Beckett's Godot: Nietzsche Defied (Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot) (Critical Essay) - Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies

Beckett's Godot: Nietzsche Defied (Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot) (Critical Essay)

By Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies

  • Release Date: 2010-09-22
  • Genre: Reference
  • Size: 354.16 KB

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Abstract Much has been published about Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot, which has attracted endless international interest. To most, it is an excellent example of what the critic, Martin Esslin, has called the 'theatre of the absurd'. Some have traced in it influences of Descartes and/or Heidegger, while others concentrating on the idea of exile, have seen it as an expression of its Irish author's self-exile in France, and/or as an expression of linguistic exile. Other 'exiles' have also been pointed out, psychological, physical, and mental. This essay explores a new aspect which, to my knowledge, none has yet undertaken. It will be shown that in this play, Beckett, with his religious background and his wealth of Biblical knowledge, could very well have been responding to Nietzsche's gleeful announcement that 'God is dead', and his joyful celebration of this realization as a wonderfully liberating factor. Seen in this light, Beckett's Waiting for Godot stands as a warning of the kind of life people would find themselves leading if they adopted Nietzsche's philosophic view. Far from the glorious liberty prophesied by Nietzsche, they would find themselves leading a life of bondage, and experiencing the worst possible kind of exile: an exile from meaningful life. In its critique of life without God (in defiance of Nietzsche), the play is definitely Christian!

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