Discuss the Dramatic Effectiveness of Act1 in ‘Waiting for Godot’
The play ‘Waiting for Godot’ is very dramatically effective throughout Act1. This is shown from the exposition of the set and characters, through the language of the play, and the themes that arise.
The staging of Act1 is very dramatic for the audience. An almost empty stage and leafless tree, symbolising the meaningless and emptiness of the lives of Estragon and Vladimir, is very effective in engaging the audience, especially as it broke theatrical conventions in the 1950s. Beckett also uses the entrance of Pozzo and Lucky to enhance the dramatic impact on the audience, making it highly effective. Firstly, the audience can hear Pozzo and Lucky arriving from off stage, increasing the dramatic effectiveness as it heightens the dramatic tension in the audience. Then the fact that Lucky enters attached to a rope around his neck, a visually absurd and striking exposition, is very dramatically effective as it shocks the audience and makes them fear for what will appear on the other end of the rope. This demonstrates the way Beckett enhances the dramatic effectiveness of the characters entrances and exits, as there are very few throughout Act1.
The language in the play creates highly dramatic moments. This is shown by the variety of pace which occurs through Act1. For example, Beckett uses stichomythia when Vladimir and Estragon are alone creating a fast pace which in turn increases the dramatic effectiveness of a pause in the dialogue, ‘Tied to Godot? What an idea! No question of it. Pause. For the moment.’ This heightens the dramatic tension of the dialogue for the audience, making it more effective. One can easily see the profound influence that Beckett and ‘Waiting for Godot’ had on Harold Pinter, by the way he also used fast pace and silences in his own plays, such as in ‘The Birthday Party’. Another aspect of the dialogue is the uneven nature of it,...