Research Article

Use of Leitmotifs in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot


  • Rownak Jahan Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • Nihal Farhan Kabir Lecturer, Department of English, Jashore University of Science and Technology, Jashore, Bangladesh


Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot features leitmotifs as devices to induce the repetitiveness that is usually inherent in absurdist plays. Previous research, which included analysis of leitmotifs in a literary text, viewed leitmotifs as formalistic elements and such research seldom delved into their conceptual implications in regard to the text. This paper aims to provide insight into this opening by analyzing the leitmotifs used in Waiting for Godot. The purpose is to find out how these leitmotifs are used to convey and underscore some of the key concepts or ideas of the play. The theoretical lens is provided by the philosophy of absurdism, and some conceptual understandings of hope/hopelessness and colour/colourlessness aid in this regard as well. Findings from the discourse analysis of the text’s leitmotifs have been viewed in light of such theoretical and conceptual understandings to reach an assessment of how the leitmotifs assist in the play’s conveying of these ideas. This paper’s analysis of the leitmotifs of Waiting for Godot shows that - these leitmotifs highlight the text’s prominent and cyclical states of waiting and going as well as emphasize the exhibited futile natures of fate and sleep, and by such association, they enhance the portrayal of, in addition to bringing elevated focus on, the play’s depiction of the absurdity, hopelessness and colourlessness pervasive in the world of the ‘absurd’.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (4)





How to Cite

Jahan, R., & Kabir, N. F. (2022). Use of Leitmotifs in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(4), 26–31.