In Waiting for Godot, the present acts as a mirror reflecting infinitely into the past and the future.  Discuss the preceding statement in light of Existentialism.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the statement can be seen as valid.  In the end, there is so much within the drama's themes and the basic idea of what it means to be human, that it can fit many different reads.  The characters in the drama can be seen in this reflective mode, in that the actions they take in light of Godot coming for dinner can reflect how they have acted in the past and how they might act in the future.  The most critical element that is thrust upon them and the audience is what human beings choose to do with their freedom.  Both main characters possess a sense of freedom, and how they utilize it becomes of vital importance.  In the end, both of them end up "waiting" for something that is not entirely certain.  The Existentialist would view this as something reflective of human shortcoming. In their paralysis, the Existentialist would see the "waiting" of Vladimir and Estragon as a representation of "bad faith," the belief that transcendence can take the place of human action.  It is in this where the present paralysis becomes a mirror, something that reflects how both characters live is how they have lived and how they will live.


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