Waiting For Godot : A Postmodern Literature

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Paper 1 Although Samuel Beckett is known in the literature world for his modernist works, I believe the play Waiting for Godot has much more postmodern themes. Waiting for Godot displays many characteristics of postmodern literature such as irony, playfulness, and black humor, intertextuality, and the theme of nothingness and lack of progress and plot throughout the play. The play is also a leading play in the “Theatre of Absurd,” which was an outcome in the theatre world from postmodern literature. Throughout this paper, I will show the common themes and ties from Waiting for Godot to the postmodern era of literature.

In postmodern writings, it is prevalent for writers to use irony. The entire play is ironic in the fact that it is
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Black humor is often used to make a serious situation light and funny. “Estragon: Well, shall we go? Vladimir: Yes, let’s go. (they don’t move)” (Beckett 159.) This conversation between Estragon and Vladimir occurs at the end of Act One, and the result of the discussion is that neither one of the characters moves. At the end of Act two a similar conversation takes place, “Vladimir: Well? Shall we go? Estragon: Yes, let’s go.(they don’t move)” (Beckett 197.) Superficially this conversation comes across as comical in the fact that the two men never get up and leave as they discuss. However, this discussion also brings up crucial questions about the stagnancy of life throughout this play. This play leads you to believe that they play this day over and over again never accomplishing anything.

Another common theme in postmodern literature is intertextuality, which is the relationship between different texts. Waiting for Godot references and connects to the Bible many different times. Vladimir makes a connection to the bible when he says “Our Savior. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other... (he searches for the contrary of saved) ... dammed." “Vladimir: I tell you his name is Pozzo. Estragon: We’ll soon see. (He reflects.) Abel ! Abel ! Vladimir: I beging to weary of this motif. Estragon: Perhaps the other is called Cain. Cain! Cain!” (Beckett) This quote is a link

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