What evidence is there that the act of Waiting for Godot reflects a stupid, pathetic, and tasteless culture?

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

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This might be a bit on the harsh side.  Certainly, its sentiments are evident in the play.  I think that Beckett is trying to make a statement about the human predicament.  So much of human endeavor is ascribed to have "meaning."  These are endeavors to which there has been an immense amount of attention and stress paid.  These are seen to have and hold a great deal of "meaning."  However, when viewed in different contexts, they have as much puspose as Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot.  It is in this where the endeavors that are deemed as important by culture and society might have to be examined in a more meaningful context:

Those [the themes in the play] that are readily apparent include the issues of absurdity, alienation and loneliness, appearance and reality, death, doubt and ambiguity, time, the meaning of life, language and meaning, and the search for self. But one theme that encompasses many of these at once is the question of the human condition—who are we as humans and what is our short life on this planet really like?

I think that Beckett is trying to pose a question about what we do as human beings and how those values that are deemed important by cultural or social standards might be meaningless, in a larger context.  The emphasis on materialism, self- centered notions of power and success, as well as the driving towards culturally accepted notions of the good could be where some level of examination is needed.  In the end, this becomes one of the fundamental premises of the play.  The practices that seem to be taken as a part of cultural acceptance might have to be examined and assessed as meaningful.  It is in this where the play might be suggesting that the idea of "waiting for Godot" along with other culturally accepted, yet unquestioned practices, help to constitute elements that define futility.

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