Postmodernism and Absence in 'Waiting for Godot'

Part B- Responding
The article refers to a number of important issues to a number of important issues related to postmodernism and absence in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
Discuss the importance of absence in the play and how its representation reflects the important concerns of the Module Statement.
Your response should also consider to what extent Waiting for Godot can be viewed as a postmodern text.

As a literary device, absence is exceedingly difficult to define and to recognise. In Samuel Beckett’s “tragicomedy in two acts”, Waiting for Godot, absence is the central theme and structure for the text. Yet, in so being, it gives the play a lack of centre and structure; a concept outlined in Yuan, Yuan’s article ‘Representation and absence: paradoxical structure in postmodern texts.’ While often considered as a postmodern text, Waiting for Godot is unable to be simply classified as postmodern as it both conforms to and defies a number of postmodern techniques. The play deals with a number of important issues relating to the cold war period and absence is the integral part of all of these issues. One of the driving forces behind the play is the absence of purpose and decision. This is seen through the contrast of Estragon and Vladimir with Pozzo and Lucky. The simultaneous presence and absence of hope in the play is another important concept and is seen through the use of repetition. Tied in with the absence of hope is the absence of a higher being. This is important as it represents one of the religious paradigms of the time and is seen through allusion. Through all these things the text was valued at the time of its being written; 1948-49, and remains a valued text in today’s society.
In Waiting for Godot, the absence of any clearly defined purpose forms the basis of the play and is representative of a common post-war attitude. Right from the beginning of the play, the audience is ‘warned’ of the frustratingly pointless nature of the two main...