Lack Of Closure In Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot

2441 words - 10 pages

Closure is a very important aspect of a narrative. Closure or the lack of it accomplishes the goal of a creating a text which readers would want to continue reading to find out the ending, it helps to lead the reader on. The term “closure” according to Abbott is “best understood as something we look for in narrative, as desire that authors understand and often expend art to satisfy or frustrate” (Abbott, 57).In the play Waiting for Godot, the lack of closure is very evident throughout it. This play significantly follows the hermeneutic code, the level of questions or answers. This code has allowed for the author to grasp the attention of the readers, due to the reason people like to find and understand closures, but also allowing the author to not give a closure. Moreover, the type of play, which is an absurdist, is an important part of the reason behind this play lacking a closure. The definition of absurdist is: “A writer, performer, etc., whose work presents an audience or readership with absurdities, typically in portraying the futility of human struggle in a senseless and inexplicable world; esp. a writer or proponent of absurdist drama” (OED). The absurdist genre allows for the play to not directly answer the questions, but to leave it open so that the reader can interpret the actions to their liking, just as they would interpret situations in real life, where no events are written in stone. The dialogues and the whole picture of the play allows for easy examination as to how the above claims work out. Using the hermeneutic code, and the absurdist genre, along with a lack of closure, the author has written Waiting For Godot a play written to make the audience think.
In the book The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, H. Porter Abbott explains the connection between closure and the hermeneutic code. Abbott explains that Hermeneutic is “having to do with questions and answers” (57), he also describes it as a level of questions. At this level, narrative is formed in such a way in which questions are likely to arise in the minds of the readers, and the readers want those questions to be answered, readers want “enlightenment”. If the author gives “enlightenment” to the reader, than closure has been achieved (Abbott, 61).
The hermeneutic code is followed from beginning to end in Waiting for Godot. Many of the passages are written in a manner which creates the reader to come up with questions. But the none of the questions are not answered, creating a frustrating lack of closure. The questions are raised as soon as the play begins and continues till the end. For example, act 1 itself starts off with raising a lot of questions when this conversation between Vladimir and Estragon occur::
ESTRAGON: Beat me? Certainly they beat me.
VLADIMIR: The same lot as usual?
ESTRAGON: The same? I don't know. (Beckett, Act 1)
Just by reading these three lines, one wonders: who beat them up, why are they being beat. The answer to this is never...

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