Waiting For Godot Analysis

1039 words - 5 pages

In Waiting For Godot, how does Beckett reflect the mood of post-war environments? Refer to 1 other related text in your response. [1000 words]

Texts are often permeated by the concerns and paradigms of the society from which they emerge, as the work may be shaped by, or respond to, these ideas. The period known as ‘After the Bomb’ or the Cold War, was characterised by an intensified questioning of human beliefs and values, thus many texts from this period reflect this. Through examining Samuel Beckett’s 1949 play Waiting for Godot and John Frankenheimer’s 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, one can see how the intensified questioning of freedom and absolutes was a key thematic concern in ...view middle of the document...

This subordination of their free will is exemplified by the juxtaposition of the concluding line with the stage direction: “’Yes let’s go.’ They do not move.”
The subjugation of individual liberty is also explored in the Hollywood film The Manchurian Candidate through the concept of brainwashing. This reflects a dominant Capitalist concern of the time, however, it is also subtly intertwined with Frankenheimer’s criticism of post war America’s genuflection to media, "We live in a society that is brainwashed by television, commercials, advertising, politicians and a censored press". The evil of Communism is encapsulated by Dr Yen Lo, with his statement of “I'm sure you've all heard the old wives' tale that no hypnotized subject may be forced to do that which is repellent to his moral nature, whatever that may be; nonsense of course”, representing the ultimate suppression of individual liberty: being forced to act against one’s morals. However, unlike Vladimir and Estragon this film’s protagonist, Raymond Shaw, gave his life to liberate both himself and his country. Frankenheimer utilised parallelism and asyndeton in Major Marco statement, “Made to commit acts too unspeakable to be cited here, by an enemy who had captured his mind and his soul, he freed himself at last, and in the end heroically and unhesitatingly gave his life to save his country.”
Thus through exploring texts from the After the Bomb period, one can see how the intensified examination of, and emphasis on, freedom, the crux of concern spreading through many post-war environments, permeated texts of this period.
The atomic bomb presented new apocalyptic possibilities, leading to an intensified questioning of mortality, religion, and what it means to be alive. Martin Luther King Junior, a dominant figure of the time, highlighted this issue; “We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate.” Waiting for Godot places a strong emphasis on the arbitrary nature of the universe and the existential need to give our own lives...

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