Waiting For Godot


by Samuel Becket
Is Life Predetermined?
Reading a work of literature often makes a reader
experience certain feelings. These feelings differ with the
content of the work, and are usually needed to perceive the
author's ideas in the work. For example, Samuel Beckett
augments a reader's understanding of "Waiting For Godot" by
conveying a mood, (one which the characters in the play
experience), to the reader.
In "Waiting for Godot", Beckett uses many pauses, silences,
and ellipses (three dots (...) used to create a break in
speech) to express a feeling of waiting and unsureness.
There is a twofold purpose behind this technique. For one,
it shows that Vladimir and Estragon, the two main
characters who are waiting for Godot, are unsure of why
they are waiting for him. This also foreshadows that they
will be waiting a very long time.
In some cases in literature, an idea can only be conveyed
properly if those on the receiving end of the idea are able
to experience the feelings that a character is experiencing
in the work. For example, in order for a reader to feel how
and understand why Vladimir and Estragon feel as though
they do while they wait, it is essential for that reader to
either understand or experience the same feelings that
Vladimir and Estragon are experiencing. Vladimir and
Estragon are waiting; waiting for Godot, to be exact; and
Beckett wants the reader to feel as if he or she were
waiting also. Along with the feeling of waiting that a
reader may experience, he or she might also understand how
Vladimir and Estragon feel at times: Unsure, not very
anxious to move on, and constantly having to wait. A
feeling of timelessness is even evoked, allowing almost
anyone from nearly any time to understand Vladimir and
Estragon's predicament.
Similarly, a dominant mood is thrust upon a reader in
"Beowulf". These moods which are conveyed aid the author in
conveying ideas to a reader. Many times people may feel
overwhelmed by a higher force unalterable to them. This
force may control something such as their fate. In the
Anglo-Saxon culture, a popular belief was that of fate. The
writers of Beowulf may have known that not all people
believe in the power of fate. Therefore, to properly convey
such an idea as the inevitability of fate in the epic, the
writers included events which, when read, are also
"experienced" by the reader. For example, the narrator of
Beowulf states how fate is not on Beowulf's side. After
many years of winning countless battles, Beowulf was killed
by a dragon in a fierce fight. While he was fighting, and
because the narrator had stated that fate was not on his
side, the reader could identify with Beowulf and feel how
he may have at the time: Overwhelmed, overpowered, and as
if a force greater than he was controlling him (his fate).
Moods that are created, such as that of longing or waiting,
and fear or inevitability, in Waiting for Godot and
Beowulf, respectively, hold a distinct purpose. The moods
presented usually serve the purpose of helping the author
express more fully an the idea or ideas that he or she
wishes to convey. Also, by conveying a universal mood, or
one that nearly everyone is able to comprehend and
interpret, the work of literature's longevity is augmented.
This will further help the reader to interpret the work and
understand more fully the moods presented. 


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