Topical and Universal Element in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot".

Essay by s_obaidullah2001University, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

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In spite of the fact that "Waiting for Godot" has no spectacle, no star-part, no sex, no love or romance, no traditional story, no melodrama and action of the traditional drama, no emotions and not even a woman character, it has proved itself to be a world-theatre and a gripping and popular play and it has occupied the minds of its readers and play-goers. Though the nightmarish post-war world is the immediate cause (background) for the outcome of this great masterpiece, Beckett, with all his economy and artistic brilliance, dexterously and superbly blends the topical and universal elements in it. Though Waiting for Godot is a post-modern production or, to be more precise, post-war European civilization, Beckett's handling of universal theme, waiting or endless expectation and human predicament, has turned the play into one which transcends time and place. In the play the playwright uses the universal theme of waiting and human suffering to dramatize the inner anguish and predicament of the post-war humanity.

20th century is an era of nightmares. The two Great Wars, especially the Second World War, through its massive, wholesale, brutal and diabolical destruction of mankind gave a rude and terrible shock to the civilization. The outbreak of such an sense-perplexing strife and antagonism shakes the very foundation of civilization; the impact is a heavy and irresistible one - human dream and aspirations are terribly shattered, traditional values no more appeal to human heart, in short, in the aftermath of the war life becomes purposeless and absolutely pointless; pessimism and despondency dominated the-then European world. Beckett's Waiting for Godot is a poignant expression of the pessimism and despair of his contemporary period. In this play, Beckett describes a mood, a tone towards life, where man's existence is s dilemma of purposeless, meaningless and pointless activity.