I think that Beckett and Camus have two very different attitudes for the same situation. Beckett tries to make the claim in “Act With Out Words” that the absurd is horrible. While we do have a freedom to choose, the situation we are put in is horrible. In the play the Protagonist is unable to leave a desert; He is unable to make anything productive happen. Any time he finds any meaning in the things he sees, those things are taken away from him. Like when he figures out what to do with the boxes the boxes are taken away, when he figures out he can hang himself on the tree, the tree is taken away. At the end of the story the man resigns himself to doing nothing, plugging his ears, and humming. He decides not to play the game, because he knows that every time he attempts to play he will fail. Beckett’s attitude toward the absurd is one that is torturous and cruel.
Sisyphus is in a similar situation; he is resigned by the Gods to pushing a boulder up a hill. In this task he will inevitably fail, however he keeps trying to push the boulder up the hill. Camus says that this would not be a bad life because he gets to spend eternity pursuing the absurd. He can choose to be happy in the task that he is assigned. Camus point is that we do not have to resign ourselves to unhappiness; we can enjoy the absurd task we are given and take joy in our attempts.
Camus and Becket differ, because while the character in Beckett’s story accepts defeat and resigns himself to nothing, Sisyphus continues to take joy in his task. Beckett’s character did not create his own value for the things he was doing. He only valued the end result of his task, not the act of doing them. Both live in the absurd however one is able to enjoy things while the other does not. Sisyphus had it worse; at least Beckett’s character was able to be given different tasks to enjoy. Sisyphus had to do the same thing over and over. Becket’s character should find happiness in the fact that while he can’t enjoy the fruits of his labor at the end of the day, he can still enjoy his freedom to do things. At least Beckett’s character got boxes he can try to create a value for, a far worse hell would be one where a person is stuck in the desert with absolutely nothing to do, or attempt to do.