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Religious Allusions and their importance in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and The Outsider by Albert Camus.

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Introduction

Ian Shaw English A1 HL Candidate number: D 0396 067 Religious Allusions and their importance in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and The Outsider by Albert Camus In Waiting for Godot and The Outsider, Beckett and Camus use allusions to suggest a series of ideas regarding religion. Allusions are pivotal in the development of other themes and ideas such as absurdism in both works. Both Beckett and Camus consider themselves absurdist writers, which is why constant references and questions relating to religion and the meaning of life are presented. The references to Christ through Meursault and Lucky in The Outsider and Waiting for Godot, respectively mirror the 5555 Allusions to Christ-like figures are dominant in both The Outsider and Waiting for Godot. The Outsider begins with Meursault learning of his Mother's death, who had been staying in an old person's home for 3 years. When he goes to the funeral he drinks coffee and smokes cigarettes with the caretaker next to his Mother's coffin, displaying unconventional behavior in the eyes of society. He will later be judged for not acting the way society expected him to, but the caretaker's equally inappropriate actions will be ignored by the examining magistrate. ...read more.

Middle

The Tree of Life was located in the Garden of Eden and its fruit was said to provide complete physical immortality. In Part II of The Outsider, Meursault first suffers great torment, "Yes, this was the time of day when, long ago, I used to feel happy" (p. 93), as he finds himself unable to enjoy his daily pleasures of life, such as going for a swim, smoking cigarettes and having sex. As his exposure to prison life increases, he begins to realize that he is able to cope with the conditions he finds himself in and understanding that death is inevitable, whether it comes relatively soon or in decades. The fact that he wouldn't mind living anywhere and particularly the fact that he mentions he wouldn't mind living in a tree trunk, which is in this context a symbol of stability and immortality indicates that he is comfortable with his new appreciation of life and will not mind what he is presented with. Beckett, on the other hand, exploits the allusion of the tree present in Waiting for Godot to the tree of life, by adding a level of irony to it; the fact that it only has a handful of leaves in Act II and none at all in Act I counters the vision of what a vivid tree should be. ...read more.

Conclusion

they are waiting for Godot to arrive because he apparently told them to wait in a specific area, where they remain throughout. The meaninglessness of a world that relies on probability degenerates human life in general into a worthless experience that can be modified by "Fortune". Even the Bible deals with the idea of chance, as one thief was saved as opposed to both and the one that was saved did not have any influence in the decision. What Beckett tries to communicate to the reader in this sense, is that Vladimir and Estragon having faith for Godot to arrive correlates to the absurd concept of believing in a God. Beckett and Camus use religious allusions to support ideas such as the world being determined by probability; they try to make their readers think about human existence in general and its meaning. If human life was solely decided by chance, life would be greatly degraded. In this sense, Camus and Beckett are coercing readers to consider the presence of absurdity in their lives, because that is the way in which life gains any sort of meaning. Without religious allusions the message of a futile existence that Camus and Beckett portray is essentially lost because there is nothing to suggest a given meaning for life in general. Word Count: 1262 words ...read more.

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