• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Air of pessimism present in Waiting for Godot and The Wasteland

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the way writers convey an air of pessimism in the openings of the texts - [The Wasteland and Waiting for Godot]. The two texts, 'The Waste Land' and 'Waiting for Godot' both convey an air of pessimism within their openings due to the modernist and existentialist views of both the writers. 'The Waste Land' - Eliot's vision of a contemporary predicament, one of natural erotic and spiritual aridity which seems to transcend the barriers of historical time, or natural and geographical boundaries does no depict just the sickness of the land itself; on the contrary it is a metaphor for something more powerful and complex - we are dealing with the human condition - which Eliot reveals lacks focus and has ironically dissolved into 'fragments' resulting in a 'heap of broken images'. T.S. Eliot was a modernist poet, who questioned contemporary literary values of life after the First World War. Modernism thrived in the periods between the two World Wars as it was a time of great difficulty since the conflict created many pessimistic beliefs amongst the civilians. There was not much optimism as to improvement of mankind and this resulted in the disintegration and alienation of the modern self through crisis. Similarly, the poem purports to open up cracks in culture, to show the underlying fault lines and its implications are also to unsettle the reader. Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' is an absurd play, because at times it is difficult to discern if there is a plot at all, and at other times, the play seems incredibly profound. ...read more.

Middle

This also explains their confusion and inability to piece information, valuable for their spiritual growth. Stephen Coote highlights that in the wasteland, "Life is death and death is life." This can be seen to be very true, especially in the case of the citizens, as they are not actually living their lives but merely existing on the basic needs necessary for their lives to continue. The people could be described as being soulless which is equivalent to 'death' and therefore living is also seen to be dead. The futility of the lives lead by the citizens, that can be see here, shows the many difficulties people faced after the First World War, claiming that despair was the only honest response to the chaotic universe, admitting defeat and leading bleak lives with a deficiency of love and spirituality. Their pessimistic attitude to the world and to each other is communicated through the ineffectuality of their behaviour. Waiting in 'Waiting for Godot' induces boredom as a theme. Vladimir and Estragon constantly ponder and ask questions, many of which are rhetorical or are left unanswered. Existentialists expressed clearly that human beings can never hope to understand why they are here. The tramps' repetitive inspection of their empty hats perhaps symbolizes mankind's vain search for answers within the spiritual and moral vacuum of a universe. Existentialists further declared that human beings require a rational basis for their lives but are unable to achieve one, and thus human life is a futile passion. ...read more.

Conclusion

They listen, huddled together.) I thought it was ... Godot. ... I could have sworn I heard shouts." Gogo replies more realistically, "Pah! The wind in the reeds." Absurdity in the play is a by-product of their metaphysically bizarre condition. However, the fact that Godot still has not arrived throughout the course of the play, shows the lack of a higher spiritual present to sort out Vladimir's and Estragon's problems. In fact, this increases the pessimism within the play since Gogo and Didi have made no progress throughout the whole play and end at the same place as they started presenting their stagnating positions, which religion or a supreme being does not help to change. In conclusion, the play and the poem both display a bleak view of life and all the characters epitomise all of mankind showing the full range of human emotions. In Godot, the pessimistic view is that they cannot escape waiting for Godot, from each other or from their situation. The optimistic view of the play shows a range of human emotion and the need to share experiences alongside the suffering of finite existence; governed by the past, acting in the present and the uncertainty of the future. On reflection in 'The waste Land', we see that our lives are conditioned by hope and if we yearn to become more spiritual and religious, the negativity of the wasteland portrayed by Eliot's pessimistic tone would soon disappear. The texts, although, express disappointment, disillusionment, and shows desiccated human relationships, also show us some promise of an escape from these things. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Synoptic Paper section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Synoptic Paper essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Henry V compared to the War Poets. Throughout 'Henry V' there are very ...

    4 star(s)

    and personifies the country as a female, with the attitude that the men should be protecting and serving her. She appeals to the protective instinct and the patriotic desires of the individual by doing this, by saying 'Your country is up to her neck in a fight, and she's looking and calling for you'.

  2. How do the authors present the theme of futility of war in All Quiet ...

    It represents her attitude towards the war, the return of the kit causes her realisation of "all that France meant", that France meant death and destruction for both sides. It is however ambiguous as there is a level of conceit in "all that France meant".

  1. Tim O'Brien's 'The Things They Carried' and Pat Barker's 'Regeneration'. Compare and contrast the ...

    By saying Bowker is 'in orbit' O'Brien emphasises the peripheral role that people play in Bowker's life and to the reader his loneliness seems even more apparent. Bowker's character watches the life around him as he drives around the lake.

  2. War poetry comparison

    The extract from Paul Nash deals with his visual experience of war. Being an official war artist, he sees the war from the point of view of colour and detail and this is clearly displayed in his letter.

  1. Free essay

    Explore the ways Peter Whelan presents the complacency of the home front in The ...

    Throughout the play Company Sergeant Major Rivers is portrayed as highly patriotic, helping the audience to understand the pressure placed on those who were targeted to enlist into the army. Rivers and Birdsong's Colonel Barclay both are portrayed as highly patriotic.

  2. Compare and Contrast the ways in which Sherriff and Whelan present Stanhopes and Tom ...

    Stanhope has experienced the hardship that war brings and is very much against the idea of the war because from Stanhope?s perspective the war has damaged him and the other?s around him for example Hibbert therefore Stanhope?s considers the thoughts and feelings of others rather than his own.

  1. Compare and contrast the different ways in which Resistance and On The Black Hill ...

    However, there is a distinct Anti-English sentiment. Outside influence, especially that of the English, is portrayed as corrupting and immoral, as shown by the murderous solicitor (Arkwright) and the corrupt antique dealer who cheats Jim out of the clock leading to Alfies? death-?The clock repairer examined it-it was a fine

  2. No war is identical to another but having read Tim OBriens On the Rainy ...

    However there is a line. A line that if crossed, makes you blind and thoughtless, changing you from a brave patriot to a fanatical monster. In ?On the Rainy River? Tim detests the Americans ?blind thoughtless?simple minded patriotism?, he doesn?t like it how they are so patriotically blind that they

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work