Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Beckett Beyond the Normal$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Seán Kennedy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474460460

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474460460.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

‘He wants to know if it hurts!’: Suffering beyond Redemption in Waiting for Godot

‘He wants to know if it hurts!’: Suffering beyond Redemption in Waiting for Godot

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter 5 ‘He wants to know if it hurts!’: Suffering beyond Redemption in Waiting for Godot
Source:
Beckett Beyond the Normal
Author(s):

Hannah Simpson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474460460.003.0006

Although the characters in Waiting for Godot exist in near-constant states of physical pain, Beckett’s play repeatedly emphasises obstacles to any shared or empathetic experience of suffering, both onstage and across the auditorium space. Waiting for Godot does not offer any clear model of compassion as a means of relieving another being’s distress. Rather, by delineating its characters’ indifference to each other’s pain, and by foregrounding the spectator’s own impassivity and even recoil in the face of suffering, the play highlights just how narrow these bounds of human compassion seem to be. This chapter draws on contemporary pain studies to read the unsettling charge of Waiting for Godot’s interrogation of pain’s incomprehensibility, resisting previous determinedly optimistic, humanist-inflected reading of suffering as redemptive in Beckett’s play.

Keywords:   Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Pain, Suffering, Empathy, Theatre, Audience

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.