Explain Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot, as tragicomedy.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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By definition, a Tragicomedy is a play that employs a plot suitable to tragedy but ends happily like a comedy.  The action seems to be leading to a tragic catastrophe until the unexpected turn of events bring about the happy ending.

Beckett himself called this play a tragicomedy in two acts mostly because of the black humor--humor caused by something truly painful.

With Waiting for Godot, we have what's called Theatre of the Absurd.  This type of drama focuses on a view of the absurdity of the human condition by abandoning usual or rational devices.  The form is usually nonrealistic.  Two old friends are waiting by a tree for a man named Godot to come along.  We never meet Godot, but we exist as the men do--sitting, listening to their conversation about how bleak their lives are and why didn't they kill themselves years ago before things got so bad.  A boy comes to tell them Godot will not be coming, and still they sit.

Once you get over the initial boredom of the play, you realize that it is very funny.  Nothing really happens--just events they recall through conversation.  However, no one dies, either, which is usually the sign of a tragedy.

 

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