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Waiting for Godot By Samuel Beckett Beckett. I. Introduction A. Beckett’s Life 1.His Irish ness 2. His novels and early writing 3.His work with Joyce.

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Presentation on theme: "Waiting for Godot By Samuel Beckett Beckett. I. Introduction A. Beckett’s Life 1.His Irish ness 2. His novels and early writing 3.His work with Joyce."— Presentation transcript:

1 Waiting for Godot By Samuel Beckett Beckett

2 I. Introduction A. Beckett’s Life 1.His Irish ness 2. His novels and early writing 3.His work with Joyce 4. After the War—His Plays

3 B. Beckett’s Ideas 1. The absurd—the illusion of reason 2. The Void—the illusion of faith 3. Humor and the dignity of humanity 4. Loneliness and love

4 C. Philosophical Background to Waiting for Godot 1. Effects of World War II (62 million people killed [37.5 million in WWI]; 12 million in concentration camps; atomic bomb and the promise of annihilation) a.Shock and disillusion b.Alienation and anxiety c.Loss of faith d.Pessimism

5 C. Philosophical Background (con’t) 2. Existentialism a.Loss of the sense of external meaning b. Loss of belief in reason and faith c. Believes in only that which we can see, that which “exists” (e.g., Plato’s “essence” and Spinoza’s “substance” are out the philosophical window)

6 C. Philosophical Background 2. Existentialism d. Existentialism states: “There is, therefore, no preexistent spiritual realm, no soul…,no cosmic compassion for or interest in human life, no afterlife, no transcendence of worldly existence, no cosmic meta-narrative, no angels and devils…, no divine will, no preset destiny, no inevitable fate.”

7 C. Philosophical Background 2. Existentialism e. Existentialism believes: 1. life has no preset or external meaning of its own meaning of its own 2. Life is (without human creation 2. Life is (without human creation of it) meaningless (the myth of of it) meaningless (the myth of Sisyphus) Sisyphus) 3. Humans, therefore, are free 3. Humans, therefore, are free (free will is important) (free will is important)

8 C. Philosophical Background 2. Existentialism 4. Humanity’s only chance at dignity lies in: the courage to face the truth, that we are alone in an uncaring universe the courage to face the truth, that we are alone in an uncaring universe the courage to face the fact / possibility that life is meaningless and yet to still go on the courage to face the fact / possibility that life is meaningless and yet to still go on --“I can’t go on; I must go on; I’m going --“I can’t go on; I must go on; I’m going on.” on.” -- the courage and dignity of Sisyphus when at the top of the hill he sees the rock roll back and realizes his meaninglessness and yet still goes down to set to work again. -- the courage and dignity of Sisyphus when at the top of the hill he sees the rock roll back and realizes his meaninglessness and yet still goes down to set to work again.

9 3. The Paradox of Consciousness There are two possible interpretations of the existence of human consciousness: a. A divine gift, fire of the gods, part of the divine plan, consciousness brings us all our joy (love, art, etc.) b. A cosmic joke, consciousness was never intended for humans and brings us only suffering, pain, and the existence of evil. b. A cosmic joke, consciousness was never intended for humans and brings us only suffering, pain, and the existence of evil.

10 D. Theatre of the Absurd 1. Existentialist Theatre (No Exit by Sartre) absurd content but rational form or presentation 2. Theatre of the Absurd— form and content merge to form a truer art

11 II.Waiting for Godot A. Major Themes 1. the void—life is meaningless 1. the void—life is meaningless 2. the hopelessness (and cruelty) 2. the hopelessness (and cruelty) of hope of hope 3. dependence of 3. dependence of one human on one human on another another

12 A. Major Themes (con’t) 4. Passing the 4. Passing the time time 5. the world 5. the world as waste- as waste- land land 6. Lack of communication—nothing is worth communicating or can be communicated, but we can’t stop talking worth communicating or can be communicated, but we can’t stop talking

13 A. Major Themes (continued) 7. The social theme (Pozzo and Lucky=the oppressed and oppressor; Lucky carries his own whip) Lucky carries his own whip) 8. Psychological Theme a. loss of memory=loss of meaning b. lack of self-awareness b. lack of self-awareness c. our cosmic insignificance c. our cosmic insignificance d. the pain and curse of consciousness d. the pain and curse of consciousness

14 A.Major Themes (continued) 9. The Religious Theme a. No personal god b. No Savior b. No Savior c. No Redemption c. No Redemption

15 B. Characters 1. Vladimer (Didi) 2. Estrogon (Gogo) (Gogo)

16 B. Characters (continued) 3. Pozzo 4. Lucky

17 B. Characters 5. the boy 6. Godot

18 C. Setting 1. The place 2. The time

19 D. Symbols, Style, Literary Techniques

20 D. Symbols, Style, and Literary Techniques


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