Theme Of Suffering In Waiting For Godot By Samuel Beckett

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Beckett’s writing elaborates hope, sufferings, death. Beckett expressed three main concerns in waiting for Godot those are relationships, human nature and sufferings. Life is not a bed of roses. Human beings have to face all the difficulties and sufferings of life. In order to survive we have to accept the challenges. It is not to be forgotten that the play was written after the post World War 2. All the aspects of the play are the situations which were faced by the people after the war. People were living a rough and tough life but still doing nothing to enhance their situations. Life without a companion is hard to spend. In our bad times we want someone to comfort us like Vladimir and Estragon wanted each other. Even they wanted to hang themselves together. The world where they live or they exist, give them pain and it’s human nature to receive the give and receive the pain.

In the play Waiting For Godot suffering is the essential part of human existence. Vladimir and Estragon both were in physical pain one had urine problem and the other had pain in his foot respectively. This condition kept them unhappy. This physical pain had a great influence on their mental state. Samuel Beckett believed that there are two types of suffering basically, mental and physical that snatch away happiness, peace and joy from life. Now it elaborates that if there is existence then there must be sufferings. Man is born to suffer till the end of his life. As far as life is concerned sufferings, miseries and troubles are part of it. It will also affect the mental state. Characters in the play suffer due to their existence. There is rarely perfection in the Beckett’s play. Human is a subject to decay in this world.

There is representation of human condition through fatuous characters in Waiting for Godot. The goof characters believed that someday a miracle would happen and a mysterious man naming Godot will come and save them from sufferings. Sufferings are integrated in human life. Modern people are suffering from different issues, miseries and circumstances like: harmful natural conditions, harmful ecological conditions, harmful political conditions, emotional condition, spiritual condition and leading a meaningless life. All these emotional, social, political, spiritual, and mental problems are related with the existence of human being. In waiting for Godot Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for Godot to come and solve their problems. They both believed that Godot will appear someday and everything will be changed. Godot a person who never shows up, but they still wait for him. Godot is their hope. Hope that keeps them away from suicide. A fake hope that kept them alive but in miseries. Beckett denied Godot as God because of many contradictions. Godot could be some religious force, a false belief, a fake hope but not God. Anything for which we are waiting can be seen as Godot. This worthless wait gave them nothing but frustration.

They believed that by committing suicide they can get rid of these problems but they couldn’t attempt suicide. Waiting, as the condition of man, involves an acceptance both of death and of life. As they keep on waiting they become bore. Since there is nothing to be done the characters engaged themselves in variety of gossips, this is the portrayal of human relationship in play whether willingly or unwillingly the are exchanging words, telling stories. Waiting for Godot is about the compulsive need for action, if only in order to make the time pass. As Vladimir says, “Habit is a great deadener”. Estragon and Vladimir debate whether they are in the right place whether it is the right day Godot to come. A boy comes onstage, and says that he is the messenger of Godot he works for him. He says that Godot will not come today he will be coming on the next day and the boy leaves. ‘He who despair the human condition is coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool.’ (Albert Camus)

Beckett has planned to mention the human sufferings through human condition in the play which is the essential part of human existence. Human condition is the characteristic of suffering from such misfortunes as meaningless waiting, fake hope, unreliable relationship among them and their fear of death. Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for something unusual to happen, they are waiting for something which would not happen. They are waiting for the arrival of Godot. Human life is portrayed as a period of waiting; waiting for an event, person, hope and eventually death. Vladimir and Estragon await for Godot to appear and save them form miseries. Actually they don’t want Godot as a person, but Godot for them is a hope for whom they are waiting, even a fake hope. They just need something to wait for and this is the worst part of human condition. In the words of Breuer: We are all like a donkey running after the carrot dangle in front of its nose by its rider… We would be both donkey and rider but the donkey part in us would just love to forget that we are also the rider who holds the carrot.

Another pair in the play is Lucky and Pozzo. Lucky wants to have a good relationship with his master Pozzo. For this he has sacrificed everything, even his creativeness more over his self respect. He tolerates his torcher and slavery. They both are dependent on each other. Without Lucky, Pozzo is unable to step forward. Lucky is bound to Pozzo’s orders. In fact Lucky teachers Pozzo all the higher values of life. Beckett has portrayed the picture of men who has invested their hope in a supernatural mysterious or absent savior, rather than standing on their feet and determining their own fate as they are supposed to. Human beings are creatures who are trapped in a lifelong struggle to make sense of their existence, and it seems as if they cannot actualize their true selves and step into the course of growth unless they come to realize the essence of their being. Hence, as they find themselves trapped in a state of meaningless existence, they end up being stagnated in misery.


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