Subject: History
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 1
Post-World War II Theatre brought in many more forms of theatre. One such form was called Theatre of the Absurd, which basically is defined by its title - theatre that is not what people would normally expect. It's unusual, different and, at times...yes, absurd. Of course, it wasn't just Albert Camus or Samuel Beckett that was writing for this new kind of theatre experience. More traditional writers, like Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, were taking the same concept and bringing it to their works. For this journal assignment, read the play Waiting for Godot (a link to both parts is provided below and is also found under the button Readings/Links) or watch the full play on YouTube (link below and also found under Videos/Link) to better understand what this kind of theatre was all about (i.e. the dialogue, theme or message). It's absurd alright, but what is it about? Also, view the additional clip - Waiting for Elmo - to see just how influential this play was. For your journal, answer the following question: what should the audience patron, who is seeing this kind of theatre supposed to think when they leave the theatre? (what is it about? war, humanity, religion?) include your own thoughts and interpretations of this new style of theatre

Waiting for Godot   

The play, Waiting for Godot has two acts, the first act begins on an old country road along a tree, it is in the evening hours, and Estragon, an old man, is seated on a small mound attempting to unlace his boots. Vladimir, another old man, joins Estragon. The two old men have known each other previously, although they were once well off and properly established now they are debilitated, homeless and depressed. In the conversation between Estragon and Vladimir, they ask each other why they did not kill themselves earlier to escape all the misery that would befall them. The two old men under the tree beside the road wait for someone called Godot. While Estragon and Vladimir wait, two men pass by, a master and his slave, the master commands the slave to entertain the others. The master and the slave depart when a boy comes and tells the two old men that Godot will be delayed. The second scene opens in a similar manner to the first, Estragon and Vladimir continue to wait and in the process interact with a series of characters passing by the road. At the end of the second scene, the boy arrives and gives a similar message that Godot will come tomorrow, Estragon and Vladimir continue to wait as before.

       An audience patron, having come from this play will be mesmerized by the unusual nature of the play. Unlike other plays, Waiting for Godot has no relatable characters and seemingly pointless dialogue. The play invites the audience patron to think further about the philosophical underpinnings of the play and the meaning of Estragon and Vladimir’s long wait for Godot (Wang, 2011).

     The play waiting for Godot is about hope. Estragon and Vladimir in their exhausting wait for Godot represent hope. The master and the slave who encounter the two old men in their wait represent salvation; they help Estragon and Vladimir forget the reality of their miserable existence and give them hope in their pitiful wait. Samuel Beckett wrote the play when he was in his forties, a time when had not yet accomplished much; the play is a way of expressing his hope for a more promising future (Rugen & Beckett, 1983).

        Waiting for Godot is absurd because unlike other plays, it has a very loosely constructed plot and its characters mainly Estragon and Vladimir engage in an incoherent colloquy. Beckett shatters the expectation of the audience but at the same time, he captures their imagination with his play, devoid of characterization and motivation. Absurdist plays force one to focus on the deeper meaning of the play because the face of it does not make sense.

References, (2016). Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd. Retrieved 11 February 2016, from

Rugen, B., & Beckett, S. (1983). Waiting for Godot. Theatre Journal35(3), 418.

Wang, J. (2011). The Religious Meaning in Waiting for Godot. English Language Teaching4(1).

Zinn, H., & Beckett, S. (1955). Waiting for Godot. Books Abroad29(3), 299.