Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Book Notes: "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett

Godot is the highly regarded absurdist short play by Samuel Beckett. Originally written in French (Beckett apparently spent most of his adult life in Paris) and no doubt inspired by Camus and Sartre, Godot uses slapstick, low-brow silliness to vaguely articulate sophisticated philosophical thought. Unusual combination, eh?

The two main characters could easily be Laurel and Hardy. They really are low-brow. The comedy isn't exactly funny. Just completely absurd (and not in a Jim Carrey kind of way). It's the kind of work that can only be looked at from a broad view, from a distance because its surface level is all nonsense.

While I'm sure there have been many a dissertation on Godot and Beckett, I'll boil it down to one paragraph:

Man is ridiculous. Man understands so little. We loathe each other but depend on each other. We have no idea why we do what we do, but we persist against all odds to keep doing it. Answers to our questions always seem so near, but are never delivered. We are fools and we'll never be anything but fools. The combination of foolishness and persistence are laughable but also oddly admirable - only a fool can persevere like a fool, and this we do remarkably well.

It's a short two-hour read, but it'll be days, weeks, years, never before the light turns on. And while it's absurd, it definitely isn't really all that funny so don't expect too much jaunty entertainment with your damning/praising of the foibles of man.


Post a Comment

<< Home