Date Approved

2007

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Annette Wannamaker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Bruss, Ph.D.

Abstract

Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot is commonly interpreted within the context of the Theater of the Absurd, existentialist literature, or Christian allegory. This thesis recognizes the validity of all such readings while attempting to merge these seemingly contradictory perspectives. By reading the play within the context of Christian Existentialism, new insights are uncovered as to what the play may be saying about the existential dilemma. Søren Kierkegaard, often called the Father of Existentialism, authored multiple works that influenced modern existentialist writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Kierkegaard’s writings, however, were Christian in nature rather than atheistic. By applying his philosophical theories to various aspects of Waiting for Godot, one can see how several common readings of the play relate. This thesis focuses particularly on the relationships of the two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, the servant Lucky’s speech, the figure of Godot, and the use of paradox.

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