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To what extent is social awareness important in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot?

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schocold | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM via web

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To what extent is social awareness important in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot, is not really a play focussed on social awareness in the sense of the works of Brecht or Ibsen or Shaw, who were immediately concerned with general problems in society. Instead, Beckett's "theatre of the absurd" is more focussed on individual existential issues, especially the death of God. As the title suggests, the characters are like people waiting for a Messiah or second coming which is indefinitely deferred. The setting in a landscape empty except for a single tree suggests that realistic social commentary will not be offered.

Two aspects of social relationships do enter into the play. The first is friendship, especially between Vladimir and Estragon, and the second the master-slave relationship between Pozzo and Lucky, with the former, a relationship of equality, appearing superior to the inequalities (both before and after the reversal) of the latter.

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