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The play ‘Waiting for Godot’ and the novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ are of two different genres that bring out societal facts but in a manner that employs works of fiction. Based in different settings, the two works of literature focus on issues that affect the society in different ways. They demonstrate the power of belief and actions that can help transform the world. According to Thompson, in most cases, authors often use their personal experiences to develop their plays and stories in a way that is not just educating but also very entertaining (88).
In this paper, the focus will be to compare the goal-orientation between the protagonist in the play ‘Waiting for Godot’ and the novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Vegas’. The researcher will look at how protagonists in these two pieces of literature try to achieve their goals but in different ways.
In both texts, it is clear that the protagonists have different goals that they seek to achieve and that they are using different ways that seem to have similar results. There are some similarities that can be drawn when critically analyzing the goals of the protagonists in these two texts and the manner in which they try to achieve these goals. In the play ‘Waiting for Godot’, we meet Vladimir and Estragon waiting for someone named Godot (Beckett 76).
Their primary goal is to meet this person who is believed to be of blessing to the two. The coming of Godot is expected to solve most of the problems of the protagonists in this play. In the novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, we meet Raoul Duke, a journalist who has traveled to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race for a given magazine (Bloom 87). He is seen to be going after the American dream. The American dream is an ideal environment where hard work brings success and prosperity. The protagonist in this novel is after this dream through his work as a journalist.
One of the main similarities, especially at the beginning of the two texts, is that their goals are justifiable. They have a justifiable purpose to pursue their goal. Duke is genuinely concerned with achieving the American dream. Similarly, Vladimir and his friend are introduced as individuals who have a valid dream of meeting Godot, a person who shall transform their lives. Another striking similarity is that both protagonists’ actions are focused on achieving their goal.
For Vladimir and his friend, doing nothing is the best way of achieving their goal. For Duke, being very active and doing a lot is the way of achieving the objective. The one doing nothing and the other doing so many things are all on their path towards achieving their goals. It is also clear that the authors of this literature use tagged speech extensively.
The approaches that the protagonists used were primarily based on the specific goals that they were trying to achieve. In the play ‘Waiting for Godot’, the protagonists have several moments of soliloquy. Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for Godot and they cannot just stop speculating about the rewards that they shall get when the wait is over. They cannot do anything meaningful because they know that in the end all their problems shall be solved by Godot.
They have a dream that when Godot comes, all their problems and the weight they have been carrying for long shall be laid to rest. The goal-orientation, in this case, is to do nothing and wait. The goal-orientation in this play is clearly reflected in the title of this play. Demleitner says that every approach that one uses to achieve a given goal should be justifiable socially, economically, or spiritually (51). For Vladimir and his friend Estragon, their goal orientation is justified- in their minds- because they are expecting rewards from Godot. They are lazy and spend a lot of time doing nothing other than fantasizing about the benefits awaiting them when Godot comes.
However, their laziness is justified in that it is considered patience. As it is, Godot’s reward will be based on the level of patience exhibited by the two. As such, they are willing to spend hours deliberately avoiding any form of work just to ensure that they demonstrate their patience to Godot. As time passes, it becomes apparent that the wait must have been in vain. At last, it downs on them that Godot may not be coming after all and all their effort were in vain.
The Goal-orientation of the protagonists in the novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ is completely different from that of the protagonists in the play ‘Waiting for Godot’. In this novel, Raoul Duke and his attorney are having a completely different dream, the American dream (Thompson and Steadman 73). He has a work clearly defined and he is determined to achieve success by the end of the race. However, his work is constantly obstructed by various activities unrelated to what he should be doing.
As he waits for the races to begin, he engages in drug and alcohol abuse. He becomes restless and develops a feeling that the race is taking too long to start. As a way of passing time in an active manner, he decides to take alcohol and drugs in the hotel. The abuse of drugs leads to bizarre hallucinations. He becomes violent due to restlessness because he has a feeling that the race is taking too long to start. In the process, he becomes very destructive.
His destructive activities end up significantly affecting his goal of reporting on the race (Züger 11). He is forced to spend time with his attorney instead of focusing on the race. The drugs also lead to irrelevant hallucinations that make it almost impossible for him to achieve the objective of covering the event. In the end, Duke’s primary goal is partially achieved because of his restlessness and engagement in activities that were irrelevant to the task at hand.
The paradox in the two pieces of literature is that some aspects of mimesis (nonsensuous similarity) come out even though the approach they use seems to be very different. For Vladimir and his friend, the best way of achieving the dream is to do completely nothing. They sit and wait, and it is apparent that it is the only way of achieving the dream. On the other hand, Duke is extremely active, doing a lot to achieve the American dream. The determination and hard work of Duke has the same outcome as the laziness of Vladimir and his friend. It would be expected that their different approaches would yield different results, but it is clear that their outcome is not very different.
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Atlantic, 2011. Print.
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Bloom, Harold. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008. Print.
Demleitner, Patrizia. Samuel Beckett’s ‘endgame’: the Continuation of ‘waiting for Godot’? München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2007. Print.
Thompson, Hunter, and Ralph Steadman. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. London: McMillan, 2014. Print.
Thompson, Hunter. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. New York: Vintage Books, 2010. Print.
Züger, Markus. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Ein Filmischer Erzählstil Zwischen Dokumentarismus Und Fiktion. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2004. Print.