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Role Of Chance Samuel Becketts Waiting For Godot Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1106 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The purpose of life is something mystic, that us, humans, have always seeked, yet don’t really know how to find. What is our reason to live? The fact we can’t explain it, leads us to believe it’s because of a force greater then ours. There are lots of different names to call it. God. Fate. We don’t know what the meaning of life is, and there’s noone we can ask. This feeling can be pretty depressing in itself, and Waiting for Godot focuses on this feeling and on the way people try to find something to live for

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The play basically says that our lives rely on chance entirely, and because of it, they are meaningless, and thats the reason why people rely on unknown forces guiding them through life. And the interesting part is, that even the sources, that should justify the fact that there are greater powers in the universe then we can comprehend, say that human existence has a lot to do with chance. This is clearified when a story from the bible about two thieves is mentioned. „One of the two thiefes was rescued. Thats a reasonable percentage.” (Beckett, 8) Percentage represents that chance involved in human life, and the fact that that our fate relies on chance shows that randomness is an important factor in ones life. Beckett uses this quote from the Bible to show, that even a sacred text that has been an a help for thousands of years acknowledges the existence of chance. One of the two thieves. Thats 50%. A 50% chance for salvation, and we have absolutely no control regarding this chance.

The fact that God (if he exists) stays silent, makes the chaos even bigger. The situation that God lets life work like this, makes him guilty. The people’s belief in God is explainable though, because it makes them believe that there’s a reason to live. As Pascal, a french philisopher said (he was a believer by the way), there’s nothing to lose, because if it turns out God doesnt exist, then people wouldnt care for anything anyway, but if it turns out he does, at least you were on the safe side all the way. But God’s silence is the main thing that keeps the characters in hopelessness, and makes this work of art a tragedy, even though the characters act comically. Either God doesnt exist, or he just doesnt care. And this statement tells that there’s no divine involvment in life.

The world in Waiting for Godot is one without any meaning, which shows that chaos and hopelessness are the leading forces of the world. The events in the work are repetetive. Vladimir and Estragon are at the same place every day, waiting for Godot, doing the same activites over and over again to pass time. This shows the chaotic’s world effects on the characters. As Einstein says: „The sign of going mad is doing something over and over again, and expecting different results.”

We don’t know the time cycle the events transpire in. Time is a very intersting aspect in this play. It exists, but the reasons for this are not entirely clear, because the present, the past, the future, these things don’t mean anything in this world. Time is a mess. A very good symbolization of the fact that things are still happening though, are Pozzo and Lucky. They are completely different in Act I and Act II. (Pozzo is healthy/blind, Lucky is able to speak/mute). Beckett uses the change in the situation of Lucky and Pozzo to show that time, and therefore, life, is meaningless.

Humans try to be distracted from this fact. Vladimir and Estragon both try to stay cheerful in the play, and try to pass time with pointless activites. Doing this, they act comical, which adds a humorous aspect to the play. “The positive attitude of the two tramps thus amounts to a double negation: their inability to recognize the senselessness of their position” (Andres, 143-144).

Vladimir and Estragon do various things to get distracted from the endless wait. Discussing mundane topics, sleeping, and sometimes contemplating suicide. They do this because they try to ignore the fact that they are waiting for a figure, which is part of their imagination, and might never even come.

They are waiting for Godot, and they think his arrival will be a salvation to all their problems. They probably know this is only a wish that might never come true, but at least they have something to look forward to. The only other alternative is death, and although they think about it, they don’t have the courage to do it. In the end all a human can do are pointless actions, or to perish.

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They do these pointless actions because they hope relief will come in a form of an outside force. Godot symbolizes this force, and although he likely doesn’t exist, he at least gives their lives a meaning.By waiting, they achieve at least a bit of meaning. Vladimir, while contemplating whether or not to help Pozzo in Act II, declares, “What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come-” (Beckett, 51)

Even though salvation is an illusion, it’s needed to be able to handle life, and that humans have to rely on „Godots” to live. It’s not clear whether Godot is real or not. This is shown by the fact that in both acts, they mistake Pozzo for Godot. That means they have never seen Godot before.The only contact they have with him is the messenger boy he sends everyday, telling them that Godot will come the next day. When Vladimir finally realises that Godot in fact will never come, great depression overcomes him. Vladimir realizes that he has no choice but to put up with the illusion, and go on. There’s no point. But there’s no other option.

“All of these characters go on, but in the old ruts, and only by retreating into patterns of thought that have already been thoroughly discredited. In the universe of this play, ‘on’ leads nowhere” (Webb, 41).

“Waiting for Godot” is all about how the world is based on chance, and the fact that a world based on chance can’t have a real time sequence, and is therefore pointless, which makes life pointless too. Realizing this, humans will create distractions and diversions, in the form of patterns and reliance on divine forces, to provide them a purpose to live.

In my opinion this book is a very good demonstration of the big questions every human has to face in their lifetime.


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