Samuel Beckett – Waiting For Godot
Professor: Nick Mount
Course Code ENG 140Y1 – Date: October 21, 2011
1967- some Cubans loaded a screen onto a truck showing peasants Chaplin’s Modern Times.
This was the first movie they had ever seen. They laughed and enjoyed it even though they
probably had never seen a factory before.
1957- Worried actors are waiting in California Penitentiary because they are about to present
Waiting for Godot (where nothing happens and there are no women). They expect them to be
confused and angered, however to the convicts it made sense and they liked it.
Other people (high brow) did not. They got angered. Why is it that these men could relate? They
saw themselves. They knew what it meant to wait. Unlike Woolf and Eliot, Charlie Chaplin and
Beckett had no pretentious bone.
“Was it to be laughter or tears?...it came to the same thing in the end.”
There is an unpretentious tone in the characters.
Take words away from words- Beckett
There are no words at all – Chaplin.
By 1950 Beckett was a celebrity. In January 1953 when the play first came out it was very
controversial people walked out. In England someone yelled “This is why we lost the colonies.”
Someone said “give him the rope.”
All tragedies are finished by a death. All comedies by a wedding.
This is a TRAGIC COMEDY – TRAGICOMEDY
It is a mix. There are two homeless people talking about existence. It is the representation of
action. Aristotle said that the plot is the most important thing. Here there is no real plot.
Tragedy of Action- casual connection.
There is a place, a time a single day light period.
1. Nothing improbable
2. Single setting
3. Short time This is about INACTION waiting for something which never happens.
Thinking back to the lighthouse, Lily’s painting was completed, here Godot never comes.
Pg. 105 “I can’t go on like this” “That’s what you think”
Why Blind/Mute? – Pozzo and Lucky?
We are blind and have no voices?
Usually an audience is either inferior to the hero or in a tragedy we are superior to the hero and
we know it.
In here none is superior or inferior. We don’t know any more than they do. We are forced to
remain in uncertainty. That’s a bitch of an Earth.
In Dublin Beckett wrote a parody of the Wasteland and wrote an essay on Ulysses. He was Best
friends with James Joyce and in 1928 he moved to Paris. Durring World War II he joined the
French Resistance under the influence of Joyce. After the war breaking literary tradition was
Beckett only switched languages to French in order to stay away from the work as it were and
make it what it is.
Joyce created his own almost.
Abandoning the English language he could free himself from structure. He felt the weight of the
English literary tradition.
In 1969 He was awarded the Nobel Prise but he gave away the money and refused it.
Pg. 19 – the forgetfulness is cultural amnesia
Pg. 4- who said that?
Pg. 5.- If one read the Bible one would not forget he has read it.
Pg. 38-39 Describing the sunset (we remember Wordsworth’s and Eliot’s descriptions).
Goes on about the sun, performance, fragment.
Pg. 84. – They only speak to break the silence. It is an art without words.
Pg. 12 mid page Wait. Why wait? Hanging ourselves...erection. To pass the time. There’s
nothing inside the hat yet he keeps looking. The chance that something does come out of