Waiting for Godot

The Futility of Human Existence in the Cold War Era: Synthesizing Waiting for Godot, Dr Strangelove, Ariel, and Revolutionary Road 12th Grade

The devastating events of WWII and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb in 1945 ruptured the foundations of both the physical and psychological position of mankind, provoking an Existential crisis of faith that called into question the possibility of human freedom, challenging ontological notions of truth, the authenticity of human endeavour and the value of life itself. Demonstrating the fundamental nexus between political spheres and private lives, texts from the era examined this loss of faith in spiritual, political and social institutions, and the resonance of these ruptures on the individual psyche. Pivotal to these textual representations were the composer’s utilisation of radical, newfound forms in order to convey the futility of existence in a reality a morally expedient landscape governed by spiritual scepticism. Samuel Beckett’s 1953 Absurdist play Waiting for Godot, Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 satirical film Dr. Strangelove, Sylvia Plath’s 1965 confessional poetic anthology Ariel, Richard Yates’ 1962 postmodern novel Revolutionary Road all re-invented their respective forms to accurately espouse this collective displacement of mankind.

Responding to humanity’s sentiments of religious abandonment and psychological devastation...

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