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Alienation in Waiting for Godot

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san zora

on 12 January 2015

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Transcript of Alienation in Waiting for Godot

Alienation in Waiting for Godot

In the play Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett often portrays the characters through the theme of alienation. Alienation is the state of being an outsider or the feeling as if you were being isolated from society. The two main characters, Vladamir and Estrogon show alienation by being secluded to society and well dependent on each other. Vladamir and Estrogon's mental state deteriated because of isolation.
In Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett develops the theme of alienation through the characters Vladamir and Estragon's fear of losing one another, their encounters with Pozzo and Lucky and Vladimir and Estragon's mental state deteriated because of isolation.
3 Arguements
Media component
Works cited
In an article by Edward Herbert he specifically defines the consequences of alienation as following:

"Alienation is the negative consequence of individualism, particularly when individualism is combined with a skeptical attitude towards existence of universal truth or purposefulness of human life"
Vladimir & Estragon Fear Losing Each Other
Samuel Beckett shows the theme of alienation and being alone when Vladimir and Estragon discuss ending their lives. This thought is quickly canceled because both Vladimir and Estragon fear of the rope breaking and one of them being stranded on their own.
Vladimir "You're my only hope".
Estragon" Gogo light- bough not break-Gogo dead.Didi heavy-bough break-Didi alone. Whereas-"
Vladimir"I hadn't thought of that. (Beckett 13)
This quote represents the fear of Vladimir and Estragon losing each other. It also displays how close and dependent their relationship is.
Through Vladimir's actions we can see that he is the more independent and the smarter one of the two. Due to him saying "You're my only hope" we can see that Vladimir needs Estragon as much as Estragon needs him.
This quote also shows that Estragon would die and Vladimir would get stranded on his own.
Suicide would not just cause them to die but also prevent them from seeing Godot.
With this we can see that alienation's negative affects can manipulate one's mental state and cause them to become skeptical of their own self worth. This is displayed in Waiting for Godot when Vladimir and Estragon decide to kill themselves because they're hopeless. Vlad and Estragon have lost their sense of self worth because they've been alienated for so long that they often turn to suicide as a result.
Vladimir and Estragon's encounter with Pozzo and Lucky
Starting from the beginning Vladimir and Estragon encounter with Pozzo and Lucky
Pozzo is a wealthy man and Lucky is Pozzo's slave
From the beginning of their encounter the main thing we notice is that Pozzo and Lucky are tied together with a rope, just like how Vladimir and Estragon are tied together. Although Pozzo is a rich man and lucky is a slave, Pozzo needs his slave just like how Lucky needs his Master.
It is evident to the readers that Vladimir and Estragon enjoy having them around which causes them to pass time waiting for Godot.

Pozzo: "On,(Lucky,laden down, takes his plce before Pozzo.)Whip (Lucky puts everything down, looks for whip, finds it, puts it into Pozzo's hand, takes up everything again.) Rope Lucky puts everything down, puts end of rope into Pozzo's hand takes up everything again.( Beckett 102)
By this quote we can see that even though Pozzo is blind, lucky is still staying with him and following everything he says when he can escape and be free, he chooses not to. At this point Pozzo needs Lucky the most and Lucky needs his Master the most just like how Vladimir and Estragon need eachother.
Vladimir and Estragon's mental state deteriorated because of isolation.
The last way we can see that isolation affects the characters is how alienation drove Vladimir and Estragon mad. Most of the play consists of the two main characters talking nonsense to each other, but this quote represents how alienation affected their mental state :
Vladimir: Look at it
They look at tree
Estragon: I see nothing
Vladimir:But yesterday evening it was all black and bare and now its covered with leaves.
Estragon: leaves ?
Vladimir: In a single night
By analyzing this quote we can see that waiting for Godot has taken Vladimir and Estragon away from their previous lives and isolated them from society, deteriorating their mental state as well as making both of them seem unintelligent. It also destroyed their common sense and ability to keep track of simple things that civilized people are able to keep track of (keeping time). The quote gives us proof on how Vladimir and Eastragon are unable to keep track of how much time has passed since "Act I".
Jennifer states in her article that "isolation is a powerful force.Human beings live, work, and play in groups, and to be separate from the whole humanity can disorient us, debilitate, and even question our place in the world"
This article relates to Waiting for Godot because Vladimir and Estragon have been isolated for so long that their way of thinking and them selves over all is disoriented.
Media Component
The film lord of the flies relates to Waiting for Godot because when the kids first crash on the island they seem to be civilized and have morals. Soon after their isolated for a long period of time majority of the group forgets their morals and turns on civilized means of survival. This can be related to Waiting for Godot because in both cases the characters mental state changes from civilized to uncivilized because they were isolated for a long period of time.
Alienation is a huge theme in Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot. Alienation affects the characters in various ways: Vladamir and Estragon fear of losing one another, their encounters with other characters and their mental state deteriation because of isolation are all side effects of how alienation can affect people.
Interactive Questions
Do you think alienation can cause an effect like it did to Vladimir and Estragon ?

Who do you think Godot is ? and why is he making them wait ?

Works cited

McClinton-Temple, Jennifer. "isolation." McClinton-Temple, Jennifer, ed. Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature.. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2011. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Jan. 2015 http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&WID=101973&SID=5&iPin=ETL0026&SingleRecord=True.

Gaydosik, Victoria. "alienation." Facts On File Companion to the British Novel: 20th Century, vol. 2. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Jan. 2015 http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&WID=101973&SID=5&iPin=GCBNII014&SingleRecord=True.
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