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Waiting for Godot ????


( ) mengxiao_at_sdu.edu.cn Waiting for Godot – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Waiting for Godot ????

Waiting for Godot ????
????(??) ?? mengxiao_at_sdu.edu.cn
Waiting for Godot
  • Add Your Company Slogan

Theater of the Absurd
  • is a term used to identify a body of plays
    written primarily in France from the mid-1940s
    through the 1950s.

Main characteristics
  • These works usually employ illogical situations,
    unconventional dialogue, and minimal plots to
    express the apparent absurdity of human
  • Review The viewpoints of Existentialism
  • the world is absurd.
  • Life is anguish.
  • Hell is other people!

Characteristics of Absurd plays
  • Anti-plays
  • Strongly influenced by Philosophy of
  • Also a reflection of various ideas of
  • The condition or state in which human beings
    exist in a meaningless, irrational universe
    wherein people's lives have no purpose or

Theater of the Absurd
  • Theater of the Absurd was also a reflection of
    the consciousness of postmodernism Which is in
    general a rejection to the modern idea of
    rationalism anti-plays they are totally
    different from traditional plays?
  • The plays that usually employ illogical
    situations, unconventional dialogue, and minimal
    plots to express the apparent absurdity of human


The Theatre of the Absurd ?????
  • A group of dramatists in 1940s Paris believed
    life is without apparent meaning or purpose it
    is, in short, absurd. Paradoxically, the only
    certainty in life is uncertainty, the absurdists
  • An absurdist drama is a play that depicts life as
    meaningless, senseless, uncertain.
  • For example, an absurdists story generally ends
    up where it started nothing has been
    accomplished and nothing gained. The characters
    may be uncertain of time and place, and they are
    virtually the same at the end of the play as they
    were at the beginning. 

Main features of absurdist play
  • Absence of a real story or plot.
  • No action since all actions are insignificant.
  • Vagueness about time, place and the characters.
  • The value of language is reduced in fact, what
    happens on the stage transcends, and often
    contradicts, the words spoken by the characters.
  • Extensive use of pauses, silences, miming and
    farcical situations which reflect a sense of
  • Incoherent babbling makes up the dialogue.

Main themes of absurdist play
  • The sense of mans alienation(??,??).
  • The cruelty of human life.
  • The absence or the futility of objectives.
  • The meaninglessness of mans struggle.

Myth of Sisyphus??????? life is but an
effort without significance
  • The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly
    rolling a rock up to the top of a mountain,
    whence the stone would fall back of its own
    weight. They had thought with some reason that
    there is no more dreadful punishment than this
    futile and hopeless labor.
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Sartres play No exit
  • Hell is other people!

Samuel Beckett
Born in Dublin in 1906
Met James Joyce in Paris in 1907 and became a
close friend of him
Activity involved in the French Resistance
Movement fighting against the Nazi Germany in
World War II
Beckett, Samuel (1906-1989)
  • Began to write in his early twenties
  • His writing included poetry, stories, novels,
    plays, and critical essays
  • His Waiting for Godot came out 1953
  • Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for
    literature in 1969.
  • the representative of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Waiting for Godot ????
En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot )
Waiting for Godot
  • A two act play without much of plot
  • The heroes of the play are two tramps, Estragon
    (Gogo) and Vladimir (Didi), who wait for somebody
    called Godot every evening
  • When they are waiting, the two men occupy
    themselves with all kinds of trivial things or
    empty talks.
  • Pozzo abuses and ill-treats Lucky
  • A boy comes to tell Gogo and Didi, Mr. Godot
    told me to tell you he wont come this evening
    but surely tomorrow.

Two tramps waiting near a tree on an isolated
country road for someone named Godot to arrive
Estragon and Vladimir, or Didi and Gogo
We must stay waiting for Godot.
  • They cant leave, neither die, but wait

Godot said he wouldnt come today!
Godot never appears
  • A symbol of the dilema of modern human beings no
    aim, no reason, no leave but stay, waiting for

Their minds are slaves to Godot in the same way
Lucky's body is a slave to Pozzo
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Waiting for Godot is of multilayer
  • The circumstance of Sartre the world is bleak,
    dark, disgusted.
  • The style suggests Joycepungent(?????) satire
    and fabulous.
  • It is Mr. Becketts acrid(???) cartoon of the
    mankind story.
  • Significance to highlight the lack of purpose
    and meaning in an universe without God.

  • The most obvious feature is that of words
  • For example
  • VLADIMIR Consult his family. ESTRAGON His
    friends. VLADIMIR His agents. ESTRAGON His
    correspondents. VLADIMIR His books.
  • ESTRAGON His bank account. (P18)
  • Their conversation is just as the tool of
    passing time. In order to get rid of solitude,
    they catch every chance to talk to each other.
    They constantly add words to defer their

meaningless dialogue
  • For example(P12)
  • VLADIMIR Did you ever read the Bible? ESTRAGON
    The Bible . . . (He reflects.) I must have taken
    a look at it. VLADIMIR Do you remember the
    Gospels? ESTRAGON I remember the maps of the
    Holy Land. Colored they were. Very pretty. The
    Dead Sea was pale blue. The very look of it made
    me thirsty. That's where we'll go, I used to say,
    that's where we'll go for our honeymoon. We'll
    swim. We'll be happy. VLADIMIR You should have
    been a poet.
  • Gogo did not reply didis question. He just
    thought about other things, which leads the
    communication cannot continue.

illogical plot
  • In act ?(P57)
  • It was a story about the dog. It was a story with
    a circular structure just like the play itself
    (act ?and act ? ).
  • The action of characters in the play did not
    promote the development of the plot.
  • The time and the place in the play were
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The influence of Existentialism
Jean-Paul Sartre(1905-1980)
  • man can only know himself, but he has to face a
    world that he is unable to understand.
  • A world which is intelligible is absurd, and in
    this world, man is in everlasting fear, worry and
  • The world is absurd, and life is painful
  • Beckett believed that human existence is very
    brief and unimportant, and there is no hope to
    humanity in an alien and decaying world.

Post-modern Literature
  • The term Post-modern literature is used to
    describe certain characteristics of post-World
    War II literature which relies heavily on
    fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators,
    collage(???), and pastiche(??) etc.
  • the post-modern novel is often a parody(?????) of
    the quest for meaning in a chaotic world.

  • Postmodernism rejects boundaries between high and
    low forms of art, emphasizing parody, bricolage,
    irony and playfulness. In the literary works of
    postmodern, we can see the failure of language,
    schizophrenia, and humanity's inability to
    overcome its condition.
  • Absurdness is the core issue for most of them.
  • The post-modern literature is anti- rationalism.

Post-modern Literature
  • Existential literature
  • Theatre of Absurd
  • New Novel
  • the Beat Generation (?????)
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  • Black Humor (????)
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  • Magic Realism
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  • Absurdism, and its more specific companion term
    theatre of the absurd, refers to the works of a
    group of Western European and American dramatists
    writing and producing plays in the 1950s and
    early 1960s.
  • The term theatre of the Absurd was coined by
    critic Martin Esslin, who identified common
    features of a new style of drama that seemed to
    ignore theatrical conversations and thwart
    audience expectations.

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