Analyzing Social Class and Humanity in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Seinfeld

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Analyzing Social Class and Humanity in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Seinfeld

Typically, the relationships between theatre and film are encountered--both pedagogically and theoretically--in terms of authorial influence or aesthetic comparisons. In the first method, an instructor builds a syllabus for a "Theatre and Film" course by illustrating, for example, how Bergman was influenced by Strindberg. In the second method, the aesthetic norms of the theatre (fixed spectatorial distance and stage-bound locations) are compared to those of the cinema (editing and location shooting) to determine which art form is better suited (or "superior") to which material.

My work proposes a broader view of the theatre-film interface, one
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It is this observation about different treatments of social class that makes the Seinfeld-Waiting for Godot comparison so intertextually compelling. Waiting for Godot is about two men who are saving a few moldy carrots because that is all they have to eat. Every time Estragon leaves the stage, he returns having been brutally beaten. There is very little sign of life on the stage, the appearance of one sparsely-leaved tree further emphasizing the barren nature of their surroundings. The Seinfeld episode, by contrast, offers characters who announce themselves as being extremely hungry. Elaine makes a comical association between herself and Ghandi: "Did Ghandi get this crazy," she asks her friends, referring to the Indian leader's hunger-strike that ended in the liberation of India from British colonial control. However, unlike the working-class hobos of Godot, they are characters firmly ensconsed in the middle-class, and as such have access to money that will buy them food at restaurants and grocery stores. Jerry's apartment's large cereal box collection would be a sore sight for Vladimir and Estragon.

Thus, Beckett's play is centrally concerned with issues of class, constructing a proletarian series of characters-Vladimir, Estragon, Lucky-under the heels of an uncaring, totalitarian
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