An Investigation of Inaction in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot: A Literary Darwinian Perspective

Bahareh Merhabi1 & Amrollah Abjadian2

1PhD Candidate in English Literature, Shiraz University, Iran.Email: Abjadian is Professor, English Literature Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

 Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.14

Received May 25, 2016; Revised July 21, 2016; Accepted July 30, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


The aim of this paper is to develop a literary Darwinian reading of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The attributes of human nature defined by Joseph Carroll are discussed with regard to characters’ inaction. Waiting for Godot stages the unstable and uncertain status of modern man, suffering lack of communication. Constructive elements of human nature such as the acts towards survival, romance and nurture are discussed in order to delineate the inactive pattern of characters’ behaviors in Waiting for Godot. It becomes clear that lack of action in Vladimir and Estragon pinpoints the fall and paralysis of human nature as defined by the literary Darwinists. This article demonstrates that, as a result of uncertainty, anxiety and other disastrous consequences of the Second World War, the attributes of human nature, along with the agency as the power for committed action, as defined by the Literary Darwinists, are forgotten, paralyzed or ignored. Man is staged as a creature incapable of agency that is reduced to inaction because of the post-war catastrophic situation.


Keywords: Waiting for Godot, Literary Darwinism, Joseph Carroll, Human Nature, Inaction.

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