Waiting for Godot Expresses the Existential Theme of Absurdity (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Samuel Beckett’s controversial play Waiting for Godot broke with traditional dramatic forms by introducing the theme of nothingness and by innovating the techniques of the Theater of the Absurd.
Summary of Event
Waiting for Godot, an avant-garde tragicomic play, was written by Samuel Beckett between 1947 and 1949, published as En attendant Godot in 1952. First performed on January 5, 1953, in Paris, the play soon gained worldwide attention, as did Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd. The play’s immediate reception ranged from boredom and disgust to wild enthusiasm. The Paris production was championed by many critics as a revolutionary breakthrough in modern drama.
The first review of the Paris production, by Sylvain Zegel, was representative. He predicted that the play would be discussed for a long time. Zegel described the play as “an inexplicable miracle” and heralded Beckett as “one of today’s best playwrights.” Zegel sensed that the two tramps in the play represented all of humanity and that audience members had been confronted with a deep image of their own emptiness. Many reviewers after Zegel amplified on the manner in which Waiting for Godot contains universal existential dilemmas, surreal communications, and a consciousness-raising confrontation of the audience’s own self-deception.
Many critics and audience members found the...
(The entire section is 2265 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!