A Comparison of The Stranger by Albert Camus and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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Albert Camusils novel, The Stranger, and Samuel Beckett's play, Waiting for Godot, are both great literary works but has many differences and similarities that distinguish the two. These characters are very different from their society and in that same way the are very similar. To understand in what ways they are similar, there must be and understanding of how they are different from the society in which they live in.

First of all, the major difference from the novel and the play is their desire for God's salvation. Recall when Meursault was in jail, he did not want the magistrate to pray for God to save his soul unlike Vladimir and Estagon, who waits many years for their god. They both live their life for one reason: to wait for Godot. However, to wait for someone who is not going to come is just as pointless as not doing anything at all, just like Meursault who lives his life at the spur of the moment. Neither of them makes important goals in their lives. Meursault can care less about his promotion and Vladimir and Estragon could have done something worth while with the last fifty years of their lives. Because of this, they found ways of passing time. Vladimir and Estragon tries hanging themselves and call each other names while Meursault goes smoking, drinking with Raymond, listen to Salamando and have casual sex all because they do not have anything else to do. They all feel their very existence is insignificant. Whether they live or died would not change anything. One life is as good as another.

Vladimir and Estragon's expression of their emotions contrast to Meursault's lack of emotions. After Vladimir and Estragon fight, they resolve their disputes by embracing each other. Meursaultis honesty prevents him from showing any emotions that he does not have. These ways of expressing their emotions reveals their views of life. Meursault knows who he is in life but is just indifferent to it. He did not care if everybody thought he was strange or his associates is a pimp. However, Vladimir and Estragon does not know who they are in life. To wait for someone who is not coming is pointless. They assume a role that their "Godot" would give to them without living their own life.

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Although Vladimir and Estragon seems lifeless, they do possess some emotion that are a sign of life. Their abuse of one another shows their impotence and dependency to each other just like any human being is dependent on someone else such as their parents. They would not hang themselves unless they both are able to do so. Meursault does not have any close relationship in which he is dependent on someone else. They all have desires such as death, meeting Godot, sex, and swimming in the beach but Meursault do not show much emotions to someone else. Even when ask about marriage, he still does not reply with any enthusiasm or dismay, just the answer. This independence is an example of how he is disconnected to others. It reveals his pessimistic views of life compared to Vladimirs and Estragons.

Vladimir's thought of Pozzo at first was that he was inhumane because of the way he treats Lucky but later sways and thinks of him as a great man. This demonstrates how weakly he validates his opinions and how foolish he is to be easily persuaded. In contrast, Meursault was the total opposite. He did not cry during his mother's funeral because that was expected of him nor did he change his lifestyle because society wants him to, and because he validates his beliefs strongly, he had to pay it with his life.

Near the end in which Meursault is abut to die, he states that he is ready to live. This freedom from condemnation by society through death contrasts Vladimir's and Estragonis freedom to break free from their cycle. They can very easily break free from the cycle just by walking away but yet do not. This suggest an impotence in human beings. Vladimir realize that he is part of an ongoing cycle. He say "let's go" but instead they sit and do nothing. The quotation "nothing to be done" can apply to both the novel and the play because neither of them did anything apart from their routines. They all are very subtle to change.

There are many existential themes incorporated into the novel and play. The question of how these people live their meaningless life is still being ask today, but who determines how they should live their lives? To better answer the question, there must be a better understanding of their views and compare them other views.

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A Comparison of The Stranger by Albert Camus and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. (2023, May 25). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-comparison-of-the-stranger-by-albert-camus-and-waiting-for-godot-by-samuel-beckett/

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