Tag Archives: Sartre

Essence or Existence? Existentialist Reading of Samuel Beckett’s waiting for Godot (Published)

Samul Beckett’s play waiting for Godot has received different contradictory criticisms. Some critics categorized it as existential, absurd and Christian existentialism, while this study has provided textual indications and discussions to dissociate it from existentialist philosophy of Sartre and Kierkegaard’s Christian existentialism. To this end, both attitudes were examined through traits and characteristics of the two main characters of Vladimir and Estragon whether to perceive them as existentialist or essentialist. Characters were studied using philosophical approaches of Kierkegaard and Sartre’s existentialism. Discussions revealed that due to the characters’ inability to accept their responsibility of life and aimless wasting of waiting for a savior, their essence precedes their existence but endless waiting does not actualize the priority of essence. It puts Waiting for Godot beyond modern existentialist analysis and associates it with the impotent human and God in leading human destiny resulting in the characters’ frustration in an infinite purgatory world.

Keywords: Existentialism, Kierkegaard., Samuel Beckett, Sartre, waiting for Godot