Discuss Waiting for Godot as a religious/biblical allusion play.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beckett himself argued that the play was not to be read as a statement about God.  Yet, there is much here to suggest an overall statement about the nature of totality or transcendence is being rendered.  Put aside the concept of the word, "God," in "Godot."  When we examine the play of the characters waiting for something that ends up causing them paralysis in hoping for an arrival, there is some element of seeking out transcendence to substitute for human action.  Throughout the play, Vladimir and Estragon speak to taking action, articulate the condition of freedom in which they are immersed, yet this analysis and experience is stunted because of the need to "wait."  The implication here is that while individuals might possess the vocabulary or experiences to suggest otherwise, the faith in transcendence or an overarching meaning is one where individuals lose their capacity for taking action in the hopes of waiting.  It is this paralysis that Beckett might be criticizing.  Certainly, the idea of a divine power providing resolution to the pain of human consciousness, to the fragmented nature of mortality (something powerfully evoked through the form of the play), and the idea that there could be something to render answers so that human action is not needed are all elements that help to bring out a great deal of religious discourse from Beckett's work.  There is a profound post modern distrust of anything that can provide transcendental relief, as the belief in the play is that we can only hope to obtain figments and fragments that might be of use in guiding us.  In the end, though, we are left despondent in our isolation, without anything to provide immediate sanctuary.  The best we can do is simply that, the best we can do.  The answers, if there are any, are nothing more than exercises that consist of waiting for a dinner guest who will not arrive.