Meaning And Chaos In Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot

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Meaning and Chaos in Waiting for Godot
The meaning of Waiting for Godot, written by Samuel Beckett, has been debated since it was first published in 1952. It has been said that the only certainty in the play is uncertainty, which also rings true when spoken about our lives. Waiting for Godot plays with readers by leading them to think they have discovered significant meaning, only to prove them wrong later. It is easy to see only chaos when looking at the binary oppositions presented in this play, accepting chaos versus meaning as the only clear binary, but Beckett fractures even this seemingly clear line by providing meaning through the vehicle of chaos. By creating chaos and shattering the lines between binary oppositions, Beckett proves
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(Highly excited). An erection!
VLADIMIR. With all that follows. Where it falls mandrakes grow. That’s why they shriek when you pull them up. Did you not know that?
ESTRAGON. Let’s hang ourselves immediately! (Beckett Act I)
Addressing the extremely serious topic of suicide in a tone lightened by excitement for an erection muddles the line between humor and seriousness. The chaotic jumbling throughout the play of the two sides of this binary opposition blurs the line between them, making it nearly undistinguishable.
Hope versus hopelessness is another example of a binary which is clouded in this play. Each day Vladimir and Estragon return to wait for their appointment with Godot, displaying their hope that he will eventually come. Many times throughout the play either Vladimir or Estragon’s hope wanes, leaving them to rely on the other, who provides enough hope for both of them. After the first, long day of waiting illustrated in the play, just before they retire, Estragon despairs, leaving Vladimir to revive his spirits.
VLADIMIR. We’ve nothing more to do here.
ESTRAGON. Nor anywhere else.
VLADIMIR. Ah Gogo, don’t go one like that. To-morrow everything will be better. (Beckett Act
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It seems as though meaning is not present, only random fragments of easily-dismissed attempts at it. However, it is in this chaos that Beckett illustrates his point: in life nothing is purely this or that, everything bleeds into one another. Although something may seem to fit easily on one side of a binary, half of a binary is rarely enough to describe its complexity. Beckett shows that people and concepts have multiple sides and faces to them and exist in the places between the extremes. Rather than using the harsh lines dividing binaries to hold up his work, Beckett has destroyed the lines and used the pieces to create a seemingly nonsensical jumble. However, though the story seems chaotic, the chaos has been placed precisely in the way Beckett wanted it in order to illustrate his point. Chaos has been used to create the very thing Beckett is declaring not to exist:

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