Is Waiting for Godot Absurdism and Existentialism?


Martha Robinson

Waiting for Godot, written by Samuel Beckett, is one of the most iconic plays of the 20th century. It has been a subject of much interpretation and analysis since its first performance in 1953. The play’s themes are often associated with existentialism and absurdism, two philosophical movements that emerged in the aftermath of World War II.


One of the main themes of Waiting for Godot is existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophical movement that explores the meaning and purpose of human existence. The central idea behind existentialism is that human beings are free to make choices and determine their own destiny.

In Waiting for Godot, the characters Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for someone who never arrives. Their waiting represents the human condition of waiting for something meaningful to happen in life. The play suggests that human beings have no inherent purpose or meaning in life, and they must create their own meaning through their actions.

The Absurd

Another theme explored in Waiting for Godot is absurdism. Absurdism is a philosophical movement that argues that human beings exist in an irrational and meaningless universe. According to absurdism, there is no inherent order or logic in the world, and human beings must accept this fact.

In Waiting for Godot, the characters’ actions and conversations often seem meaningless and illogical. They engage in repetitive conversations, forget what they were talking about earlier, and struggle to remember basic details about their lives. This sense of disorientation reflects the absurdity of human existence.


In conclusion, Waiting for Godot can be interpreted as a commentary on existentialism and absurdism. The play suggests that human beings must create their own meaning in life because there is no inherent purpose or order in the universe.

Furthermore, it highlights the absurdity of human existence by depicting characters who are trapped in a cycle of waiting and confusion. Overall, Waiting for Godot is a thought-provoking play that continues to captivate audiences with its exploration of these philosophical themes.

  • Existentialism emphasizes the importance of individual choice and action.
  • Absurdism suggests that the world is irrational and meaningless.
  • Waiting for Godot explores these themes through its depiction of characters who are waiting for something that never arrives.


  1. Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts.

    Grove Press, 1954.

  2. Felluga, Dino Franco. Critical Theory: The Key Concepts. Routledge, 2015.