Godot's character is often thought to refer to God, how and why does it cause a change in the play's title and subject to Waiting for Godot?His name is often thought to refer to God, changing the...

Godot's character is often thought to refer to God, how and why does it cause a change in the play's title and subject to Waiting for Godot?

His name is often thought to refer to God, changing the plays title and subject to Waiting for Godot.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The idea of wating for someone or something to provide answers or meaning is a vibrant element in Beckett's work.  For his own part, Beckett himself vehemently denied that Godot represents God.  Yet, the notion of waiting or not taking action in the hopes of something else to arrive and alleviate the pain of choice is present in the work.  If we see Godot as a "God"- like character, or if we see him as symbolic of another force of totality which will allow individuals to place their own faith in order to alleviate the agony of freedom and decisions, we can understand the statement that Beckett is making:  The human condition is one fraught with pain and insecurity, and little, if anything, can prevent such realities.  The best one can do is seek to minimize the paralyzing effect of such realities.  Godot is seen as something upon which we, as individuals, pin our hopes, fully aware that little, if anything, may materialize.  The recognition of this might allow us to better understand both our selves and our decisions, accomplishing the true meaning, according to Beckett, of the play:  "Symbiosis."

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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To read Beckett's Godot as God and Kafka's Dog as God, I think, is an exercise in symbolist heresy. Most of the 20th century literture, especially the literature of its second half, militates against the symbolic and redefines the symbol as surface, as a literal object-state, a movement which sees its culmination in the postmodernist idea of the symbol as simulation. One must remember the addenda in Beckett's Watt--"No symbols where none intended".

The word-play of Godot is an enticement, better put a seduction of the symbolic. As Beckett said, if he had God in mind, he would have written God, but he does not. It is this similarity between God and Godot on the level of the signifier that implies their difference. The Z is almost the S, but not quite and this slippage is crucial. Symbolic meanings, especially those of a religious order (The Cross-shapes, The Fall, Augustinian and Biblical echoes, the theme damnation and redemption and so on) are inserted into the text deliberately to create a religious paradigm of interpretation and thus a fixing of the possibilities of the text, which is a paradoxic authorial intent on Beckett's part. Can we not see Godot as a real-point of pure loss and absence that lies beyond all the symbolic layers of language and all the imaginary shapes of interpretation?

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