Human Condition Expressed in Waiting for Godot
Class 106 Jenny 201010010608
The war caused disaster to the world, at the same time, caused people’s heart
deeply hurt. In this play, the irrational structure, illogical language, stage imagery of simile and characters with tortile personality made the audience who suffered from war peep into the pain and absurd of life.
Development and Demonstration
First of all, the plot of this play is absurdist without beginning and ending. We have no idea where Gege and Didi came from and why they waited for Godot. The entire content plot was taken the place of character's boring little affectations, incoherent nagging and vague and fragmented small stories and sideshows. Taking off his boots, looking into it, stretching out his hand to touch and then wearing it. Shaking the hat, knocking on the top, blowing into the hat and then putting it on. All of these were full of fun and boredom. Gege and Didi were together for the whole day, but when meeting the next day, they didn't know each other. Just after one night, the trees grew leaves, Pozzo became blind and Lucky became mute. The heavy box, which Lucky set around his neck for his master everyday, contained sand. It showed only two evenings, but the following day was unknown. Godot asked the boy to send a message that he would come tomorrow, but never come. Disappointed Gege and Didi wanted to commit suicide by hanging, but failed. They always said going, but never put into action. Messy and absurd content and plot showed the absurdity of living and that of life.
The play highlights the disillusionment of the westerners, the planless life and the endless cycling from different aspects. The time, location and content of the first and second acts were quite the same—— in the evening, on the empty field, two
people appeared, after a lengthy conversation, here came the employer and employee, and then came the boy with a message. Especially the content of these two acts were almost the same. We can imagine that if there were third act and fourth act, they must repeat the first two acts. All of these showed people's monotonous and rigid situation and people's suffering from endless torment.
Secondly, the language was absurdist. Dialogue and monologue were snafus and nonsense, and were full of absurdity, which made this drama seem funny and confusing. For example, at the beginning, Gege and Didi respectively mumbled their pain, which were nagging and irrelevant. Lucky, who was called "pig" by his master, suddenly wrathfully spoke up. His long and meaningless nonsense made people confused. All of these showed that living in such a world of non-rationalization, dehumanization, people lost the essential strength, which meant that he had no free will and thinking personality, then he would lose ability of language, of course.
However, characters' language sometimes contained philosophy, revealed characters' true feelings toward the absurd world and painful life. For example, when they were so bored that they decided to hang themselves: “ESTRAGON: Let's hang
VLADIMIR: From a bough? (They go towards the tree.) I wouldn't trust it.
ESTRAGON: We can always try.
VLADIMIR: Go ahead.
ESTRAGON: After you.
VLADIMIR: No no, you first.
ESTRAGON: Why me?
VLADIMIR: You're lighter than I am.
ESTRAGON: Just so!
VLADIMIR: I don't understand.
ESTRAGON: Use your intelligence, can't you?
Vladimir uses his intelligence.
VLADIMIR: (finally.) I remain in the dark.
ESTRAGON: This is how it is. (He reflects.) The bough... the bough...(Angrily.) Use
your head, can't you?
VLADIMIR: You're my only hope.
ESTRAGON: (with effort.) Gogo light—bough not break—Gogo dead. Didi
heavy—bough break—Didi alone. Whereas—” (p.9). These words seemed to be
nonsense, but actually had deep meanings and contained philosophy: even to the point of despair, no one wants to die first. Man seems an idiot, but, as a matter of fact, is very sober. As some critics said, the language of this play exactly showed the characters' inner consciousness and really showed the specific roles' mental state and thought. The vivid and exaggerated use of characters' weird language constituted unique emotional information of stage and transmitted the highlighted absurd features of absurdist play.
Thirdly, meanings and symbols. The theme of this play is "waiting". The significance of the waiting is meaningless life. This is human's survival conditions in the ridiculous concept. That is lack of significance. Vladimir and Estragon symbolized the people who lived in misery after the war. Human beings, as the pillar of the social existence, had already reached the point where they cannot survive in the malformed developed capitalist society, especially in the postwar western society. Society's evil and disaster made the loss of personality and the destruction of individuality. Society had become a world which was not suitable for human's habitation. They just lived under a tree without leaves or fruit in the wilderness. "Living in empty!" They were in an embarrassing position that they could not live or die. Clearly knowing that Godot would not come, they still waited, waited to die and wither away.
"Waiting for Godot", a representative of absurdist play, reflected the meaningless of life and the absurd thought of existing. People, at that time, mostly lived in the shadow of death and crazy. They suffered the pain without glory and wisdom. They were typical waiting men who were waiting hopefully and patiently. However, the more pious they were, the more despaired they would be, which indicated the absurdity of hope, and even that of reason.