Existentialism is a philosophy that puts emphasis on the existence of people, choice, as well as, freedom. It stresses on individuality and the issues associated with the existence. There is diversity in the philosophy of existentialism. This essay discusses the meaning of existentialism as portrayed in the tragic comedy “Waiting for Godot”. In addition, it considers the correlation of the principle of existentialism with “Middlemarch” and how the characters Dorothea and Lydgate embody this principle. Furthermore, this essay discusses how the characters in both plays, behave in order to pursue the idea. Thus, the discussion focuses on the main idea that was brought forth by Elliot and Beckett’s work.
In the play ‘Waiting for Godot’, it is possible to claim that the proposition of the tragicomedy is an existentialist play. The play offers a bleak assessment of the condition of man. The play is centered on two characters, namely, Estragon and Vladimir. These men are waiting for a Mr. Godot, whom they do not know so much. The author describes Estragon as a man who admits that he will never give recognition to Mr. Godot. He stated that "Personally I would not know him, if I ever saw him." (Healing 21). Furthermore, he also gives remarks that “… we hardly know him." (p.23). According to these remarks, the audience is left to understand that the identity of Mr. Godot is not relevant, because little information is not provided in the play concerning the indefinable. Thus, what is extremely crucial in the comedy is the act of waiting for someone, who is never arriving.
According to Beckett, the identity of Godot is seen as a rhetorical question. The book is a parallel existentialism principle, thought and themes that are in existence throughout the existential tradition. The scenes in the comedy are simply constitution of a tree, whereas the exact location exact location is not known and it appears that the author placed the characters in some distant locality. The simplicity that characterized the scenes in the acts symbolizes a more complicated and absurd existence that is located in an identified place and time. It has only two acts that spans two days.
The character in the play, as well as, the location represents a man suffering from nostalgia this is coupled with the setting that the author creates for the characters that could simply be described as honest and desolate. Hence, this could be seen as the struggle of man in order to achieve a suitable place or existence, which is full of reasonable meaning and sense. However, according to the setting of the place, the characters are far more from this discovery of both meaning and sense. This is quite indescribable, just like nothing. In fact, nothing exists, and only a tree, this can be explained, when Vladimir waits for Godot (Healing 24).
The major focus of the play is centered on Vladimir and Estragon, and their dialogue is the climax of the play. In addition to their argument, they also question each other for their acts without getting into a reasonable solution. Thus, the focus of the play is the struggle between the protagonists, as they patiently wait for meaningful discussions and their acts. The process of waiting is all that these characters can do, as they constantly contemplate both leaving and suicide. This is crucial in play for various reasons. First, it indicates how their boredom is severe, also the lack of meaning due to Godot’s absence. It stated that thoughts of leaving the end in the hope in the arrival of Godot, also the complete fear of the outcome without their waiting. Through this, it seems, as if the characters are stuck. According to Healing (28), the men constantly ask what they will do. This is because waiting is difficult, as well as, figuring what they will do next as waiting became extremely difficult. Without this man, they are waiting for the men lost meaning in their days. Hence, the punishment of dropping Godot becomes the ultimate loss of meaning. The process of waiting provides the men with something to get involved in, and without it, they are much lost in the aspect of meaningless. Hence, the only option for them is to wait or suicide. The men are struggling with nihilism.
Beckett provides an understanding that man asses time by the habit to adapt to the existentialist dilemma of anxiety of existence. He also believes that man alleviates the pain of existence, which is the focal point of the existential principle by habit. This portrays the idea of habit to be an integral part of man’s existence. This substantiates the views of Sartre that man needs a rational base for their lives. According to Becket, he feels that habit is a concept that protects man from whatever that can be predicted or controlled. Habit refers to a compromise that an individual affects and his surrounding, or between an individual and, personal organic, eccentricities considered as what guarantees a dull inviolability.
In the play, Estragon and Vladimir keep on waiting as they pass the time throughout the play so as to escape the pain of waiting and to stop thinking or contemplating so deeply. At the end of the play, Vladimir expresses an idea suggesting that habit can be regarded as analgesic. The play is extremely ritual as the characters fill the emptiness, as well as, silence. As they say that they are passing time (Healing 28), this statement is a mutual obsession that is exhibited at the instance of the departure of both Pozzo and Lucky. According to the existential philosophy of Nietzsche, existentialism is a response to a philosophic tradition of a western thought. Hence, this is attributed to the beliefs and views that an individual holds as mere illusions. The concept of reality as an individual knows it, as well as, of comfort that it provides is nonexistent. In the play, Godot symbolizes God; hence after the death of God, there is no meaning in life. It is only God that provides unity, universality, as well as, clarity. According to play, the term “impossible” refers to understanding the world and how it is dependent on a man’s conceptions. Hence at this point, one can turn to God and obtain whatever seems to be impossible. According to Nietzsche, God is non-existent; this can have a similarity to Godot, providing a straightforward meaning of death and the significance of Godot in the play.
In the George Eliot's Middlemarch have multiple plots with various casts of characters. Furthermore, the book has distinct interlocking narratives that pursue a number of narratives that interlock, as well as, a number of underlying themes. It describes the status of women, the nature of their marriage, self interest and idealism, hypocrisy and religion, education, and political reform, as well. The play covers the ethic of sympathy, provides information of every aspect of the art, ranging from plot to distinction. Thus, the humble adjective used that denotes the term poor, provides a revelatory example of Elliot’s suffusing as a text. The book provides an epenthetic that connotes sympathy, as poor’ appeared in Middlemarch. For instance, poor Dorothea, and poor Lydgate and the contextual nuances of a clear modifier that implies subtle shifts, as well as, distinctions in the moral valuations of the narrator.
Dorothea is described as a woman who wants nothing in life that to do well to others. She rejects a man who would have provided a suitable match for her, since she likes an idea of being an assistant to the man. In addition, she wanted to assist the man to achieve his intellectual ambitions. Dorothea as a young woman was extremely enthusiastic, and later in her life she met people who genuinely loved knowledge. The characters in Middlemarch are disillusioned by deception of others and their own. Hence the narrative is about understanding the experiences and perceptions of others. This also involves suffering through self deception and disillusionment, the position one holds in the class system, as well as, class consciousness. This also embodies an ambition for self improvement and concomitants including, education and money.
The discrepancy, that Dorothea had never kept her off from marring a second time to Ladislaw, a man that she never knew exceedingly well. Lydgate is another main character in Elliot’s work. He is a man, who chose a wife according to physical attraction than knowledge. Lydgate married a materialistic and a self absorbed woman, Rosamond Vincy, who is little known to him. The woman had been harboring her misconceptions and delusion on which Lydgate was. After a safe marriage, they both realize that they poorly suited one another; hence, they cannot free each other. Lydgate is unwilling to put aside his class system pretext to afford and buy himself resources and time to concentrate on his medical research. Eventually, Lydgate ignores his basic financial reality that he experienced in Middlemarch. In addition, he is inefficient in prescribing drug, hence; humiliating clients by not doing his role appropriately and effectively. Consequently, he succumbs to his wife’s desire to abandon Middlemarch and turn into the medical practitioner that he longed to be. He later abandoned his medical research permanently and later becomes financially successful. This pleases his wife, Rosamond. After his death, his wife got married to another man who better suited her. This is a man who could indulge in her needs and materialism and never wanted her to get involved into any difficulty in life. In Elliot’s work, the characters are described as individuals, who cling to their delusions. Thus, the central characters are depicted as individuals, who have the habit of creating problems and then making attempts to ignore. These are individuals, who are idealistic and self absorbed (Beaty 26). They have one touch with reality causing them to commit serious mistakes to others. From this point, it is evident that Elliot never incorporated the concept of existentialism in her narrative, the Middlemarch. The mistakes, that are committed, by Dorothea and Lydgate make them experience unhappy life making their illusions be shattered.
The views of existentialists are that man can never understand all the truths that nature could tell. This means that man is composed of the mind and body, hence; human existence can give an explanation in terms of physical constituents of the universe. It is a principle that can be described as a philosophical theory governing the norms of authenticity, and particularly crucial in understanding human existence. The characters in the narrative engage themselves in deceit and suffer disillusionment. Thus, the author focuses on the human condition in order to enable readers to understand the situation experienced by the characters. The connection between the audience and the characters makes Elliot to present realism as indicated in the novel.
Dorothea has been described as an intelligent young woman who is independent; hence, differs from the conventional woman of the Victorian era. She concerns herself with philosophical issues, spirituality and service. In the narrative, education and money are the great determinants of the characters living styles and opportunities. For instance, Rosamond Vincy come from a stable family but, her egocentricity makes her not to adapt to life’s sacrifices and adjustments in the living style of an individual, particularly when there is scarcity of money. In contrast to Dorothea, the marital vocation of Rosamond does not encompass the life of a hero or a serious business in the world, but rather she wants to belong to a social class and find a place in the class system. The author also describes the egotistical nature of Rosamond by describing how the young girl wishes that her parent invites Lydgate to a party.
Lydgate is depicted to show the desires of an individual of an epic lifestyle, just like Dorothea, but differs in that he obtains a vocation in studying medicine, by working hard to achieve success in studying medicine. Through this, Elliot hints at the coming of failure of Lydgate. Lydgate is also depicted to have a drive and an ambition to make differences in life through making advances in the medical field. In addition, she believes that there is a wide field of discovery in the field of medicine; hence can make improvements through perseverance.
In conclusion, the diversity in the philosophy of existentialism suggests the main theme that stresses on, the concrete individual, existence, individual freedom, choice and subjectivity. Thus, the idea of a higher ethical conduct can be achieved from the principle of existentialism that can be traced since the days of Plato and Socrates. Existentialism is a view that was held that morality was an aspect that is common to all people, and as individuals approaches moral perfection, they become moral, like the next individual. Most existentialists have argued that an individual is obliged to choose his or her own way, and have their own path without assistance from others of universal guidance or ideas. Existentialists have supported the notion that an individual is responsible to choose his own. In addition, an individual must make a choice on his own way without guidance from others. In addition, most existentialists have argued that choice is particularly crucial as people learn from making choices. Thus, the primary distinction of humanity is the freedom to make a choice that cannot be escaped. Furthermore, not making a choice is a choice not to choose.