Samuel Becketts Waiting for Godot is a drama both amusing to watch and to read. Yet, the feeling that one walks off with in the terminal is non one of amusement, but that of little uncomfortableness. Upon closer review, one begins to detect tragic qualities neatly hidden but subconsciously blazing. One besides sees the drama labelled as a tragicomedy. In an effort to farther research this issue, I explored the research inquiry:
Department of energies Waiting for Godot contain more elements of comedy or calamity and to what stop do they lend to the drama?
In order to reply this research inquiry, an in-depth analysis of the assorted subjects present in the drama was carried out. Aspects of the drama that contributed to each subject were singled out and their several comedic and tragic elements compared by analyzing their functions and part to the subject. The probe besides extends itself into construing the writer ‘s beliefs and intents, viz. Lucky ‘s address, to analyze the tragic or comedic notes. Through my probe I concluded that there are more tragic than comedic elements in Waiting for Godot, but more accurately, Beckett veils the calamity of his drama behind temper, and uses the comedy to rise the tragic elements.
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In Waiting for Godot, a tragicomedy in two Acts of the Apostless by Samuel Beckett, two characters unconsciously express the sombre emptiness in life by amusing agencies. At face value it is amusing and blithe, yet a 2nd glimpse at the concealed metaphoric and symbolic devices reveals a out garden blooming with calamity. The two genres complement one another, temper making calamity, calamity making temper. Indeed, it is this curious coupling that qualifies the drama both in kernel and as a wordplay: a tragicomedy. At a superficial glimpse, the drama seems full of un-humanlike action and harbours an asinine sense of temper. The intended message of the motive is ill-defined and many of the characters are left concealed in darkness amidst a huge skin color of idiom that is amusing at the surface. This intimations at the impression that a thin cover of obvious comedy is utilized to mask the ultimate calamity nowadays at bosom. This calamity is carried forth via a spatter of motives, such as clip, significance and being, and God. By researching this relationship, a cohesive apprehension of the amusing and tragic elements becomes possible, leting us to decode the functions they play in the drama. As such, will clarify that Waiting for Godot does incorporate more elements of calamity, and their significance and significance are far greater than any of this drama ‘s comedic value.
In order to look into both the comedic and tragic elements, an apprehension of how they are used in concurrence is necessary. In other words, we must foremost understand what a tragicomedy entails. By definition, a tragicomedy is a dramatic work integrating both tragic and amusing elements. However, this indication does little more than repeat what we already know. In actuality, the significance of a tragicomedy has morphed over clip. It was ab initio coin by Plautus, a Roman playwright in the second century B.C.E. as a drama in which Gods and work forces, Masterss and slaves reverse the functions traditionally assigned to them, Gods and heroes moving in amusing burlesque and slaves following tragic self-respect. Then during the Renaissance, tragicomedy became a genre of drama that assorted tragic elements into play that was chiefly amusing. With the coming of pragmatism subsequently in the nineteenth century, tragicomedy underwent yet another alteration. Whilst still blending the two elements, amusing interludes now highlighted the dry counterpoints built-in in a drama, doing the calamity seem even more annihilating. In this manner, it can be said tragicomedy is a more meaningful and serious being than traditional calamity. Last, modern tragicomedy is sometimes used synonymously with Absurdist play, which suggest that laughter is the lone response left to adult male when he is faced with the tragic emptiness and nonsense of being.
The last two categorizations are the most relevant accounts and I believe them to be indistinguishable to Beckett ‘s apprehension of tragicomedy when he labelled his drama as such during his interlingual rendition. Surely, there is amusing interlude such as the treatment that occurs between Vladimir and Estragon in Act II during Pozzo ‘s calls for aid “ We should inquire him for the bone foremost. Then if he refuses we ‘ll go forth him at that place ” ( p89 ) , which highlights the tragic province that Pozzo is in through their comically serious turn about whether or non to assist him and surely at that place excessively is an geographic expedition of the emptiness and nonsense of being, which is basically the implicit in subject of the full drama.
A bleak and tragic tone permeates the ambiance at the beginning of the drama. The phase is empty aside from a bare tree and two ragged hobos, Estragon and Vladimir. The really start of the drama begins with the narrative, “ Estragon, sitting on a low hill, is seeking to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both custodies, puffing. He gives up, exhausted, remainders, attempts once more. As earlier. ” ( p2 ) . Immediately after, Estragon, who gives up yet once more, speaks the celebrated words “ Nothing to be done ” , arguably the specifying manner of the full drama. The environing fortunes of the characters emanate an foreign disjunction to the universe and leave the audience utterly perplexed and bewildered by the apparently nonexistent motivation of the characters. The tragic elements are seen in the fortunes of the characters, their physical disablements, their lost sense of clip and extreme futility, their doomed being where aa‚¬A“Nothing happens and nil can be done, aa‚¬A? and the empty phase while the amusing elements revolve around the games the characters invent, their interactions with each other, and the vaudevillian modus operandis.
Vladimir and Estragon are portrayed as homeless tramps devoid of intent, as strongly supported by their palsy, “ Well, shall we travel? Yes, allow ‘s travel. They do non travel. ” In much the same manner, other characters, such as Pozzo and Lucky, are characterized excessively as adrift braces, symbolized by their hearing loss and mutism in Act II “ … Pozzo is unsighted… ” ( p87 ) . From merely analyzing the characters, we can see that they, like all human existences, have the potency to go “ better ” characters with “ better ” common sense. Our definition of normal and expected human behavior may merely every bit good be non-applicable to the scene of the drama, therefore the use of “ better ” is questionable. Our expected definition of calamity may be a derivation of our ain experiences. When person falls into a state of affairs that, as a consequence of social conformation, causes us to develop certain emotions, we feel for their loss or bad luck. However, the context of “ Waiting for Godot ” places us in a kingdom so unwanted, because underneath the initial knowing comedy lies a dimension of calamity that we can non clearly relate to, specifying itself as delusional even to the point of going upseting. The inane duologue and personalities of the drama ‘s topics sets a state of affairs so freakish that the bounds of analysis must be broadened to accept such thoughts of human behavior before it is possible to understand Beckett ‘s message and embrace the thought that one can be so unresponsive to an seemingly endless delay. By capitalising on the fixed positions of the audience, their actions become an absurd comedy that contributes to the tragic tone of the full drama.
The unchanging “ Nothing to be done ” ( p2 ) reinforces weakness and arrant despair in stead of the supporters. Their physical disablements are the tragic fortunes that baffles the audience and while doing us laugh, shows us the nonsense of their being, such as Vladimir ‘s vesica jobs, hinted at when “ progressing with short, stiff paces, legs broad apart ” ( p2 ) , and Estragon ‘s battles with his pess, disturbed remainder, and maltreatment by persons he has no memory of, passing the dark “ in a ditch ” and claims that “ ‘they ‘ round me ” , where ‘they ‘ is ne’er identified Such duologue can be labelled every bit tragic as their ain distinguishable personalities and personal jobs lead to the original, chief point that comedy simply shrouds the calamity.
An first-class illustration of such a scenario can be seen on ( p85 ) when Vladimir and Estragon spontaneously break out into consentaneous, unprecedented statement and grade each other with abuses such as “ Pompous ape! ” and “ Meticulous Hog! ” After the raillery, “ They embrace. They separate. ” ( p86 ) . While at the surface this scene may be deemed comedic due to the self-generated effusion, if we bring ourselves to look past this, we see that it is tragic when they reconcile. The calamity exists in their relationship. They both agree that each would be better off entirely, as Estragon says “ You piss better when I ‘m non at that place. ” ( p64 ) and Vladimir answers, “ I missed you… and at the same clip I was happy. ” ( p64 ) . Despite this, they continue to remain together, non cognizing why. Because of this, it can be said that it is tragic how Vladimir and Estragon have no control over themselves nor the external factors impacting them. What is even more tragic is the futility of their delay. The fact that Godot does non of all time arrive and that nil is achieved with the apparent passing of clip as symbolized on ( p62 ) by the statement that “ The tree has four or five foliages ” define the apparently nonsense of their “ end ” . This thought of everlastingly unproductive advancement proves to expose a tragic image in the heads of the audience.
Right after this scene is another merely as tragic at bosom. Tarragon Begins by oppugning, “ What do we make now? ” ( p86 ) to which Vladimir responds “ We could make our exercisings ” ( p86 ) . This is followed by a series of overdone actions and comically tyres Estragon out after a simple hop “ That ‘s adequate, I ‘m tired. ” ( p86 ) . This one time once more shows their inability to make what they want, an thought that is visited one time more at the terminal of the drama on ( p109 ) when Vladimir inquiries, “ Well? Shall we go? ” to which Estragon responds, “ Yes, allow ‘s travel. ” but both do non travel. This inability to carry through such simple actions can be deemed tragic, and inquiries the intent of their being. “ We ever find something, eh Didi, to give us the feeling we exist? ” ( p77 ) . Note that Estragon uses the word feeling, connoting that they are cognizant of the nonsense and futility of their delay. Something must go on yet nil must go on when waiting and Beckett skillfully achieves this balance. It is non merely the general act of waiting that is tragic, but besides the things Estragon and Vladimir do during their delay that is tragic. True to the kernel of the drama, many of the amusing actions are paired with calamity. The two abuse each other and so accommodate. “ Vermin! Abortion! … Now let ‘s do up! … “ ( p85 ) and is rather amusive, except that we one time once more overlook the calamity: throwing abuses at each other because they have nil to make. Vladimir loses his sense of clip, a repeating motive, after holding regained a spot of it “ You ‘re certain you saw me, you wo n’t come and state me tomorrow that you ne’er saw me! ” ( p106 ) and “ Was I long asleep? I do n’t cognize. ” ( p107 ) . His uncertainness is humourous, but the same uncertainness creates a sense of confusion. What this battalion of illustrations signify is world ‘s unlimited hunt for significance, to which Beckett believes leads nowhere but calamity, and that comedy, imbued with calamity, is tragedy itself. Through this, human life, its significance and being, as displayed in Waiting for Godot, concludes in calamity.
Vladimir and Estragon are non the lone characters used to show calamity. Another brace exists, and they play merely as important a function as the others. Pozzo and Lucky are portrayed in such a manner that it is difficult to conceive of that Lucky was one time Pozzo ‘s wise man, and is now treated like a slave. Masters and break one’s back reversed the functions traditionally assigned to them. He is depicted as the most intellectually asinine character, yet it is suggested that he has a past which intimations at the fact that Lucky can believe, declaim, and sing, strongly reinforced by his lengthy, confounding, and about absurd address: “ Given the being… unfinished… ” ( p45-47 ) . However, I find it dubious that Beckett would give so much text into a address if its sole intent was to confound. Lucky ‘s address reveals that he must hold spent many hours researching the distressing human state of affairs. By meticulously interrupting down Lucky ‘s effusion, one will see that, merely as Beckett has hidden calamity inside comedy, there is a deeper significance concealed within the address and its intent is non entirely comedic.
Reasonably speech production, Lucky ‘s address during the drama appears wholly disoriented, a helter-skelter mass of incoherent linguistic communication, given the short sum of clip the audience has to treat each clause. But traveling past this amusing head covering of bunk, a dramatic building put together every bit meticulously as the drama itself materializes. The address has three distinguishable parts. The first portion of the soliloquy begins by presuming the being of a God as a given and so depicting him. Removing excess phrases, we get approximately “ … with white face fungus… outside clip without extension who… loves us in a heartfelt way with some exclusions for grounds unknown… are plunged in torture… in fire… whose fire… will fire celestial sphere that is to state blast snake pit to heaven so bluish still and quiet… ” ( p45 ) God is described as a self-contradictory fatherlike figure ever present regardless of clip, whom may be fond, but at the same clip provinces that if it is, many are excluded. That those existences are sent into snake pit, typifying Earth, into fire, whose fire will destruct the blue and unagitated vault of the sky ( celestial sphere ) , which is a contrast between peace and human agony. Then there excessively is the reference of Godhead apathia, Godhead athambia, and godly aphasia. Divine refers to God. Apathia is apathy and means the absence of passion, emotion, or exhilaration. Athambia is coolness, to be incapable of being upset or agitated and non easy excited, and aphasia is an inability to voice. These three Hellenic words serve three intents. The first is that they have characterized the helplessness of Christianity as a modern faith. God is apathetic: he does non step in. God is unflappable: he has ne’er been reached by life worlds. And God is aphasic: he has ne’er spoken, even to turn out his really ain being. In this sense, Lucky, who in this instance represents the literary incarnation of Beckett, is rejecting the being of a God, by saying that even if he did be, he has abandoned us, go forthing merely desperation.
The three words besides serve as Beckett ‘s position on what the way society as a whole is headed towards. That we are bit by bit going wrapped in apathy: we do non seek out others ; wrapped in athambia: others are unable to make us ; and wrapped in aphasia: there is no more voice, with the coming of Internet and societal communications/networking. Finally, the three words describe Lucky ‘s impairment. It expresses, in bend, his deficiency of emotion, followed by an unmindful consciousness of his milieus, and in conclusion, when we following meet him, his voice. This possibly, serves as a metaphor for the diminution in the human quality, dismaying and shocking. It would look so, that this first portion of Lucky ‘s address hides a drab and tragic tone underneath the downpour of disorientated words.
The 2nd portion of his address becomes progressively hard to decode. There are many more breaks and repeat of phrasing, befoging the message. This possibly may be on purpose, as Beckett could be showing the repetitiousness of life and its deficiency of significance. Condensing repeating phrases and taking breaks, I get “ and sing what is more that as a consequence of the labor left unfinished… the labors of work forces… established beyond all uncertainty… that adult male… wastes and pines… in malice of..the pattern of athleticss… of all kinds… at the same time… clip will state… fades off… the decease of Bishop Berkeley being to the melody of one inch four ounce per caput… no affair what… the facts are at that place ” ( p45-46 ) The message here says that, to add onto the absence of God as antecedently stated ( hence labours unfinished ) , it is confirmed, without a uncertainty, that adult male is in a province of diminution, despite technological promotions ( labors of work forces ) and physical exercising ( pattern of athleticss ) . Bishop Berkeley ‘s decease marked the beginning of this autumn. With all this go oning at one time, lone clip will state when we will finally melt off. Lucky efforts in his address to convey back Berkeley ‘s harmonisation of God and scientific discipline, but ends up making the antonym. By tie ining each caput with “ one inch four ounce ” , it quantifies life and hence devalues worlds, easy cut downing us to an deplorable province. It becomes evident that the comedy of Lucky ‘s velocity is merely a screen up, the existent message is an appalling and tragic commentary on human advancement.
The increased information in Lucky ‘s address is brooding of his life. He was one time really rational and had great mental capacity, but merely like adult male, has degraded. This 3rd and concluding portion of his address can merely be described as helter-skelter and dying, constructing up towards a flood tide. “ and sing what is much more sedate that in the visible radiation of the labor lost… in the fields in the mountains by the seas by the rivers… running fire… the great cold the great dark… the earth residence of rocks… I resume the skull attenuation… the fires the cryings the rocks… the skull the skull the skull the skull… alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull… the rocks… so unagitated… unfinished… ” ( p46-47 ) These thoughts explain that as a consequence of this diminution ( labours lost ) , sedate effects appear, in the fields, mountains, seas, and rivers. Runing fire symbolizes widespread pandemonium, followed by cold desolate desperation, entirely. The Earth becomes reduced to rocks, and skulls, stand foring the decease of work forces, wastes off. Chaos cryings through the Earth, and decease is rampant. As God has abandoned work forces, left them unfinished, decease continues on Earth, and there is unagitated because – unfinished. He is cut off with “ unfinished ” as his last word, mentioning to the uncomplete address and shrinkage of world. With the decision of the concluding portion of Lucky ‘s address, it becomes evident that while it so fulfills its function as diverting temper, the true significance is cataclysmal, and the fact that we are express joying at it is dramatically dry.
Lucky ‘s address has much to make with clip, with good ground. The drama contains a series of events where clip seems to be traveling at a crawl, if at all. It is something much more complicated than it may look. On the surface, clip is a numerical in which growing is measured. On a much deeper degree, clip can be really hard to specify. Throughout the drama, the chief construct of what clip truly is, is examined.
In the context of what has happened or what will go on, clip can be classified as good or bad. In Waiting for Godot, the emphasis of waiting makes clip retarding force. If clip is what growing is measured by, if nil alterations, did clip truly go through? Within the drama, we await alteration, waiting for Godot. However in world, things change as a invariable, where we do non recognize we are waiting. It is merely when alteration is slow to come when we realize that we are in a province of inactivity. It is during this realisation that brings a beginning of hurting to the person. Vladimir and Estragon invariably strive to be self-generated and dynamic in order to guarantee alteration, but ever come to the inevitable realisation that they were waiting. Characteristic of the drama, we frequently hear them say “ Let ‘s travel. We ca n’t. Why non? We ‘re waiting for Godot. ” It is amusing how Estragon seems to bury their intent, and is invariably reminded, but more significantly, this shows their sudden realisation of their expectancy of alteration. Yet Godot himself ne’er appears in the drama. His individuality is irrelevant, what is of import is the act of waiting for person or something that ne’er arrives. He is the kernel of alteration and a concluding solution. The repeat of his name impresses upon the audience the same feeling of expectancy. It is tragic as the drama concludes that Godot ne’er does demo up, showing that the two Acts of the Apostless are but a piece of a rhythm, or of two mirrors reflecting infinitely. The terminal of the drama can be matched to the beginning. Nothing has changed, small character development is made and what small alterations that have occurred have reverted back to original, such as Vladimir ‘s epiphany in which he proclaims: “ Let us non blow our clip in idle discourse! … ” P ( 91 ) and coerces the audience into believing that possibly, eventually, some gloss of development will look. Alas, the powerful monologue reaches an anticlimax, interrupted by the changeless alteration of subject inherent in the drama. Time appears to be round, as opposed to linear. The latter has broken down, because events do non develop into advancement and alteration. The male child returns bearing indistinguishable messages, Godot ne’er comes and tomorrow ne’er seems to get. Vladimir references that “ clip has stopped ” ( p37 ) .
Estragon and Vladimir, during their finite being, are traveling unrelentingly towards a presumptively inaccessible event. It is like an asymptotic curve, ever acquiring closer to a value, but ne’er making it. Estragon expresses this tragic destiny of uneventful insistent being as he exclaims, “ Nothing happens, cipher comes, cipher goes, it ‘s atrocious! ” ( p43 ) . The realisation that there will ne’er be an terminal to the waiting is grounds for their contemplation of self-destruction, as Estragon says, “ What about hanging ourselves? ” ( p12 ) . Once the audience has grasped this, a overplus of thoughts emerge. Some are linked to other subjects in the drama, such as the meaningless in waiting, because it stops clip and advancement, whilst the repeat of the scene emphasizes the repeat of life. Therefore as we have seen, while the drama maintains a humourous shell, as it progresses, the audience begins to experience sympathetic. The clip that Vladimir and Estragon spent together was comedic, but after skining apart this shell and uncovering to us their consciousness, devoid of clip, we will happen naught but woebegone torment.
The comedy nowadays in Waiting for Godot turns into calamity at the case the audience understands the weakness of Vladimir and Estragon. Unhappiness is one of the funniest things we as worlds see, but at the same clip, it is despairing. The manner Pozzo treats Lucky is screaming, to both the reader and audience. Lucky is invariably jerked around by his rope and this overdone action creates humour, but at the same clip, we overlook the inhuman treatment that is so evidently implied. It is tragic how we so readily accepted this intervention, and as the drama continues, laugh at it even more. This signifies a portion of Beckett ‘s position of human nature, that it is non until it becomes personal do we get down caring about the tragic tones and deductions.
Comedy has been suppressed by the tragic elements. The drama becomes a calamity imbued with calamities. The little, easy noticed tragic occurrences contribute to a greater, deeper desperation. Such as Estragon proposing decease as an flight. It is sad to see one suggest such a thing, yet it is besides amusing because of the casual blithe manner he suggests it, every bit good as the conversation that ensues. The two hobos engage in meaningless, pointless activity to go through the clip, waiting for something that ne’er comes. This absurdness is a cardinal beginning of calamity. However, what is truly tragic is that in the terminal, they are unable to do a determination, to populate or decease and as a consequence of this vacillation, are everlastingly frozen in advancement. This basically shows their palsy of clip and continuity. Didi and Gogo are stuck, twenty-four hours in twenty-four hours out, waiting for Godot to no help. This act of waiting is the really thing Beckett is seeking to portray. It is merely during oversights in action, where we are waiting, that we begin to recognize the nonsense of what we are making. An overpowering sense of desperation washes over the audience in this minute of realisation, and all sense of temper is gone. All that is left is a mixture of anxiousness, confusion, and hopelessness.