After Catastrophe. From Beckett to Žižek

Gregor Moder

For Aristotle, the term catastrophe simply denotes the final resolution of the plot, whether it is merry or sad. Beckett’s plays can be called “catastrophic” in the precise sense of taking place at the end or even, in some sense, after the end. I argue that this is the reason why Waiting for Godot (among other plays) should only be read as a comedy – and not as tragicomedy as the author himself suggested. Waiting for Godot takes place when the disaster has already occurred and therefore cannot serve as a basis for the tragic hero’s desperate attempt to prevent it. There is nothing more liberating and nothing more comic than the realization that catastrophe already happened.