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How Funny Do You Find ‘waiting for Godot'? Explore the Ways in Which Beckett Uses Humour in the Play and the Likely Impact That This Would Have on the Audience.

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How Funny Do You Find ‘waiting for Godot'? Explore the Ways in Which Beckett Uses Humour in the Play and the Likely Impact That This Would Have on the Audience.

Although ‘Waiting for Godot’ is seen to be very depressing and contains many elements which may mark it as a tragedy, the four characters create a great deal of humour in their mannerisms and their behaviour. Beckett created the concept of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’, a play on human emotions and character which may give off feelings of despair, yet also of humour simultaneously. Most of the time, the audience tends to laugh at the helplessness created by Vladimir and Estragon in the play, and the play can be seen to be very funny at times, a prime example being when every character present has fallen to the floor and is supposedly unable to get up. Beckett uses humour for a number of different purposes in the play, which will be outlined in this essay, and the effect on the audience will be analysed in each circumstance.

Primarily, the tramps appear on stage, immediately Estragon is struggling trying to take off his boot, and this straight away is quite a comical issue, how he exhausts himself endlessly with little result, and then tries again and again. From this beginning, the audience would recognise Estragon in an amusing way, but would also see how pathetic he is in that he can’t even take his boot off, an extremely simple task. Beckett uses this entry to show how in many ways, Estragon has nothing better to do then try feebly to take off his boot, there is little meaning or purpose in his life. Also, when he states: ‘Nothing to be done’, a pessimistic tone is visible to the audience, how he seems to have almost given up on life, which will be further evident for the audience as the play goes on. The audience is inclined to laugh due to the state of Estragon, and his actions are designed to show his immense incompetence.

Another scene where Beckett uses the tramps solely for a comical result is on page 12, where Beckett shows their lack of intelligence as well as their lack of any kind of wealth: ‘Give me a carrot….It’s a turnip’. The fact that Estragon doesn’t even look at his food before he eats it suggests he is happy to have any sort of nourishment. Humour is used in this case to create a more relaxed atmosphere, as previously Vladimir and Estragon had suffered some tension in their friendship. The audience may have felt some sympathy for the two tramps, who have only carrots and turnips to eat, but I think Beckett would rather the audience see this in a humorous light, which explains Estragon’s bluntness in displaying his disgust.

As Pozzo arrives, being dragged along by his human slave, Lucky, like a chariot, there is something distinctly funny to the audience about a human riding another human like a chariot. Lucky’s actions are also designed by Beckett to be amusing, almost trotting like a horse. The reference to the play as a tragicomedy comes into play here, as although it is very amusing to watch Pozzo’s entry, one can also feel a great deal of sympathy for Lucky, being mistreated as if he weren’t human. This contrast is used by Beckett to play on the emotions of the audience, leaving them in a dilemma as to how they should react to this entry. Again, Becket relates to the theatre of the absurd, which is a crucial concept in the play, having a distinct effect on the audience.

I think Beckett’s uses of stage directions in the play are effective in creating amusing actions and gestures by the characters: ‘Vladimir uses his intelligence’. Although an audience will merely see Vladimir in thought, and will not

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