Waiting for Godot is a play that is quite impossible to find only one simple theme.
Comparing it to only one story doesn’t cover the possibilities that Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is trying to convey. In this circular play, the lack of climax within the storyline is what helps whichever message the author was trying to convey to be clear, whatever message that may have been. Waiting for Godot is simply about two men who pass the time aimlessly while they wait for a man who never comes, which doesn’t sound like much action but is a perfect example of the Theatre of the Absurd movement. It is defined as a drama using the abandonment of conventional dramatic form to portray the futility of human struggle in a senseless world.One recurring theme that particularly stood out to me was how the characters hold a lot of emotion but never seem to really do anything with it, except discuss it at length. More than once the word ‘nothing’ is used. There is often “nothing to do” (Beckett, 13) and “nothing to show” (Beckett, 4) and the characters world stays the same.
This can be compared to Italo Calvino’s “The Flash” from Numbers in the Dark when the author writes: “I am filled with the hope that perhaps this will be my moment again, perhaps one again I shall understand nothing” (Calvino, 1). The word choice that is used by both Beckett and Calvino-“nothing” shows how they have their opinions and feelings but they do nothing with them and instead accept the norm of life. In The Flash, the character so suddenly sees that things are not right in his world but as soon as he says anything he is shut down and is told that nothing was wrong, everything was just as it should be. The author used “nothing” to represent him not using his voice and not saying how he feels, instead he accepts that nothing is wrong and that how he feels is nothing. In Waiting for Godot, the phrase “nothing to be done” expresses the hopelessness of action and the senseless ways action sometimes succeeds. Also this phrase is used more than once as I previously mentioned and is used in more than a few different conversations such as in Act II, as they are waiting for Godot, Vladimir says: “There’s nothing we can do.
” We can do nothing except wait because we are all trapped in a universe that doesn’t make sense and that isn’t always perfect.”Nothing” can also be seen in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” when at the end the older waiter says: “Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy nada will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.” (Hemingway, 3).
In this story, Hemingway suggests that life has no meaning and that man is an insignificant speck in the great sea of nothingness. The older waiter makes this idea as clear as he can when he said that quotation. When he substitutes the spanish word “nada” (nothing) into the prayer he recites, he indicates that religion, to which many people turn to find meaning and purpose, is also just nothingness. Not everyone is aware of nothingness, for example, the younger waiter goes through life happily, unaware of any reason why he shouldn’t live positively.
For the old man, the old waiter, and the other people who need late-night cafes, however, the idea of nothingness is overwhelming and leads to despair.Also, Waiting for Godot shows a clear theme of passing time in a situation which offers no hope. The two main characters are forces to whittle away their days while anticipating the arrival of a man who never comes, Godot. Due to the fact that they have nothing to do in the meantime, time is a dreaded barriere for them, a test of their ability to wait and endure.
The fact that every character seems to have a faulty memory further complicated matters, time loses meaning when the actions of one day have no relevance or certainty on the next. This theme of the play can be compared to Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”. In this short story, waiting is a theme as well. The old man sitting in a cafe alone, late at night when he can’t sleep. He goes there to spend his time at night because he’s alone at home. The old man wastes his evening in this cafe, waiting until it’s time to leave.