Waiting For Godot. In Context

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  • Waiting for Godot in Context
    • Written in 1949 by Samuel Beckett originally in French 'En Attendant Godot'
      • First premiered in France at a tiny theater in 1953
    • Absurdist, empty
      • Post World War 2
        • Lack of faith in humanity, religion, tradition, society; lead to a movement towards individualism
        • French social revolution,  leading to intellectual and moral relativism and hedonistic individualism.
        • Published after the exiting of the Nazis from France, leaving the country in a moral flip flop. "The two sides in World War II had extremely different ideas about what was right and wrong for the human race. Such widespread rejection of the traditional organization of morality reflected the philosophy of post-structuralism, which focuses on the instability of the human sciences.
      • Narrative Technique: no evident plot, cyclical in nature
    • Portrayal through various aspects in the text
      • Setting: barren country road with a single tree, unknown time and place
      • Narrative Technique: no evident plot, cyclical in nature
      • Themes: choice, truth/ lack of truth, time and the function of time, suffering, tragedy and the plight of man, identity, individuality/ companionship, breakdown of language, language as an artistic medium vs. a means of communitcation
      • Techniques: characterization- names/identity, language- the difference between what they do and what they say, repetitio- passing time keeps the characters busy, literary allusions, monologue, silence/void, tone/diction
    • Critics off Beckett
      • Vivian Mercier; believes Waiting for Godot shows consummate stagecraft, achieving theatrical impossibilities. To create a play where nothing happens twice yet captivates the audience.
      • 'Anonymous'; "Like music Beckett's work must be heard to be effective, the voice is as important as an orchestra, the silence is as important as the sand and it is as important as the meaning.


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