…the very ontology and teleology of the ‘waiting’…

From: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” (Spring semester, 2007), by Lisa Missing:

“Much has been written about Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, but as far as I am aware no one has compared the two characters of Vladimir and Estragon in order to analyse what makes Vladimir more willing to wait than Estragon…

In his text on Waiting ‘with’ Godot, Paul E. Corcoran writes that “[t]he most important questions for students of the mind and human values in this century have to do with consciousness”. Corcoran continues by stating: “In one way or another we are all waiting. Questions of meaning, whether mundane and urgent or philosophically abstract, often have the quality of attendance”. There is a place we need to be at at a certain time…

In discussing Waiting for Godot from a Hindu point of view, Ranjan Ghosh writes: “It needs to be understood that, in Hindu philosophy, ‘waiting’ is the unity of existence, the inspiration to reorient the undertow of moral slackness and other entropic forces”. This, according to Ghosh, can provide a clear understanding of the self and its relation to the situation, thus freeing one’s mind for a while, and bringing waiting into a positive light.

Ghosh writes that waiting is a state of consciousness, and he continues to state that waiting is a performance “which implies that one cannot move away but simply wait”. He believes that the “arrival of the boy bearing a message from Godot is a simulation to initiate, or rather manifest, ‘action’”. He suggests that this shows that there is a decision to act made because there is an “action,” as he points out: “no action can take place unless there is a decision to act”.

Since Ghosh claims to be able to ascribe ends to most of the actions of the play and that most of the consequences are meaningful he believes that the play is not absurd. “The frustration and resistance involved in the temporal situation of Vladimir and Estragon is integral to the very ontology and teleology of the ‘waiting’”. Waiting, in general, does not have an end in itself, it launches into the task that follows it.

I agree with Corcoran in this matter. Waiting is a conscious state of mind. Vladimir and Estragon are attending at a place at a certain time, so there has to be a meaning for them to be there…”

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