Beckett vs Satre Essay

2349 Words Nov 6th, 2010 10 Pages
Compare and contrast Sartre’s No Exit with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

Samuel Beckett’s vision of two lowly tramps in the middle of a derelict environment can be placed in direct contrast to the claustrophobic and eternal nightmare presented by Jean-Paul Sartre , but each playwright possessed objectives for their respective audiences and each shared a valued opinion on the theories of existentialism which can be established in the plays Waiting for Godot and No Exit. Beckett introduces the audience into a world of questioning and surrealist virtues and encourages the spectator to actually discuss the play and find the answer within. Sartre, however, presents his play as a placard for the virtues of existentialism and attempts to prove
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Garcin, Estelle, and Inez in No Exit all have different traits, as does Beckett’s characters, but their characters are shaped from past despairs, sexuality or previous happenings in their lives which have evidently placed them in the hellish scenario in which they find themselves. Because of the situation in Sartre’s play, the audience can relate themselves to the characters on an empathetic level and create stronger opinions and less questionable virtues than that of Beckett’s enigmatic trio. The despair and degradation towards many civilians during the Second World War became an established influence in both Sartre and Beckett’s works during their most prolific period of writing after the conflict. The persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi’s occupying Paris and Beckett’s personal actions within the French Resistance seemed to have spawned a firm principle and an underlying subtext within his plays. McDonald makes this apparent when he says: In his post-war career, though his work became ever less connected to a recognisable world, one could say, paradoxically, that it became more political, more shaped by exploitive power relations, edicts handed down from above, secrecy and inscrutability and descriptions of human torment.
Many of these influences are indisputable in the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky throughout the first act in Waiting for Godot. During Act I of the play

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