In Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, what do Vladimir and Estragon reveal about humanity?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot describe what they are doing in the play as follows:

 "But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come."

 Beckett's vision of humanity as represented by Vladimir and Estragon is one in which humanity is waiting for a saviour that never appears. But unlike a traditional religious view, Beckett's absurdist one does not presume that the saviour being awaited actually exists, or whether if he exists, he is actually a saviour. For Vladimir and Estragon, it is waiting that gives them identity and purpose, but at the same time, it makes their lives ultimately meaningless, for all they do is wait (rather than achieve anything). As is typical of Beckett's plays, this offers a rather pessimistic view of humanity, in which human existence is seen as a choice between absurd and arbitrary purpose or total aimlessness.

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Waiting for Godot

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