Waiting for Godot, Waiting for God?

Reflection PaperArt
May 23, 2019

Samuel Beckett’s famous masterpiece Waiting for Godot is one of the classic plays of the theater of the absurd, which oddity sprung a number of connotations from its audience. Beckett’s minimalist approach allows various meanings to arise from what really is the theme and purpose of this masterpiece. The little details picked the audience’s personal interests, asking the question – is waiting for Godot synonymous to waiting for God?

Whether Waiting for Godot has religious implications is still a standing question, but, this masterpiece certainly covers existential questions. In line with this, it is a fact that religion is closely-knitted with existentialism - the purpose of life. This was well-conveyed through the lines of the said play where the two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, are bantering regarding the need for them to reflect on being born, followed by explicit regard on the Holy Bible, the thieves, and the savior. The strength of Waiting for Godot lies in the dialogue because this masterpiece is a one-act play wherein the two characters held the stage from the beginning until the end of the play’s duration, and in between the actors’ lines, thousands of meanings can be fished out depending on a viewer’s perspective. The answer to Godot being a symbol for God is either a yes or a no, and that’s what make this work of art even more beautiful. On one hand, the fact that Beckett’s script ultimately revolves on its title is nothing short of brilliant. Why? As the two characters continue on talking about Godot and waiting for him, unknowingly, they also took the entire body of the audience to be curious and question the characteristics of Godot, and of course, all while waiting for Godot, hence the title. According to Beckett, he himself does not know who Godot is nor did he aim for the character to represent God. It simply represents someone waiting for something uncertain which could be happiness or something else. This piece is open for many meanings to inspire its audience or make them realize something at the very least. On the other hand, the numerous clues or symbols found within the dialogue picks up a religious intonation, and this is not necessarily incorrect. As aforementioned, the play is a beautiful piece for open interpretation. The cameo of a boy in the play sparks this theory as it revolves around how Godot looks like for no one really have seen the enigmatic character – white beard, allegedly fair skin, and someone who only shows up when he needs to do something. Furthermore, this boy is believed to be taking care of goats, while another of sheep – an uncanny resemblance to Matthew verse where a shepherd segregates the goats from sheep. Another clue could be the banter on whether the two characters got the correct day to wait for Godot for Jesus passed on a Saturday and was revived on a Sunday. Other thoughts revolve around imprecation, repentance, and salvation. Then again, it all goes back to Waiting for Godot being an exceptional play through challenging ideas imposed on the audience simply through two people and their lines.

So, is waiting for Godot equivalent to waiting for God? No one can give you the answer, not even the writer, for the answer lies within your understanding. Make Godot whatever and whoever you want him to represent, that freedom is all yours.

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