Upon the Absurd Drama and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
The absurd theatre refers to a specific kind of plays that were famous for the first time in the year 1950 and 1960s. The Absurd theatre is based on the advanced works of the 1920 and 1930s. The absurd elements firstly appeared in the wild comedies, the old comedy and wild humour, and shortly after the need of Ancient dramas. Medieval morality plays can be seen as the man of the theatre of absurd, which are the type characters dealing with allegoric and sometimes existential matters. The most popular play of the time is mostly Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”. The characters of the play are strange characters who have difficulty in communication the easiest concepts when they watch their time while waiting for Godot to return. The language they use is often funny, and after following the cyclic events, the play ends when it has just begun, without a true change. Actually, sometimes it is called in the play that no events happen. Their faults show that this is an error and that often turns them shy because of their faults.
Beckett’s play is one of the oldest play and so there was a lot of confusion among old critics. “Waiting for Godot” cannot be resulted or decided because the play is essentially circular and repetitive in nature. The dramatic chapters section in these observe that the structure of each movement is exactly the same. In contrast, a traditional play has an introduction to characters and narration; then there is an expression of the problem according to the place, time and the characters of the play. Moreover, in a traditional play, the characters develop and gradually come to see the world view of the dramatist; the play then rises to a climax and there is a result. This type of development is called linear development. In the absurd theatre plays, the structure is usually the opposite. Instead, we have a cyclic structure, and most aspects of this drama support this cyclical structure somehow. The setting is the same, and in both cases the time is the same. Each movement begins until the morning, just as the vagrants wake up and move close to the rising moon every two months. The action takes place in exactly the same landscape; a lonely, isolated road with a single tree. We never said where this road was; all we know is that the action of the play appeared on this lonely road. This movement, known as the absurd theatre, was not a thoughtful movement, and it never made a clear philosophical doctrine, an organized initiative and a meeting in which it had never been transformed. However, it is more important than repeating the setting and time, but repeating actions. In addition to the basic structure of previously mentioned actions, to repeat. At the beginning of each action, for example, several identical concerns should be noted. These include the emphasis on Estragon’s boots. Also, Vladimir uses almost the same words when he first realized Estragon. At the beginning of both acts, Vladimir and Estragon reiterate that they were there to wait for Godot. At the end of both actions, Vladimir and Estragon discussed the possibility of hanging themselves and decided to bring a good rope with them the next day so that they could actually hang themselves.
With Pozzo and Lucky coming into action, we realized that although their physical appearance had changed theoretically, they looked the same from the outside; they are still bound together on an endless journey to an unknown place to meet a nameless person. Likewise, Boy Messenger, although theoretically different, gives the same message: Mr. Godot will not come today, but he will definitely come tomorrow. Vladimir’s difficulties and suffering are in contrast to the suffering Estragon suffers in his every action. In addition, eating, which includes carrots, radishes and turnips, becomes a central image in every action, and the punks are dealing with hats, multiple insults, and compromising cuddles, these and many other small things are repeated over and over again. Finally, and most importantly, there are bigger concepts: first, the punishment of the punks; secondly, efforts to spend time in vain efforts; the third is the attempts to disintegrate and, ultimately, the fact that they do not expect Godot to constantly wait for the two to make it a circular structure that is openly replicating the two, and the fact that these repetitions are so obvious in the play that Beckett’s rupture from the play reveals the uniqueness of traditional play and its circular structure. Beckett’s difficulty in maintaining a long-term dialogue is overcome by allowing his characters to forget everything. He can’t remember anything that was said just before the Estragon line. Vladimir, despite having a better memory, disturbs what he remembers. And because Vladimir can’t trust Estragon to remind him of things, he’s in a state of forgetfulness. Another reason for their coexistence is their existentialism. Estragon needs Vladimir to tell him his history because he can’t remember anything. He remembers him and sets up Estragon’s identity. Estragon reminds us of everything they do together with Vladimir. So both men serve to remind the other man of his presence. This is necessary because no one in the play can remember them. Then it happens with the boy who claims to have never seen the same thing before. The lack of assurance of the existence of these assets makes it necessary for them to remember each other. Estragon and Vladimir speak not only to pass the time, but also to avoid voices from silence. Beckett’s heroes in other works are also constantly attacked by the sounds of silence, so the continuation of a theme frequently used by the author. One of the questions that needs to be answered is why the vagrants first suffered. This can only be answered by the original sin concept. To be born is to be a sinner, and therefore man is doomed to suffer. The only way to escape pain is to repent or die. Thus Vladimir remembers the thieves who were crucified with Christ in the first movement. They cannot repent and wait for Godot to come and save them. They think of suicide as another way of escaping despair. Estragon wants them to hang them on the tree, but both he and Vladimir think it would be too risky. This apathy, the result of their age, causes Estragon to remember a time when he was almost able to kill himself. Beckett said the name of Godot came from the French word ‘Godillot’, which means a military boot. Beckett fought in the war and it would be usual for him to spend a long time waiting for the messages to come. The concept of passage of time leads to a general irony. Every minute waiting brings death closer to the characters and makes the arrival of Godot less likely. The passage of time is evidenced by the tree growing leaves, probably showing the change of seasons. As Pozzo goes blind and Lucky dumb, Pozzo and Lucky also turn into time. Religious interpretations save Vladimir and Estragon as humanity and await the liberating return. An extension of this makes Pozzo loyal to the Pope and Lucky. Loyal is then seen as a code of God shortened by human intolerance. The twisted tree can alternatively represent either the death tree, the tree of life, the Judah tree or the tree of knowledge. Political comments abound. Some critics say that the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky is capitalist. This Marxist interpretation can be understood in the second case, given that Pozzo was blind to what was going on around them and that he was silent to protest against the treatment of Lance. The play was also understood as an allegory for French-German relations. An interesting comment argues that Lucky got his name because he was lucky in the context of the play. Because most of the play is spent to find things to do to pass the time, Lucky is lucky because the actions are definitely determined by Pozzo. Pozzo, on the other hand, is unlucky because he doesn’t just spend his time, but he has to find the things Lucky has to do (Davies and Day, Works … 20).
The play was generally regarded as an existentialist when he lived. The fact that none of the characters have an open mental history means that they are constantly fighting to prove their existence. Thus, the child who is constantly failing to remember any of the two heroes doubts the existence of their existence. So Vladimir wants to know that the child will remember them the next day. “Waiting for Godot” is part of the absurd theatre. This means it must be illogical. Absurd theatre eliminates the concepts of drama, chronological plot, logical language, themes and recognizable settings. There is also a division between the mind and the working body. Thus Vladimir represents the intelligence and the Estragon body, which cannot exist without both. This is demonstrated in the progress of dialogue and action in each of the two actions in Godot. The first thing a viewer can notice for “Waiting for Godot” is that they are immediately tuned for a comedy. The first two characters appearing on the stage are Vladimir and Estragon, wearing bowler hats and boots. These characters lend themselves to the same body types as Abbot and Costello. Vladimir is usually long and thin, and the opposite of Estragon. Each character is involved in a comedy action from the beginning of the plays. Estragon is fighting a boat that is firmly seated because he cannot lift his foot.
Vladimir is bowling because of the bladder problem. After this hit, the characters move to a comedy routine. One day in the life of two unpleasant comrades on a single tree-lined country road. Beckett achieves two things using this comedy style. This routines have a beginning and an end. According to Godot, the routine begins at the beginning of the play and finishes with a break. When the event is over, it cannot continue and the routine should be done again. This creates the second movement. The second action, although not a complete replication, is basically the first repeated action. For the audience is routinely applied again. The same chain of events: Estragon sleeps in a ditch, meets Vladimir in the tree, is visited by Pozzo and Lucky, and a child tells them that Godot will not come but they will be there the next day. This way the repetition determines the structure of the play. There is no climax in the play because the only thing that creates the conspiracy is the arrival of Godot. However, after the first performance, the audience decided that Godot would never appear. The second action doesn’t last very long before people realize that the only thing they do is to spend time. By making the second act another show of the same routine, Beckett makes us feel our own waiting and daily routine. Every day for us, but the same thing. It will certainly change the little things, but in general it seems to be living the same day many times. Another effect of repetition on Godot’s structure is the amount of characters in the play. As mentioned earlier, the play is set up like a Vaudeville routine. To maintain the integrity of the routine, the play must be based on these two characters. This leaves no room for extra characters to avoid movement. To allow the routine to be repeated, the player must only contain the required characters. The idea that two characters simply spend time is evident in the dialogue. The above-mentioned nothing to repeat is an example of repetition in the dialogue. On the first half pages of the play, the phrase is repeated four times. This means that the viewer will take the sentence. (Stout, Waiting … 12). It allows viewers to realize that all of these characters have Godot’s hope. All you can do is wait and wait until Godot gets here. The first information we learned about the characters was how he was beaten and slept in a pit. We get the feeling that this is always the case. It’s nothing new to characters. They are used to this routine. The flow of the play is based on the feeling that characters know where each day goes. They’re used to this routine. The flow of the play is based on the feeling that characters know where each day goes (Matt and Saw, Timeless … 44). The repeated silence outlines the incompetence of the rhythm. Repetition then creates the tone of the rhythm. Most of the play’s beats are a kind of repetition. The habit that controls our lives is the habit of feeding the characters in Godot. The same habit that makes Godot’s structure repetitive in itself. In the first act, events in the play may seem reasonable for viewers. It’s just a way for these two people to pass the hours of their day. The tragic humour of their situation emerges by making the second act the same routine. Estragon and Vladimir are stuck in this lifestyle. He is obliged to do more every day, because he cannot find another way to deal with their lives in order to try to get through time. All the ideas of the play and all the questions raised are highlighted by re-use. Therefore, the structure of the play dominates this single feature of the play.
At this point in the play, it was repeated many times that even Estragon knew about Godot waiting. Whenever he wanted Vladimir to go earlier, they continued the whole dialogue about why they could not go. However, this time, Estragon goes through a miniature version of this dialogue: ‘Let’s go. We can’t. Ah!’ It seems that the repetition of this dialogue finally affected Estragon’s desperate decision on the mind. (New and Bell, Works … 18). This implies that this dialogue has occurred many times before, and that the play demonstrates that Vladimir and Estragon are representative of the larger circle that defines their lives. Samuel Beckett’s most famous play “Waiting for Godot” originally written in French, but the author himself translated into English. The play became popular and translated into many foreign languages. The reason for its popularity is the fact that the play does not have a plot, but we can find many meaningful lessons in it.
- New, Melvyn, with Richard A. Davies, and W. G. Day. Waiting for Godot, Florida Edition of the Works of Samuel Beckett. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1984.
- Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot. Edited by Gardner D. Stout Jr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.
- Samuel, Beckett. Waiting for Godot. Timeless Works of Samuel Beckett. Edited by Sarah Matt and Cloe Saw. New York: University Presses of New York, 1978.
- Samuel, Beckett. Waiting for Godot. Florida Edition of the Works of Samuel Beckett. Edited by Melvyn New and Joan Bell. Gainesville : University Presses of Florida, 1978.
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