Unit-3Samuel Beckett :Waiting for GodotSCHOOL OF OPEN LEARNINGUniversity of DelhiB.A. (Hons.)English – Semester VPaper XII : British Literature: The Early 20th CenturyCore CourseReading Material(For Limited Circulation Only)
Paper XII – British Literature: The Early 20th CenturyUnit-3Samuel Beckett :Waiting for GodotEdited by:K. Das GuptaSchool of Open LearningUniversity of DelhiDelhi-110007SCHOOL OF OPEN LEARNINGUNIVERSITY OF DELHI5, Cavalry Lane, Delhi-110007
Paper XII – British Literature: The Early 20th CenturyUnit-3Samuel Beckett :Waiting for GodotContentsS. No.TitlePg. No.1.Introduction012.Theme023.Who is Godot?064.The Characters075.A Note on Time106.Waiting for Dodot (Study Notes)137.A Note on the Absurd188.List of Resource Books209Reference Notes2110Chronology24SCHOOL OF OPEN LEARNINGUNIVERSITY OF DELHI5, Cavalry Lane, Delhi-110007
1Waiting for GodotIntroductionSamuel Beckett was born at Foxrock, near Dublin on Good Friday, April 13th 1906. Hisparents were Protestants. He had a comfortable home. He studied piano a team sports. Hisacademic brilliance came to be noted ever since he went to attend Trinity College Dublin. In1924 he graduated with a first in modern languages, in 1928 he was awarded a two-yearexchange fellowship to the Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris.In Paris he became a close associate of James Joyce and published poems, stories andessays and translations.He continued to stay in mainland Europe, mostly in France except for short visits toDublin.During the war he joined the French Resistance. Threatened by arrest, he escaped to theunoccupied Zone, working in potato fields in the day and writing at night. Back in Paris afterthe war, he wrote many pieces, all in French, short stories, novels and plays –En AttendantGodot, novels–Molloy, Malone Meurt, L’Innommable, were all written at this time. He wasawarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1969. True to himself, he did not go to Stockholm toreceive it. He was always shy, reserved and unassuming untouched by any show of greatness.Beckett died in December, 1989.Beckett’s playWaiting for Godotbaffles explanation. “Its strength lies in its ambiguity.”It explores the mystery of existence, the unnamed fear and anxiety of the humansubconscious mind, that defy rationality. Beckett insisted thatWaiting for Godotis designedto give artistic expression to “the irrational state of unknowingness wherein we exist, thismental weightlessness which is beyond reason. All that can be attempted is to see whatquestions are being asked in this play, though the questions remain unanswered.In the following pages, an attempt has been made to put these questions in a manner, sothat the issues involved inWaiting for Godotare surfaced and crystallized.