Introduction Is the label tragic-comedy truly suitable for the drama Waiting for Godot? A tragic-comedy by definition, is a work which intertwines elements both tragic and comic in nature. This characterization can be questioned as to its legitimacy in its application to Waiting for Godot. However, such skepticism of the classification will soon be expunged. Necessarily, examples of tragic and comic techniques, as well as theme, will be identified and confirmed as content within the story. Body A Tragic-comedy is a play which claims a plot fit for tragedy but which ends happily like a comedy.
The action is serious in theme and subject matter and tone also sometimes, but it seems to be a tragic catastrophe until an unexpected turn in events brings out the happy ending. The characters of a tragic-comedy are noble but they are involved in improbabilities. In such a play tragic and comic elements are mixed together. Fletcher, in his Preface to the Faithful Shepherdess, defines a tragic-comedy as: “A tragic-comedy is not so called in respect to mirth and killing, but in respect it wants death which is enough to make it no tragedy. Shakespeare’s ‘Cymbeline’ and ‘The Winter’s Tale’ may also be categorized as tragic-comedy.
” Time is clearly presented as a tragedy and creates many hardships in Waiting for Godot. Waiting is generally perceived negatively and is the central focus of the story. The two main characters Estragon and Vladimir, are forced to waste away their days while awaiting the arrival of a man who never comes. Estragon and Vladimir have nothing to do in the meantime and in result time becomes a dreaded inevitability that they must endure. Because they extensively repeat the same actions, time is cyclical. Each character seems to have a faulty memory, which further proves problematic.
For example, this is seen in a conversation between Vladimir and Estragon: Vladimir: “That passed the time. ” Estragon: “It would have passed in any case. ” Vladimir: “Yes, but not so rapidly. ”. Time loses meaning and value when the actions of one day are without purpose or certainty on the next. Tragically, Estragon is regularly beaten, he admits: “Beat me? Certainly they beat me. ”. And Vladimir suffers from kidney troubles. Estragon’s feet and Vladimir’s kidneys are also taken to be granted. They both resent that they should be asked whether it still hurts. It is implied that it hurts all the time.
When Vladimir asks Estragon whether his boots are hurting him, he responds: “Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts! ”. Estragon then asks Vladimir of his kidney trouble and comically Vladimir responds: “Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts! ”. In actuality his trouble is so great that it does not even permit him to laugh. The comedy in Waiting for Godot quickly turns into tragedy at the thought of the helplessness Estragon and Vladimir now face. The two are waiting for someone who never arrives. In order to pass time they participate in irrelevant, meaningless activity.
Their lives are impossible to control and are without pleasure and their lifestyles are extremely tragic as it is. The source is the situation of pointless waiting of Estragon and Vladimir. They do not know who Godot is and even do not know what will happen if they stop waiting. Lack of essential knowledge makes them totally impotent and powerless. The total atmosphere of the play is very bleak to dark-comedy. For example, Vladimir is determined not to hear Estragon’s nightmare. However, Estragon still pleads with him in vain to hear him, saying that there is nobody else to whom he may communicate his private nightmares.
The situation of Lucky is comically pathetic, especially in view of his glorious past, as Pozzo describes it. Lucky is apparently frustrated and obsessed with life and the struggles himself and people as a whole must endure and begins to rant: “… the flames, the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis, the labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard tennis … the stones … so calm …Cunard … unfinished …”
A comic moment involves Estragon putting off and on his boots, as well as Vladimir’s game with his hat which appears as if he was performing at a circus. He also suffers from a prostrate problem and walks with stiff and short strides. The two each seem to engage often in unsure banter and easily influenced decisions, for example: Estragon: “Let’s go. ” Vladimir: “We cannot. ” Estragon: “Why not? ” Vladimir: “We are waiting for Godot. ” (They do not move. ) Estragon and Vladimir put on and take off each other’s hat as well as that of Lucky again and again.
It shows that in the world of tramps, there is no place of significant actions. The most farcical situation in the play is the one where the tramps are testing the strength of the cord with which they wish to hang themselves and the cord breaks under the strain. Waiting for Godot consists of two men unable to act, move, or think in any significant way while they kill time waiting for a mysterious man, Godot. The characters fail to realize that this very act of waiting is a choice; instead, they view it as a mandatory part of their daily routine.
This habit of uncertainty extends even to the most extreme of decisions, for example: Vladimir: “We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow…unless Godot comes. ” Estragon: “And if he comes? ” Vladimir: “Then we’ll be saved. ” Their inability to make conscious decisions can be viewed as tragically unfortunate, while at the same time it can also create humor. Conclusion In conclusion, multiple comic and tragic schemes were identified, as well as the theme of the drama; confirming Waiting for Godot as a tragic-comedy.
Certain events and dialogue between characters throughout the story promoted tragic and comic scenarios successfully and proved to be legitimate examples. While Waiting for Godot contains tragedy and comedy, is this the expectation for all dramas to qualify as a tragic-comedy? Finally, all and every story should be precisely and attentively observed before generalizing it within a label, to prevent pre-determined opinions and encourage personal perspective.