Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
19
Free sample

From an inauspicious beginning at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone in 1953, followed by bewilderment among American and British audiences, Waiting for Godot has become of the most important and enigmatic plays of the past fifty years and a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. As Clive Barnes wrote, “Time catches up with genius … Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the century.”

The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Apr 12, 2011
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780802198822
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, Humboldt-University of Berlin, 8 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: When Willy Loman is heard racing off with his car at the end of Arthur Millers play Death of a Salesman, nobody doubts why he is doing so. He wrecks his car and kills himself to leave his family 20,000 dollars insurance money. Willy Loman is a suicide. And yet every viewer of the play will ask himself 1 who or what killed this man. What are the forces that pushed him towards this somber end? The fact that Arthur Miller pursues genuine moral education in his plays, which he has repeatedly admitted to (for example in “The Salesman Has a Birthday”) justifies this question. For how one answers it decides what kind of message one distils from the play. In this paper, I will not focus on a possible moral message of the play. Instead, I will try to collect hints at who or what might be responsible for Willy Loman’s death. As I am not the first to engage in this matter, I will be able to present the viewpoints of different critics, and to compare them. It seems to be a characteristic of Death of a Salesman that many reasons can be named for its catastrophic ending - its discussion has been very controversial. In consequence, one difficulty of my investigation will be to take into account also the play’s subtleties in order to value each critic’s standpoint properly. It has repeatedly been criticized that Arthur Miller makes use of fuzzy logic in his play. On the one hand, one can see obvious traits of social criticism in Death of a Salesman, on the other hand Miller presents two characters - Charley and Bernard - that succeed in a capitalistic world without acting unfair. Miller condemns a social order ruled by wealth while approving of the right way to live in it. This conflict demonstrates that Miller’s play is offering explanations of Willy Loman’s failure that are based on social criticism as well as explanations that are psychologically motivated. This division marks the two directions criticism has been following through the years. For that reason, I will divide my inquiry into two sections: Cultural Reasons and Psychological Reasons. Whenever necessary, the two domains will be cross-linked in order to form a synthesis.
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