ENG240Y1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Gq

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10 May 2012
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Centuries ago, “essence” was an undeniable term since it was supported by the divine certitude of God,
and “existence” simply served the function to help us discover that essence. However, after the
omniscient god was “gunned down” by the twin brothers of science and technology, everything had
been changed. The presence of essence that was once definite suddenly became obscure. As a result,
people became lost as they didn’t know what to believe any longer. Thus, a new myth of origin that
could substitute the essence lost or at least divert our attention from this cruel reality was desperately
needed. This is how science and technology originally arose ( and the subsequent hegenomic discourse
in the form of language, politics and bureaucracy, and the surveillanceand the symbols with them )
They became the myths of origin because they were able to offer a temporary coherency to people’s
lives. However, such myths of origin cannot function normally without the presence of doing. It is
through the process of doing people found that transient solace and distractions. Sadly enough, when
people started to feel they were getting closer to the essence, they were actually wandering further and
further away from the true being of themselves.
In the play of “Waiting for Godot”, the actions that used to keep us unaware of the cruel reality were
absent. Consequently, Vladimir and Estrogon had to make a choice: either finding something to do, or
face the relentless truth that the essence was gone. It is quite obvious that the latter came with
excruciating pain; thus, Vladimir and Estrogon chose to wait for Godot who functioned as their myth of
origin in the play . During this process, Vladimir and Estrogon had given up trying to tolerate incertitude
and put all their faith in Godot, so that they could escape from the burden of freedom that manifested
itself as a form of wondering and waiting. Accompanying with this decision, they had also given up their
rights since the sole purpose of their lives was to wait for Godot. This is why at the end of the play, when
Estrogon inquired about the rights, Vladimir gave the answer “we got rid of them”. Unfortunately, even
such a myth could not persist very long. Godot “couldn’t promise anything”, nor could the couple
remember what they asked from Godot. After all, Godot was just constructed from Vladimir and
Estrogon’s fear for the absence of doing and he was nothing more than an illusion. In fact, their real
being was lost long ago and would remain buried under the sand of time regardless of their actions.
So godot is an illusion, that never existthis symbol is nothing
In the balcony, the brothel was a place where men’s fantasies were realized. Men came to the house of
illusion with the hope that through role-plays, they could hold on to some kind of power. However, even
power itself did not simply come along with robes and crowns; instead, power required the relationship
with other people. As in this particular scene, the power of judge relied on the thief and executioner’s
acknowledgement. As the judge pointed out himself, “my being a judge is emanation of your being a
thief” and if the thief refused to be a thief, she would ”deprive the judge of being”. This reflected the
absence of a transcendental essence that was recognized by all people under all circumstances. As a
result, all the power became a mere illusion that had to be maintained by others’ approval. As a matter
of fact, power could never become one’s essence simply because it was an effect of relationships
whereas being remained unchanged no matter what other people might do.
The power is an illusion
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