Are Vladimir and Estragon Men Living the Absurd Or do They Fail to Live Up to Camus Standard

The idea of existentialism goes through the works of such outstanding writers and philosophers as Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sartre, Iris Murdoch, Samuel Beckett, etc. Their role in maintaining some new ideas to the world literature were quite influential. Paying more attention to Albert Camuss opinion, it is vital to break the brightest ideas on absurdity in Beckets Waiting for Godot down. The main idea is to look through the situation of Vladimir and Estragon in their attempts to meet Godot. These two protagonists of Becketts first play provide a scope of different assumptions and opinions that were stated by some eminent critics and are constantly irritating minds of ordinary readers. However, the main approach in this paper is to provide philosophical reasoning of the main issue in the play by Samuel Beckett. Such a philosophical vision is applied through Camuss evaluation of the Absurd. All in all, the absurdity of life is apparently seen on example of Vladimir and Estragon as a crucial need to find out the meaning in life.

Samuel Beckett masterly describes the gist of the theater of Absurd through the concepts of existential tradition (Hotaling, 2009). In this respect Camus was highly interested in the concept of God as being meaningful for people. Vladimir and Estragon are in despair during two acts, they can hardly reach out the aim of their sitting under the tree. Here lies one of the main features of their helplessness. They can no longer wait for Godot. On the other hand, their tries to resolve the problem finds quite radical and irrational means. Continuing the discussion on the title of the play, one should underline the word waiting, first of all. As the father of the existentialism Soren Kierkegaard admits, Absurd is the paradox of the eternal, immortal, infinite God being incarnated in time as a finite mortal. Thus, Absurd is directly related to the eternity of time.

Taking a glance at the play, Vladimir and Estragon agree by seeing some kind of hope amidst waiting. They both repeat that while waiting they could do their exercises, movements, elevations (Beckett, 1982). It is necessary to point out that both are in search for Godot. Thus, one should make some parallel between Godot and God, in particular. It is needful, for existentialists criticized the place of divine God in lives of people. Moreover, the main contradiction between destinies that God draws up for human beings is at stake. If a man does not find somebody to help, it means a total crush for himher.

In this respect Camus was quite reasonable. He sought to illuminate the truth of an existential and absurd man. In The myth of Sisyphus he describes Sisyphus as the best Absurd hero ever. Identifying the protagonist philosophically Camus remarks His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing (Camus, 1991, p. 118). Hence, Sisyphus promotes ideas of Camus that encompass the essence of character in an Absurd man. It means that Absurd appears intentionally in peoples lives. It is possible under conditions that a human being, their sense of life, and God are separated.

Citing Camuss scenario for Vladimir and Estragon, one should first agree that these two are the examples of so-called Absurd heroes. Their life is nothing. Beckett himself gave his protagonists the idea of the reality as nothing. Even though, Camus provides three ways to deal with the absurdity in life. Each of them is judged upon with a mere extent of logical and rational treatment. Thus, Camus gives three choices to deal with absurdity
Physical suicide.
Religious solution beyond the Absurd.
Embrace of absurdity with continuation of living (Simpson, 2005).

Physical suicide is the most blatant form of reducing absurdity in life. Vladimir and Estragon are likely to prefer this way of solution, first of all. It does not matter either it is rational or not. Both see the brilliant idea of taking life, unless meeting Godot. It sounds quite Absurd at a glance. However, every bean has its black, and the protagonists decide on committing suicide next day. First associations that fulfill minds of Vladimir and Estragon are related to Lucky being with a rope on the neck owing to Pozzo who jerks the rope actively. In turn it caused some reflections of both that this way of existence is inevitable (Beckett, 1982). Here comes the moment to think it over.

In fact, physical suicide by the rope means that Absurd is higher than reason in life of a man. The powers of the Absurd, thus, run the gamut of what a man thinks, feels, and perceives in life. Finally, the Absurd seems greater than rationality and religious milestones for people. On the other hand, happiness and the Absurd are two sons of the same earth (Camus, 1991, p.120). Here emerges a dichotomy of how a man can go over happiness being involved in the Absurd. Ideas like this are perpetually on Vladimir and Estragons minds.

Religion, as a remedy to prevent absurdity, is taken by most of the philosophers as something transcendent to be helpful for a man at a dead-end. Existential position is specific a bit. Thus, existentialists think that God evokes to peoples redemption through fear (Hotaling, 2009). However, fear is not that positive to be applied as a way out for a man. It seems to be just a continuation of martyrdom in ones life. For instance, Sisyphus was doomed by gods to carry his burden up to the top of the mountain. In the play by Beckett there is a somewhat generalized mentioning of God as one with white beard who is outside time and without any extension (Beckett, 1982). This idea is more prevalent in case with Vladimir and Estragon. Godot is indirectly presumed to be their savior to whom they are indebted by their lives. Nonetheless, they are still stubborn in terms of waiting for Godot.

Camus criticizes the religious choice to predict and reduce absurdity as philosophical suicide (Simpson, 2005). Thus, the philosopher would think that Vladimir and Estragon were deceived by so-called hypothesized essence of God. To say more, Camus sees in religious treatment for Absurd a kind of fraudulence. This thought covers those passive attempts of Vladimir and Estragon to find out the way to speed up Godot by means of reasoning over him. Alas, it is an evasive way to follow, as would Camus outline. Making supernatural as something applicable to resolve natural problems of human beings is more dangerous. It is believed to be so, but it is not apparent in person. In case with Vladimir and Estragon no wonder happens at all. Thereupon, they are no-hopers who never thought of the fallacies of religion interpreted many times by different humans. They are caught into the trap by reducing the charms of life and putting everything that belongs to it aside.

Vladimir and Estragon are constantly waiting for Godot, even though they hardly know him (Beckett, 1982). Transforming the essence of Godot into divine nature of God, an observer can simply infer the Absurd being all over the protagonists. Mysticism and attempts to share it among others makes no difference if having no idea of a person being as glorified by the main characters, as Godot. Vladimir and Estragon are following the shaky way of dreaming and searching for answers via clouds of illusions. Along with the illusion of freedom that religion, or Godot gives, is the illusion of meaning and purpose (Hotaling, 2009, p. 9). Camus characterized the way of reason as persuasiveness in no other way to resist the Absurd in life (Camus, 1991). It is clear through his alleged look at Vladimir and Estragons constant sitting and waiting for someone over and over again. Albert Camus fairly admits The return to consciousness, the escape from everyday sleep represents the first steps of Absurd freedom (Camus, 1991, p. 57). Senseless deeds make no difference. Hence, the Absurd fulfills an empty place in human life where there is no reason. Religion through existentialist viewpoint solely aggravates mans going deep down into the Absurd.

All in all, one may assume that waiting for Godot and reaching it by the rope is the same as waiting for death. Thus, no religious treatment can cause a relief for a man from the existentialist point of view. Camus sees philosophical suicide as a tremendous try to prolong the process of dying. However, in the religious point of view Camus contradicts Kierkegaard. The latter thought of that faith gave a man opportunity to realize the nature of self (McDonald, 2009). This debatable question, as strange as it may seem, finds philosophical grounding from Camuss estimation of the outcomes pursuant to religion.
Finally, the third variant to cope with the Absurd is simply to embrace it. It means that Vladimir and Estragon could get more use of leaving Godot out and looking at life as meaningless on the whole. This approach is seen by Camus as the optimal among three choices listed above. The authenticity of this living with a perception of the Absurd in life is life as such. Existentialists dwell on this issue extrinsically. First of all, life is full of things which surround a man. Further still, life provides some additional qualities in it that are related to the area of consciousness and sub-consciousness.

Vladimir and Estragon are likely to find recognition by other individuals while waiting for Godot (Hotaling, 2009). They want to show it to Pozzo even with some kind of indifference and disgust. However, the protagonists should be reckoned as ones having no desire to put up with the Absurd. It is especially emphasized by the fact that they do not feel absurdity in what they are doing and what they are going to do. Camus, though, demonstrates the most appropriate example of taking absurdity for granted by the fate of Sisyphus. This Absurd hero was able to follow the will of gods even disrespecting them. He tried his best at carrying the huge rock on the top of the mountain. Doing so, he was full of rational intentions on relieving his torture. Nevertheless, Sisyphus did not give up.

Vladimir and Estragon think that, if Godot comes, their lives will be fulfilled with joy and meaning. The protagonists are encouraged to spend their lives by waiting. They disregard the Absurd as such and move towards the idea that their lives will acquire more points to live if only Godot pleases them by coming. However, both understand their mission in the following way We have kept our appointment and thats an end to that (Beckett, 1982, p. 91). The search for meaning in life corresponds to what Camus infers in the statement that life can be lived all the better if it has no meaning (Simpson, 2005, p. 1). The problem of Vladimir and Estragon is that they are stubborn enough to find the meaning in life assisted by Godot.

What is more, the protagonists do not see that their lives are nothing at large if being driven by such an intention as waiting for someone non-existent. The way the main characters interpret life is far from being reasonable and weighed. They are desperate of having no meaning in life. Camus would not agree with their choice, because, as was aforementioned, life is meaningless in its core realities. Committing suicide is the demonstration of how absurdity pushes on people. Vladimir and Estragon realize that their failure is inevitable in their specific case. However, it is peculiar to note that absurdity is everywhere.
One more touch should lie on the Camuss alleged criticism of Vladimir and Estragon who failed to meet the short they could do in life. In this respect once again Camus glorifies the image of Sisyphus. This Absurd hero recognizes that his burden does not lead him to happiness, but to the entire battle with self. Sisyphus is quite rational in order to face the Absurd in a spirit of true heroism (Simpson, 2005, p.1). Heroic actions are the result of previous rethinking over the unfair existence of people in terms of total absurdity seen in life. This idea gets through the vision of Vladimir and Estragon as not viable at all. They no longer need to suffer from waiting for the sense of life (Godot) to come. They are so much resolute to hang themselves on the near tree. Camus would place them on the right path by saying the next claim Living is keeping the Absurd alive. Keeping it alive is, above all, contemplating it (Camus, 1991, p. 52).

To conclude, the absurdity of life is apparently seen on example of Vladimir and Estragon as a crucial need to find out the meaning in life. However, Albert Camus demonstrates on the example of Sisyphus that both failed to live in Absurd life. Within three main choices of Camus, Vladimir and Estragon dared commit physical suicide as a result of primordial philosophical suicide. Moreover, their waiting for Godot proves an existential idea of meaningless being all-pervading through peoples lives. Those who used to live within absurdity are complemented by Camus as ones who had sought the gist of living. Alas, the protagonists of Becketts play did not recognize the truth of the Absurd at all.


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