“Waiting for Godot” is an existentialist play because it has clear tints of existentialism in it. If we study the term existentialism we would come to know that it is a philosophical doctrine which lays stress on the existence with his concrete experience and solidities. However, “Waiting for Godot” is an existentialist play for it embodies Christian existentialism. Christian existentialism stress the idea that:
I God only, man may find freedom for tension.
For Christian, existentialism religious leads to God, whereas according to the Atheistic Existentialism, it is based on the idea of Jean Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger who state that:
Man is alone in a godless universe.
The comparative study of both philosophies helps us to prove “Waiting for Godot” as a Christian existentialistic play.
We know that man is confronting the problem of his existence as a being. He is striving for his survival and to control the bridle of the pacing time. He is struggling to save his “individuality” and this very idea leads to the philosophy of existentialism.
The word “Existentialism” stands for one’s “awareness” of one’s “beingness”. It stands for a vital principal of life. “Waiting for Godot” resembles the existentialist literature because it deals not only with existence or identity but also with the momentary and the internal time. The time mentioned in “Waiting for Godot” is related to man’s mental condition. For instance, the major problem for the tramps is to make time pass in such a way that they are least bothered by it. Vladimir and Estragon constantly complain of the slowness of time passing and do their best to hurry it with their futile diversions. Estragon says:
Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.
But we know that outside the natural time, its consequences flow on. For example, the tree has grown five or six leaves. Pozzo has grown blind and Lucky dumb. Here Estragon remarks:
They all change, only we not.
It should be noted that waiting the natural course of time, they think they would believe themselves from all of their problems without doing any effort. They might die naturally and save the effort of hanging themselves.
There is a distinction between the momentary and eternal time for it deals with the question of existence and identity. This difference can also be seen in this play. In “Waiting for Godot” physical time is sometimes taken seriously and sometimes it is ridiculed or condemned. Estragon once succeeds in confusing Vladimir about the passage of time as well as about the day of week. In the same sentence the tramps speak of a million years ago and in the nineties. We have no reason to be certain that the second description is anyone factual than the first.
Doubts about time make the tramps doubtful about their existence and identity. One tramp claims to be of the part, it is doubted by the other. Their own identity and existence in time is also questionable. One day seems to have elapsed between the first act and the second, yet it becomes extremely difficult to differentiate this day with the previous by any important physical evidence.
The play “Waiting for Godot” has all the traits of existentialism both Vladimir and Estragon represent the man in general who is facing the problems of his existence in this world. They are interdependent like all other man. Hope for salvation is the subject of play and is the problem faced by the whole human race. Representing the man in general, the two tramps realize the futility of their exercise and we note that they are merely filling up the hours with the pointless activity. Hence their ‘waiting’ is mechanical and deals with problem of existentialism.
To conclude we say that the whole picture shows a pretty hopelessness. Neither time nor existence, neither reality nor memory or the past have any meaning or significance. Acts are meaningless, time does not flow consecutively, memory seems deceptive, existence is an impression or perhaps a dream and happiness is extremely and affliction is crystal clear through the situation of two tramps. They are on the point of becoming hollow philosophies of existence but demand no other equipment in an audience than the bond of common perception.