The theater of the absurd is associated with the names of Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet and Arthur Adamov. But Beckett’s contribution to this particular genre allows us to refer to him as the grand master or father of the genre. The absurd drama grew out of a sense of metaphysical anguish at the absurdity of the human condition in the universe. The absurd dramatists take tings rationally and not romantically. It is a drama without a traditional plot, story or division into acts and senses. It has fewest possible characters. In this type of drama dialogues are very short and crisp. The playwright tries to communicate the meaninglessness of life through dialogues.
"Waiting for Godot": Theater of Absurd
The absurd dramatists are all concerned with the failure of communication in modern society which leaves man alienated. The characters in an absurd drama are insubstantial. They becomes significant for the symbols they represent. Things are not explained they are merely hinted at or suggested. "Waiting for Godot" of Samuel Beckett is an absurd play. This drama depicts an absolute negation of human existence. It lacks action and proper plot and the characters are tied together by a fear of being left entirely alone. We get the impression that man is totally lost in a disintegrating society. We find in this drama two tramps conversing in a repetitive strangely fragmented dialogue that bears an illusory haunting effect while they are waiting for Godot, a vague never defined being who will bring them some communication about what? Salvation ? death ? an impetus for living ? a reason for dying ? no one knows and the safest thing to say is that the two are probably waiting for someone or something which will give them an impetus to continue living or at least something which will give meaning and direction to their lives. As Beckett himself says clearly those who search for meaning will find it no quicker than those who sit and wait. The meaning about life that these tramps hope for is never stated precisely.
The audience leave the theater with the knowledge that these tramps are strangely tied to one another. Even though they quarrel and fight and even though they have exhausted all conversation, they are bound to each other. They second act is repetitive and almost identical the loneliness and weakness in each calls out to the other and they are held by a mystical bond of interdependence. The other two characters Pozzo and Lucky are on a journey offer themselves as contrasts to various activities in the modern world all of which lead to no fruitful end. Therefore each pair is hopelessly alienated from the other.
To sum up "Waiting for Godot" presents a critique of modern society by showing the total collapse of communication of man’s being forced to conform to a world of mediocrity where no action is meaningful.