Beckett's Waiting for Godot : a historical play with two Jews as main characters

Author: Hirsch, Oliver
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2020, vol. 46, iss. 1, pp. 175-194
Extent
175-194
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
Abstract(s)
In a new interpretation of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Valentin and Pierre Temkine came to the conclusion that it is not a piece of absurd theatre, but a play with a concrete historical background. Based on geographical locations and specific terms used in the original French version, they locate the play in German-occupied France during the Second World War. This article shows that Beckett assimilated his wartime experiences in the play and showed sympathy for the Jews who were hunted by the Germans and their collaborators. Vladimir and Estragon can be regarded as two Jews waiting for someone who will bring them deeper into either the Italian-occupied zone or Switzerland. Godot is therefore an alias for a smuggler taking precautions against arrest. Concrete references in the play are discussed against the historical background to support the thesis of a historical foundation. Several other authors have also stated that the play makes references to the Holocaust.
Document
References:
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