Waiting For Godot Essay, Research Paper
Existentialists believe, in short, that life is pointless and man petty and miserable. Though existentialism covers many topics the beliefs about religion remain some of the more notable. Samuel Beckett embraces the idea that religion is absurd, irrational and pointless. He portrays those views through his play Waiting For Godot. Beckett uses the characters in Waiting For Godot to depict his satirical, existentialist views on religion.
Beckett uses Godot as a vengeful savior to Estragon and Vladimir. Just as one goes to hell for betraying God Estragon and Vladimir receive punishment for betraying Godot.
Estragon: And what if we dropped him? (Pause) If we dropped him?
Vladimir: He’d punish us.
In the same way, one may acquire the gift of heaven for obeying God and Estragon and Vladimir shall receive a reward for their obedience to Godot.
Vladimir: Unless Godot comes.
Estragon: And if he comes?
Vladimir: We will be saved.
In addition, Beckett satirizes human behavior in the absence of God through the actions of Estragon and Vladimir in the absence of Godot.
Estragon: That’s all a pack of lies! (Shaking the boy by the arm.) Tell us the truth!
Boy: (Trembling) But it is the truth sir!
Vladimir: What’s the matter with you?
Estragon: I’m unhappy.
The messenger boy represent the enlightened. Beckett makes a distinct parallel between the boy and God’s angles. The boy portrays a prophet sent directly from Godot to inform Vladimir, or the clergy, how to lead Estragon, or the people of the church.
Vladimir: You have a message from Godot?
Boy: Yes sir.
Vladimir: Well, what is it?….
Boy: Mr. Godot told me to tell you he won’t come this evening but surely To- morrow.
The boy also plays the only one to ever see or have any direct contact with Godot.
Vladimir: You work for Mr. Godot?….
Boy: Yes sir. What am I to tell Mr. Godot sir ?
Vladimir: Tell him…(He hesitates.)…tell him you saw us.
Beckett uses Lucky and Pozzo to show man’s inability to see his own absurd behavior. Estragon and Vladimir think Pozzo’s conduct strange, and his treatment of Lucky inhumane. They fail to see themselves and Godot’s disregard for them in this ridiculous pair.
Pozzo: …Up pig! (Pause) Every time he drops he falls asleep. (Jerks the rope.) Up hog!…Back! (Enter Lucky backwards.) Stop!(Lucky stops.) Turn!(Lucky turns.)…Coat! (Lucky advances, gives the coat, goes back to his place, takes up the bag.)
Just as Lucky jumps for Pozzo, Estragon and Vladimir jump for Godot.
Estragon and Vladimir symbolize the church as a whole. Beckett uses Vladimir as the clergy who ministers to Estragon as the misguided masses. Vladimir never strays from his faith to Godot. He serves as a constant reminder that Godot will come.
Estragon: Let’s go.
Vladimir: We Can’t.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We’re waiting for Godot.
Since the boy symbolizes a holy herald he confers only with the clergy, in this case, Vladimir.
Vladimir: To-morrow everything will be better.
Estragon: How do you make that out?
Vladimir: Did you not here what that child said?
Upon receiving the divine word it is the job of the preacher to get the message out to the people of the faith.
Estragon: Where shall we go?
Vladimir: Not far.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We have to come back To-morrow.
Estragon: What for?
Vladimir: To wait for Godot.
Beckett uses the figures in Waiting For Godot to portray his cynical, existentialist views on religion. The broad topic of existentialism covers far more than religion, though it prevails as the most popular aspect. Beckett thinks religion silly and impractical and shows those beliefs in his play Waiting For Godot. Existentialism also covers themes such as human nature and mere existence. One may define it as the belief that life is destitute and man meaningless.