“Waiting for Godot” is clearly influenced by the typical qualities of the modern French drama. The playwright tries to communicate like the French dramatist the meaninglessness of life through dialogues. It is like the naturalist drama of Ibsen and G. B. Shaw in its emphasis on discussion. Nothing significant happens on the stage. The theatre of absurd prefers existential things, and, therefore, occasionally it woos Nihilism. The characters are insubstantial but become significant for the symbols they represent. After the first performance of ‘Waiting for Godot‘ (5th January 1953) critics were convinced that Beckett had contrived an absolute negation of human existence. It took more time than other plays to draw their attention from the surface of these stagnant waters to the life of their microorganism.
The most significant feature of an absurd play is the lack of action. Either nothing or very little happens throughout the whole play. In ‘Waiting for Godot‘ there is nothing significant except waiting and waiting. The waiting also becomes useless as Godot does not arrive in spite of such a long monotonous waiting. In the world of Godot, even the minimum action is impossible. A pair of battered shoes is the first centre of focus – Estragon is seen trying to remove his shoes. In the manner of every endeavour on the stage, even the most modest, it is a painful venture and an unsure one. Estragon’s first comment ‘nothing to be’ is seemed to be echoed and amplified by Vladimir later on the drama. So, throughout the play, one can not find any significant movement or action except actionlessness.
In an absurd drama, the characters lose their identity. In ‘Waiting for Godot‘ the tramps have no identity and even if, they lose their identity in the course of the action. Their identity and their relationship are in doubt. They.cover the day jointly but spend the night apart. Life to them is an endless rain of blows. In this situation suicide is a recurrent temptation, but it requires an assertion of which they are not capable of.
Like other absurd drama ‘Waiting for Godot‘ also studies human situations and man’s existential problems in this universe. From the very beginning of the play, both Estragon and Vladimir speak that they have nothing to do. Estragon has spent the last night in a ditch and is often beaten by the people. He admits the fact that the struggle has been of no use. They both decide to commit suicide either by jumping from a tower or by hanging themselves from a tree. The existence of the other pair of characters -Lucky and Pozzo are also absurd. Pozzo is driving Lucky by means of a rope around his neck. When Pozzo gives a sudden jerk to the rope Lucky falls to the ground with his burden. When Estragon and Vladimir wanted to help Lucky they were warned that Lucky is vicious. Pozzo wants to get rid of Lucky by selling him though it would be far better to kill him. When Estragon tries to wipe Lucky’s tears he is violently kicked by Lucky. At the last part of the play, we see that Lucky goes dumb and Pozzo goes blind. Estragon proposes that they must hang themselves. But there is no rope and at last, it becomes uselėss for hanging purpose as they break the cord of Estragon into two. What the dramatist tries to convey through these is the universal rotating problems of mankind in this very existence.
Moreover, there is something enigmatic in the atmosphere of the play. The situation of the tramps is both funny and tragic -in broad, it is the human situation. Like the tramps, we all are waiting for something death to relieve us from all pain and misery, from all anxieties, sorrows and existential sufferings. The modes of a civilized way of life and civilized behaviour are put to winds. Throughout the play there hangs an absurd atmosphere. It is absurd to the point of abstract and philosophical also. Life, as well as death in this atmosphere, is treated as a joke. All human action as well as situation is nothing but a mere hollow joke.
Thus, ‘Waiting for Godot‘ is an absurd play which mocks at the futility of man’s life and its meaninglessness. The whole background of the play reminds of man’s loneliness and alienation. There is suffering, agony, anxiety, waiting, futility and all sorts of absurdity. So from the points of view of structure, theme, motive, characters, atmosphere, setting and language, we find the play as an absurd one.