This week’s Tuesday Title, Waiting for Godot, is actually a play by the Irish playwright, novelist, and poet Samuel Beckett. Ever since its debut in 1953, Beckett’s Godot has been regarded as one of the most important plays of the twentieth 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.
I think that one of the reasons why this play is so powerful and illustrious is its universality. At its core, this play is an emblematic story of waiting. Godot may be symbolic of anything we wish him to be. A greater purpose. Love. God. Perhaps we do not even know what we are waiting for—perhaps that is the point. It is a wait that seems to never end; yet, it is also a wait that we refuse to abandon. Beckett beautifully captures this tension between hopefulness and hopelessness in his play.
Godot is universal not only for its content, but its form: due to its minimalist structure, this play has been reproduced in a variety of contexts. Most notably, in 2007, Christopher McElroen directed a production of Godot in New Orleans, using Beckett’s play to illustrate the experience of those devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
This play is certainly avant-garde and, well, quirky. It may mystify you. You may raise an eyebrow a few times. Regardless, I guarantee that it will make you think.
I hope you all add this to your reading lists! Enjoy!
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Submitted by JoAnna