We find ourselves in some deeply existential quandary: a problem beyond inquiry or conclusion; a problem that extends into the void of time and space; that avoids the very title of "problem". We are confined to a box, in Endgame, we are on a dead tree stump off an abandoned road, in Godot, and we are on a bare stage with remnants of a former life or two, in Krapp's Last Tape. The resounding question is perhaps: where are we; and the resounding answer: we don't know. The resounding question is perhaps: who are we? The resounding answer is perhaps: "Je ne sais pas, monsieur (Esslin, 36)." And Mr. Beckett presents.... the universe. And Mr. Beckett presents...the human condition. And Mr. Beckett presents...existence. And Mr. Beckett presents...
[...] But by contrasting the theory of self-awareness presented by Beckett in Godot with Eastern/psychological theories I do not make the claim that either "theory" is more valid. Rather, I think that they present us with two different pictures of self-awareness. Though Beckett declined to comment on his work, and shunned interpretations of it that sought to "discover" the meaning of specific characters and places, I think that we can say that Godot is essentially the summation of Beckett's own personal experience/existence. [...]
[...] Metman observes, it is at the very moment, toward the end of the play, when Vladimir is about to realize he has been dreaming, and must wake up and face the world as it is, that Godot's messenger arrives, rekindles his hopes, and plunges him back into the passivity of illusion. For a brief moment, Vladimir is aware of the full horror of the human condition: 'The air is full of our cries . But habit is a great deadener.” Beckett seems to recognize that suffering and freedom are at the root of the human experience, and Waiting for Godot explores their interplay in the realm of human existence. [...]
[...] In Godot, Beckett presents us directly with the problem of self-awareness in a changing and uncertain universe. How then, would an alternate theory of self-awareness approach this same universe and state of humanity? Would such a theory assume a similar universe and human condition? If not, what would be different? An interesting response to this question is that, in light of the fact that Beckett leaves us in a perpetual state of irresolution and uncertainty, vacillating between despair and hope: what would happen if Didi and Gogo were to resign themselves to a state of despair, without the prospect of hope? [...]
[...] In the above passage (Beckett Didi and Gogo are aware of their own despair and their own inability to control the universe or the passage of time, for this is what allows them to wait. But are they aware that they wait in vain? That is, are they aware that their wait for Godot is merely a product of their own ineffectual hope? Their sense of boredom and resignation indicates that they are aware of this fact, for if they were truly expecting him to come, then they might wait in anticipation. [...]
[...] It is worth waiting for that is it not?" In many ways, Beckett exemplifies the prototype of the searching artist; as one who struggles with uncertainty and irreconciliation; one who is resigned to irreconciliation, perhaps, in face of one's own inability to escape. One who lives by an Eastern-type rubric of self-awareness, on the other hand, is perhaps different in his ability to achieve some sort of control over his own faculties. Beckett suggests a universe of non-sequiturs, a non-pragmatic non- existence, without reason or meaning. [...]
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