The Image of the 'Saviour' in Waiting for Godot and Islam: A Thematic Comparative Study

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Ameer Abd Hadi


The idea of the 'saviour' has been an interesting subject matter for many specialists for a very long time. Its interset can be attributed to many reasons, probably the most important one is religion. Allusions to the saviour seem to be present in almost all religions, heavenly or earthly. It has been noted that even the pagan tribes believe in the existence of a saviour as a part of their cultures and traditions. Another reason stems back to man's weakness as a living creature and his constant need for a natural, or supernatural, power to save him from misery, oppression, injustice, ...etc. The saviour could be a superbeing or human being. For instance, Beowulf is looked at as a saviour, and King Arthur was, for a long time, thought to be a saviour that one day he will come and save his people, and many legends have been written in this respect.

The aim of this study is to highlight the 'saviour' as a concept in Samuel Becket's play Waiting for Godot and explore its interpretations as tackled by two 'schools': The Theatre of the Absurd and Existentialism, then compare it to the concept of the saviour from Islam's point of view.

The study falls into four chapters. Chapter one is devoted to outline the 'saviour' as a term, the belief in the presence of the saviour in general, and how the idea of the saviour is looked at by different writers and philosophers. Chapter two highlights the principles of the Theatre of the Absurd that are concerned with the 'saviour' and how those principles are reflected in the play. It also shows how 'waiting' becomes adherent to the word 'saviour'. Thereafter, the existentialism philosophy is examined since the principles of the Theatre of the Absurd are closely related to the it. Chapter three is spared for showing the concept of the saviour in  Islam in general, and in the Shia sect in specific.

In order to accomplish this aim, some Quranic verses and Hadiths (reports of  Prophet Mohamed's teachings collected after His death) are presented as examples to show the belief in the existence of the Saviour (Mahdi) in Islam.

Finally, the study ends with chapter four which, in the light of the research findings, compares the image of the saviour in Waiting for Godot and Islam.                                                

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