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Existential Meanders of Bloody Ignorant Apes : Waiting as the Organising Principle of Existence



  • Paweł Wojtas

Summary, in English

“People are bloody ignorant apes” (Beckett 1986, 15), says Estragon pacing back and forth under a bare tree in the first act of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Regardless of whether this statement is addressed to his unlucky fellow, Vladimir, sitting right by his side, or whether he just blurts it out without any purpose at all, he inadvertently includes two terms in it. Combined, they provoke a question leading straight into the centre of the anthropogenic machine. Is this ‘bloody ignorance’ the lost notā characteristicā sought by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae? Pacing back and forth, just like Beckett’s puppets do, I intend to face this problem and take issue with Estragon’s point. To reconnoitre the topic thoroughly, I reach out for Heidegger’s story quoted by Agamben in his The Open: Man and Animal. In this context I reflect on the animal’s “poverty in the world” and its intrinsic agent of “profound boredom” to ask whether these factors prevent the non-“bloody ignorant apes” from the reckless waiting for the – both literal and metaphorical – redemption. In my article, aimed to be rather an attempt to muster a spark than to add fuel to the already dazzling flames, I will also refer to 8th Duino Elegy by Rilke as well as the Parmenidean definition of the man, which, as far as I am concerned, splendidly covers the man’s, and not the ape’s, conviction to eternal becoming, and to its tragedy - performed while being forever stuck on the deserted stage with the same tree and the same stone, visited endlessly by the same guests and two unlucky non-apes.

Publishing year







A Roundtable on Interdisciplinary Literary Studies

Document type

Book chapter


Faculty of Artes Liberales, University of Warsaw


  • Humanities




  • ISBN: 978-83-63636-15-9