Presentation Title

Godot and the Great Concealer of Truth

Advisor Information

Robert Darcy

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 232

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-3-2014 11:30 AM

End Date

7-3-2014 11:45 AM

Abstract

The project uses Samuel Beckett’s 1954 play, Waiting for Godot, as the principle matrix of investigation in exploring the implementation of the pastoral genre in a postmodern text as a means of criticizing religion. The article explores the text’s use of the themes and characteristics found throughout the history of the pastoral tradition including shepherding, idleness, and the intentional passing of time. Godot draws heavily on the Judeo-Christian traditions and Hellenistic and Roman mythology (as well as Renaissance literature, eighteenth-century metaphysics, and Cartesian dualism) to implicate an illusory pastoral space in its criticism of religious practices. The text illustrates that Godot, an Edenic or Arcadian pastoral space, is merely a delusion in the minds of its two primary characters, Vladimir and Estragon. It accomplishes this by questioning the specific source of that delusion: religion, which seeks to conceal truth and perpetuate the illusion of the pastoral space. Beckett’s text provides its readers with three distinct but intimately related “spaces,” which, when set in contrast to one another, do much of the work of furthering the text’s argument. The spaces are: traditional pastoral space, the illusory pastoral space of the delusion, and the visual space (that which is real and would be visible in any performance of the play). The article argues that the ultimate significance of the text and its criticism of religion is the implicit warning against the pernicious relationship between mankind and religion, the great concealer of truth.

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Mar 7th, 11:30 AM Mar 7th, 11:45 AM

Godot and the Great Concealer of Truth

UNO Criss Library, Room 232

The project uses Samuel Beckett’s 1954 play, Waiting for Godot, as the principle matrix of investigation in exploring the implementation of the pastoral genre in a postmodern text as a means of criticizing religion. The article explores the text’s use of the themes and characteristics found throughout the history of the pastoral tradition including shepherding, idleness, and the intentional passing of time. Godot draws heavily on the Judeo-Christian traditions and Hellenistic and Roman mythology (as well as Renaissance literature, eighteenth-century metaphysics, and Cartesian dualism) to implicate an illusory pastoral space in its criticism of religious practices. The text illustrates that Godot, an Edenic or Arcadian pastoral space, is merely a delusion in the minds of its two primary characters, Vladimir and Estragon. It accomplishes this by questioning the specific source of that delusion: religion, which seeks to conceal truth and perpetuate the illusion of the pastoral space. Beckett’s text provides its readers with three distinct but intimately related “spaces,” which, when set in contrast to one another, do much of the work of furthering the text’s argument. The spaces are: traditional pastoral space, the illusory pastoral space of the delusion, and the visual space (that which is real and would be visible in any performance of the play). The article argues that the ultimate significance of the text and its criticism of religion is the implicit warning against the pernicious relationship between mankind and religion, the great concealer of truth.