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I am unable to think of why Waiting for Godot is considered an "absurd" play. Is...

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user1450001 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM via web

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I am unable to think of why Waiting for Godot is considered an "absurd" play. Is it due to the structure or construction of this play? Because I don't feel any absurdity in this play as far as the theme or the philosophy of this play is concerned.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 21, 2013 at 4:48 PM (Answer #1)

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Here’s the scoop on Godot:  This play’s greatness lies in its performance, not in its reading as literature, because it actually performs the act of “waiting” – Martin Esslin, in Theatre of the Absurd, put it in that vague category “absurd” by which he meant not the regular logical psychological-social dilemmas of regular drama, not a “story” about humans in conflict with each other.  He was trying to find a way of talking about all the new drama of Ionesco, Sartre, Kopit, etc. etc., all of whom were using the stage and the theatrical art to show the human condition called “existentialism" – the notion that Mankind was not “invented” or designed by some higher power.  The implications of existentialism (existence precedes essence) are that we (Mankind) invent ourselves – that every time we choose one action over another we are adding to who we are – Hitler, Mohatma Ghandi, Joe Doakes, etc. – that our moral instruction is “Choose; that is, invent.”  Others are better at explaining existentialism than I am (read “Existentialism and Human Emotion” by Sartre), but my point is that Godot is a play that imitates in stage language (timing, proxemics, props, costume, etc.) the action of all of us, waiting for a “task” that will give us purpose, direction, meaning.  Beckett’s dramaturgy is pairing (one of the first plays to use two acts instead of three, for instance), pairing Gogo and Didi (head and body), hat and boot, Lucky and Pozzo, etc.  Note the boy(s) at the end of each act:  “You did see us, didn’t you?  You won’t come back tomorrow and say you didn’t see us!”  Isn’t that what we all want?  To be noticed; to have “been here”? 

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user4992471 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:07 AM (Answer #6)

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good question 

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