Would you agree/disagree that the friendship and co-dependence of Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot undermines an existentialist reading of the play?
No, it does not undermine it. In fact, it probably helps to accentuate the human need for connection in the process of determining whether life is worth living, or not.
If you apply Albert Bandura's theory of Social Learning, as well as Vygotsky's constructivist theory to existentialism, you realize that the process of self-realization does require a lot of external communication. Otherwise, how would you be able to know what is real, what is important, and what is truly worth living for?
Through the inherent need for human bonding we learn to shape who we are, and we determine what exactly is our role within our circumstances.
If you look closely, Vladimir and Estragon feed each other's lives. Even when depression and suicide thoughts lurk beneath, they operate together to think as one, and they support each other somewhat in the wait for Godot.
That is what existentialism is about, in preserving the question of what life's meaning is. It has little to do with communicating with others. In fact, it is in the process of understanding existence (namely, other people's) that we learn to understand our own.
The apparently circumstantial nature of the friendship seems perfectly in line with existentist ideas of:
- The necessity of constructing meaning from what you are given and from experience. (They create a friendship based on circumstance alone.)
- The lack of any deeper emotional connection, or any pre-existing spiritual connection, beyond the mere circumstances that have thrust the two together.
There is room for disagreement on this one, but that is how I read the play.