Reading a work of literature often makes a reader experience certain feelings. These feeling differ with the content of the work, and are usually needed to perceive the author’s ideas in the work. For example, Samuel Beckett augments a reader’s understanding of Waiting For Godot by conveying a mood, (one which the characters in the play experience), to the reader. Similarly, a dominant mood is thrust upon a reader in Beowulf.
These moods which are conveyed aid the author in conveying ideas to a reader. In Waiting for Godot, Beckett uses many pauses, silences, and ellipses (three dots (…) used to create a break in speech) to express a feeling of waiting and unsureness. There is a twofold purpose behind this technique.
For one, it shows that Vladimir and Estragon, the two main characters who are waiting for Godot, are unsure of why they are waiting for him. This also foreshadows that they will be waiting a very long time.
In some cases in literature, an idea can only be conveyed properly if those on the receiving end of the idea are able to experience the feelings that a character is experiencing in the work. For example, in order for a reader to feel how and understand why Vladimir and Estragon feel as though they do while they wait, it is essential for that reader to either understand or experience the same feelings that Vladimir and Estragon are experiencing. Vladimir and Estragon are waiting; waiting for Godot, to be exact; and Beckett wants the reader to feel as if he or she were waiting also. Along with the feeling of waiting that a reader may experience, he or she might also understand how Vladimir and Estragon feel at times:
Unsure, not very anxious to move on, and constantly having to wait. A feeling of timelessness is even evoked, allowing almost anyone from nearly any time to understand Vladimir and Estragon’s predicament. Many times people may feel overwhelmed by a higher force unalterable to them. This force may control something such as their fate. In the Anglo-Saxon culture, a popular belief was that of fate. The writers of Beowulf may have known that not all people believe in the power of fate.
Therefore, to properly convey such an idea as the inevitability of fate in the epic, the writers included events which, when read, are also “experienced” by the reader. For example, the narrator of Beowulf states how fate is not on Beowulf’s side. After many years of winning countless battles, Beowulf was killed by a dragon in a fierce fight. While he was fighting, and because the narrator had stated that fate was not on his side, the reader could identify with Beowulf and feel how he may have at the time: Overwhelmed, overpowered, and as if a force greater than he was controlling him (his fate).
Moods that are created, such as that of longing or waiting, and fear or inevitability, in Waiting for Godot and Beowulf, respectively, hold a distinct purpose. The moods presented usually serve the purpose of helping the author express more fully an the idea or ideas that he or she wishes to convey. Also, by conveying a universal mood, or one that nearly everyone is able to comprehend and interpret, the work of literature’s longevity is augmented. This will further help the reader to interpret the work and understand more fully the moods presented.