The place of religion in theatres- A case study of waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot explores the theme of existentialism and the key fundamental questions that making must face. The essence of existence is not known ad man qwords hard to save his kind and self [preservation is overcome by despair and meaninglessness of life. In the spirit of essentialism, while people are worried about their status in life some are concerned about a Godot they have never met and are not sure if they will meet him. Godot may have been posed as on elusive being of importance who everyone seem to think has an answer to their entire question in life both formed and unformed. When Estragon asked Vladimir what he wants from Godot, Vladimir says, “Oh … nothing very definite.” In addition, maybe he had asked a vogue supplication. Does it mean both Vladimir and estragon are not aware of what they want. Instead of asking for more garlic, or carrot, food, boots. However, their despair after waiting for Godot for long is evidence din their desire to hang themselves and even try using Pozzo’s belt which snaps. In the distant world, the people are concerned about their existence and in their state of despair; they can assume a hidden nature of man both at the animal level as well as at the spiritual level.

Human spirituality and religiousness is much intertwined in everything man does and man seeks to justify all his actions and feeling by their relationship with God. For example, Vladimir: “our savior. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other, damned.” However, in this case, it become difficult to determine who will be saved and who will be damned. Vladimir argues that it is a reasonable percentage for one thief to be saved and the other to be damned (50/50).

Vladimir: “There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet” (He takes off his hat again, peers inside it, feels about inside it, knocks on the crown, blows into it, puts it on again.) “This is getting alarming.” (Silence. Vladimir deep in thought, Estragon pulling at his toes.) “One of the thieves was saved”. (Pause.) “It’s a reasonable percentage… And yet . . .. . . how is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four Evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a thief being saved. Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can’t you, once in a way?.

Perhaps it is important to note that while Vladimir and estragon were finding it hard to believe the identity of Godot, the first child who told them Godot would not be coming must have had a very wrong perception about Godot, whom his father woks for,. Godot may be good, but he overworks his employees and even punishes them. Had the poor boy been referring to God? It his references to Godot, an undertone of god are created because god’s men labor for him and he does not show preference despite the level of servitude. Additionally, Pozzo is like a demigod who eats to his fill and leaves the bone to Lucky, and estragon scrambles for the same bone. It is not clear whether Pozzo (read god) is using or abusing man and does not expect man to complain or rebel or slow down (considering his jerking of the rope in the event of Lucky slowing down).

Samuel Becket’s absurdist drama starts with idle estragon and Vladimir as they discuss trivial things that are considered touching to both as they mock each other based on the most important issues to one another. It become clear that it is not the mockery those maters to both Vladimir and Estragon, but the fact that Godot has become elusive. The elusiveness of their savors makes them consider suicide. When the boy tells them that Godot would surely come tomorrow, hope is restored for a short while only to despair and consider suicide later (Maura 20)

The rhetoric questions, the pondering and prodding makes estragon and Vladimir look like lunatics. For example, despair makes them want to go ad not want to go. “Yes, let’s go." Nevertheless "They do not move. Curtain." This inaction actually repeated in both part one and part two as they wait and continue to talk (Via 32-37)

Who is Godot: – Doubt and confusion

While Godot can characteristically be seen as God, it is quite confusing because his identity is not declared throughout the drama. If Godot was not a master, he must have been so important to keep two people waiting on a daily basis without coming. The fact that the Vladimir and estragon did not know the time, and place to find him. They waited by a drying tree. According to …Godot is more of a direct subjective appeal as opposed to objective appeal. For example, all interpretation of Godot seems to consider Godot as either a cyclist or even God and perhaps most people seem to think of Godot as a mean master. However while religion Is used in the absurdist play, it is quite clear that ot5her paraphernalia such as the boots, the hats, the rope, and the carrots all points to a simple life style probably of the peasants. The mechanical repetition in “waiting for Godot” brings religious undertones as they expose the religious aspect characteristics of Vladimir, and estragon (Levy 222-237)


While man is told not to despair because one of the thieves was damned while the other was saved. Vladimir still thinks that the chances of salvation are slim. The balance of nature is seen in the two salves, one saved, the other one damned. In the relationship between Pozzo and his slave (Lucky) balance of nature is also quite visible, while in Vladimir and estragon, Vladimir is clever one, while estragon is the dumb one. There are also two boy messengers sent to tell Vladimir and Pozzo that Godot will not make it today, but will sure come tomorrow, what is the balance of Godot? Is Godot that mean to stand-alone while the other character are paired in balance? This is realism ad it control the mode of presentation. The drama is a comedy and tragedy in one and probably the mere essence of existence is what keep the audience in suspense and uncertainty. Beckett uses the magical word “perhaps” to respond to a number of questions about the play. Perhaps it is the fact that the simple play was made complicated by the audience that makes the play more relevant in the modern time (Maura 20)

Silence and dialogue, and uncertainty

While the play is an absurdist drama, the tragedy and drama are conveniently by both silence ad dialogue. It is the silence that was important than dialogue in the play. The uncertainty especially with reference to Jesus Christ and the silence signifies uncertainty, and fear. In fear, Lucky refused to respond to estragon, this was a sigh of anguish. The uncertainty about Vladimir and estragon comes quite handy as nobody known about them, the academic level, home, nationality, or political affiliation; they just want to meet Godot (Via 32-37). Is one question nobody asks lest their shift attention from Godot. This makes Godot an important character in the play. Why were they meeting, how did they meet- nobody knows just as nobody knows who Godot is. Additionaly, from estragon’s shoes, which he keeps on looking through, it, is quite clear that his life can be seen through the shoes. Perhaps he knows how much he has waited for Godot by looking at how old the shoes are. Probably, it is important to assume that the shoes do not fit estragon

Vladimir makes a point that even things, which many consider true, are subject to doubt. Beliefs are without rationality in waiting for Godot. Beckett’s outlook of postmodern life can be viewed as somehow bleak, helplessly hopeless and ironic where language does not have a certain meaning. Waiting for Godot illustrates the desire to prove one’s existence and make sense of the world. Estragon and Vladimir have only one proved language in order to talk or communicate to one another and demonstrate each other’s existence in that hopeless world; however, language is an inadequate system in reaching any abstract truth and more important than that, a word is only a representation of a truth, not the truth itself. Therefore, we can imply that, the denial of the truth stems from the fact that there is no absolute truth in the world and it is not too inapt to cast doubt on the absolute itself too. Still we draw our own subjective picture of truth in order not to get ourselves trapped in the mysterious complexities of the world around us (Levy 222-237)

It is human nature to despair, and this is the main message in watering for Godot, when all hope is gone, despair sets in and this make people to be daring. For example, when Pozzo talks about going to sell Lucky, Lucky almost breaks down despite the mistreatment. Human beings are portrayed to be content with what they have even if the next offer is much better. May be lucky was to be sold to a better master who would treat him well. The proverb “better the devil you know than the angel you do not know” is made clear. While not attached to Pozzo by the long rope Pozzo uses to direct and control him, Lucky is also attached to Pozzo in some other way such that despite Pozzo going mad, lucky is not lucky enough to escape, he is still subservient to Pozzo. Has human despair and fear of the unknown that strong that it keeps them attached to the people who promises hope and provides even the least. Vladimir and estragon have been waiting for Godot knowing that Godot will provide the answer they need so much and to the questions, they do not even have. Perhaps humankind is reduced to hopelessness and zombies when hope escapes them. However, as one continues to read the play, it becomes clear that man’s need for companionship is much more than their need for food. While Vladimir is lonely at night, he turns to estragon to help him only to be turned down; on the other hand, estragon still went back to Vladimir in despair with the hope that his worried could be solved by discussing them with Vladimir (Via 32-37)

Is God responsible for man existence?

When afflicted with blindness, Pozzo laments, "One day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? They give birth astride the grave.” It is clear the Pozzo was and Lucky were not lucky after all as they come tumbling down (Levy 222-237)

The absurdity of existence

God is not responsible for man existence. He has given men free will to decide on what they want to do in life. Perhaps it is important to note that fact that question such as death may not be easy to answer. The meaning of the existence of man is also another difficult thing to ask. Questions involving the way of life, anxiety and authenticity as well as irrationality and absurdity are considered existential there is lack of reason in human existence and man always confront the mute irrationality. However, considering the overall level of stupidity, and ignorance, they have not freedom and even the freedom itself has become absurd. Thirdly, the action of Pozzo, were doomed as it ended up decrying him. However, Estragon, and Vladimir chose not to face up to the absurdity. Instead, they pretended to be absurd because the absurdity of the existence of human beings tend to lie in the fact that to exist freely, one has to be a thing of no importance. This is the same way Vladimir and estragon saw Pozzo and lucky. They pretended not to hear Pozzo and lucky as they went on discussing their own trivial matters (Wheeler 133-138)

Coming to terms with their life made them ignorant. For example, they started to seek out Godot by al mean and even waited for him oblivious of whether he would come or not. The most interesting part is the subjective existence of man. Man knows the place of god in their existence, but they do not know the lack of god in their existence. The fact that Vladimir and estragon had an objective in life keeps them going. They created value in Godot and affirmed it. They also lived their objective to meet Godot and this is what keep them going, but when they lost objective in life, they almost perished with Pozzo and lucky. The existence of the inherent meaning in the world of Vladimir and Estragon. Godot was their God something they lived for. They wanted for him every day in vain. This was the opium of the bourgeoisies. Without the intrinsic purpose, Pozzo, Lucky, estragon, and Vladimir are doomed, as they have to face absolute absurdity (Wheeler 133-138)

The element of crowd, or community in human existence

Crowd or community also plays an important role in the existence of man. For example, Vladimir and estragon, Pozzo and lucky, the Vladimir, and estragon desire to meet Godot. They believe that their freedom is mainly deponent on resolution of the others. Human being has an authentic desire to be with others. Human accept values from the other people instead of forming them in freedom. Lucky cannot find value without accepting it from Pozzo (consider the bone). Additionally, Vladimir and estragon cannot form their own value without accepting one from Godot. This seems to echo the sentiment of democracy as those who cannot rule themselves are ruled (Levy 222-237).

The impatient man or immediate satisfaction

Pozzo has demonstrated one of the unique features of an average person. For example, he has shown that man is egoistic and impatient. He ironically says that if he would wait for Godot patiently until dusk despite being in a hurry to keep time for his schedule. One can easily question his argument because he has never been given an appointment by Godot. Pozzo is like person who are too busy with their daily concern and do not have time to seek higher calling. Godot is a very important man known by all and even Pozzo knows that Godot is very important. Does it mean that man is currently playing God? Has man become so self-important that t they would not bother to seek audience with God. Has religion become watered down that it can only be considered second to everything else? Pozzo thinks waiting for Godot is important but does not want to miss his appointment with the buyer. However, it is also healthy to argue that despite the fact that God is not responsible for man’s existence, he can punish man for his sins. For example, while Pozzo was rushing to sell Lucky instead of seeking God. God must have been fed up with Pozzo’s arrogance and contempt a decided to punish man.


If God wants to be worshipped, why does he allow man to sin? Why does he allow Pozzo to hurt Lucky, and does god want man to wait that much for him to the extent of doing nothing but whiling away time? No. God never asked man to wait for him and do nothing. God gave man free will and man must decide on what to do, as they will for God. Samuel Beckett wanted to explore what man does with the free and explores the possibilities of both tramps and the rich to get to heaven. While the poor are considering getting salvation, the rich are busy thinking about how to get rich. Life is what you make it but Godot is coming anytime, so everyone should prepare for the coming of Godot

Works Cited

Levy, Eric P. ""To Be Is to Be Deceived": The Relation of Berkeley and Plato to "Waiting for Godot"" The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 101 (2002): 222-37. 11 Mar. 2014 .

Maura, Sister. "Explication." The English Journal 57 (1968): 20. 11 Mar. 2014 .

Via, Jr. Dan O. ""Waiting for Godot" and Man’s Search for Community." Journal of Bible and Religion 30 (1962): 32-37. 11 Mar. 2014 .

Wheeler, Burton M. "Religious Themes in Contemporary Literature, 1959-1962: Part II." Journal of Bible and Religion 32 (1964): 133-38. 11 Mar. 2014


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