsessed with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, about whom John Milton has said in the very opening linesof Paradise Lost Book I:
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden till one greater Man,
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse,
Christians, whether they are Catholics or Protestants are all waiting for the recoming of Christ and there is every probability that Samuel Beckett through this drama might have hinted indirectly the recoming of the mythical human being for whom they are waiting for the last more or less two thousand years.
The drama in no way appears to have any relationship with the human predicament. The two garrulous tramps are quite indifferent to all the concerns of life. Godot, having main significance does not even appear on the stage. How can he appear or can be made to appear when he is being awaited by one and all. For this purpose Vladimir and Estragon are shown waiting for Godot. They are completely ignorant and unaware and they cannot say who or what Godot is? These two persons are again not sure whether they are waiting for Godot at the right time or at the right place.
These two persons seem to represent the two factions of Christian religion, Catholics and Protestants. These persons are shown completely baffled on the1 stage and that is natural. They are helpless. They tell stories, sing songs, play verbal games pretend to be Pozzo and Lucky, do physical exercises. But all these are Just to pass the .time. They, in their dialogue, understanding perfect the prevailing situation of "waiting", refer even to the two thieves who were crucified, with Christ on the Sabbath day.
Deliberating deeply, we can discover a common ground between the audience (and million others) and the two tramps who are waiting for Godot. Everyone is awaiting Godot. They are quit optimistic of his coming, otherwise no one will 'wait. The, long waiting may cause frustration and despair, but they are still hopeful of his recoming. This is the main motif of the play, which is quite evident in the title "Waiting for Godot."
When Pozzo and Lucky first appear on the stage, they are not recognised by Vladimir and Estragon. On their disappearance, the former comments that they have changed since their last appearance; Estragon insists that he did not know them, but Vladimir insists." We know them, I tell you forget everything."
The dialogue between Vladimir and Estragon is deliberated upon deeply, and it is not difficult to understand that Godot is positively God, who is bestowing kindness and punishment to his creatures. In this regard, it is said that the boy who is his messenger looks after the goats and Godot treats him well. But the boy's brother/who looks after the sheep is beaten well. The parallel is applicable to Cain and Able, or it can be equally applied to Catholics and Protestants. Godot
shall set the sheep on his right hand, but goats on the left. "In act II Estragon believes Godot to be approaching, his first thought is that he is accursed. The matter becomes quite evident, when Vladimir in Act II triumphantly exclaims: "It is Godot! At test! Let us go and meet him;" Estragon runs away shouting: "I am in hell:"
The controversy prevails, which cult of the Christians is Able and Cain. Which cult of the two is going to be graced or condemned for that purpose. The mankind (the world of Christianity) is divided into those who will be saved and those who will be damned.
It is a Christian play. Vladimir's and Estrogens "waiting" for Godot signifies their firm belief and hope of Jesus Christ's recoming as redeemer for their salvation through the working of grace. Reader knows fully well that Christians believe that Jesus Christ was son of Cod, who after Crucifixion took him to heaven and will return him to this world as a Redeemer for the salvation of mankind.
The mankind (Christian world) have been waiting for second coming of the Redeemer for the last nineteen hundred years. They are tired now. There is one solution, which the tramps themselves consider, preferable to waiting for Godot. That solution is suicide. It is only on account of boredom, utter bewilderment and exhaustion.