From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Beckett's work is stark, fundamentally minimalist, and, according to some interpretations, deeply pessimistic about the human condition. His work grew increasingly cryptic and attenuated over his career.
The perceived pessimism in Beckett's work is mitigated both by a great and often wicked sense of humour, and by the sense, for some readers, that Beckett's portrayal of life's obstacles serves to demonstrate that the journey, while difficult, is ultimately worth the effort. Similarly, many posit that Beckett's expressed "pessimism" is not so much for the human condition but for that of an established cultural and societal structure which imposes a stultifying will upon otherwise hopeful individuals; it is the inherent optimism of the human condition, therefore, that is at tension with the oppressive world.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation".