Are there any similarities between Waiting for Godot and King Lear?Mainly to do with the "tragic vision."
The previous post is quite lucid. I would like to add a thematic note to the topic. I think that the essence of both works is the idea that the notion of an external structure of order and justice might be lacking in the modern setting. Part of Lear's own downfall is the sense of what he believes in terms of right and wrong should be mirrored in the universe. Lear pays dearly for this mistake, namely that there is only human action in the external world and this, by no means, is a guarantee for justice. Beckett's work might be mirroring the same element in terms of there being a lack of moral structure to the world. The tragic vision that seems to be echoed in both works is the idea of absence where presence should be. Lear believes that there is an order which will permit him to be loved and revered by his children. What should be is not nearly what is. Vladimir and Estagon dutifully wait for Godot only to be deferred for another evening. Here again, what should be is not what is. In both, the tragic visions might be dealing with the chasm between former and latter.
There’s a good article by Normand Berlin on this at http://www.samuel-beckett.net/BerlinTraffic.html:
Berlin states (1999) that in King Lear “Shakespeare gives us an old man, powerless, lonely, an outcast in a bare landscape, filled with anguish and questions, journeying toward death. He gives us another old man, Gloucester, blind, dependent, suicidal. He gives us a young man, Edgar, disguised as a Tom o' Bedlam, naked, exposed, searching for a hovel to sleep in. (Vladimir says "admiringly" to Estragon, who luckily found a place to sleep last night, "A ditch?") It wouldn't surprise us if King Lear and the Fool-wandering on that barren heath, a landscape of life at the edge-met Didi and Gogo, and perhaps they do, in the persons of Pozzo and Lucky (para 20).
Berlin, N (1999). Traffic of our stage: Why Waiting for Godot?
The Massachusetts Review.Retrieved Novemberr 29, 2009 from http://www.samuel- beckett.net/BerlinTraffic.html