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Waiting for Godot

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Rebecca Nica

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

Samuel Beckett
The Tale of Absurdity Itself
Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd
Samuel Beckett (April 13, 1906 – December 22, 1989) was an Irish avant-garde playwright, poet and novelist best known for his play
Waiting for Godot
. He is sometimes considered the last of the Modernists, however, as his body of work influenced many subsequent writers, he is also considered one of the fathers of the Postmodernist movement. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation."
With the appearance of En Attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot) at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris in 1953, the literary world was shocked by the appearance of a drama so different and yet so intriguing that it virtually created the term "Theater of the Absurd"*, and the entire group of dramas which developed out of this type of theater is always associated with the name of Samuel Beckett. His contribution to this particular genre allows us to refer to him as the grand master, or father, of the genre. While other dramatists have also contributed significantly to this genre, Beckett remains its single, most towering figure.


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* The theater of the absurd is a form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development.
An Obscure Setting
Who is Godot?
Vladimir and Estragon
Pozzo and Lucky
The Boy
Works Cited
Consequently...
A Tone of Nonsense
Symbolism
The most common belief is that Godot is the embodiment of God or a suchlike divine entity, whom the two protagonists of the play wait in the hope of being "salvaged" by this celestial body.
However, Beckett himself stated that Godot in not the portrayal of God or any other religious personae. Unfortunately the writer does not provide us with a thorough explanation of the preposterous happenings in this work of drama. Instead, he leaves the readers - and respectively the audiences, in the case of a theatrical representation - to submerge in the impetuous waves of confusion.
Godot might not even be the name of a human or heavenly being, but of a conception. Godot is nothing more than the personification of human values. It is the term that defines the generic sentiment, which penetrates into our souls, into our minds without prior notification. It is the feeling of anticipating that the present is going to metamorphose into Better.
Godot can also symbolize the keen line of mind. Throughout the play, we notice that Vladimir is often caught in the act of thinking; he is almost completely lost in the realm of reflections, yet not the right one. This fact is very well illustrated when Estragon forgets why they are here, in this deserted place, and Vladimir suddenly cries out: “You gave me a fright, I thought it was he.” Therefore, we can interfere that Vladimir is actually looking forward to reach the apex of superior knowledge.
Vladimir and Estragon represent the society's unsophisticated individuals, who, instead of putting all their effort and will in order to accomplish their dreams (or to attain, at least, a decent way of living), they expect that Life is just going to satisfy their spiritual and materialistic thirst.
In this tragicomedy, the answer to all the problems is Godot; he (as most accepted by the literary critics) or it (according to others) is considered to be the final possible Savior of their infelicitous spirits. This statement is quite reasonable, but, let loose in an absurd play, it gets possession of a jocular nature. One of the most memorable representations of the respective aspect of this piece of drama is when Estragon queries the following thing: "What exactly did we ask him [Godot] for?". For all that, Vladimir's reply is the essence that gives gusto to the obfuscation of this literary work ("Oh . . . Nothing very definite"), confusion which is given points to by Estragon's declarations ("A kind of prayer"; "A vague supplication"). Thereby, we can observe that the characters have no idea for what they have prayed for, fact that illuminates the incertitude regarding God delivered by religion.
Even though Vladimir and Estragon are much alike, they are actually distinct fellows. While Estragon symbolizes the man who reckons that life is meaningless and destitute of any real values, Vladimir the person who grasps the struggle, and even when he is overcome by concerns (that annihilate the promise of a finer future), he does revive the strain.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "Waiting for Godot By Samuel Beckett
Critical Essays Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd."

Samuel Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd
. N.p., n.d. Web.
01 Apr. 2014. Web. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com>.

The European Graduate School. "Samuel
Beckett - Biography."
Samuel Beckett
. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. Web.
<http://www.egs.edu>.
A country road, two nights, unknown time and place. The authors description of the setting gives us an empty road, a tree, and a rock. The effect of Beckett’s poorly described scenery is that we have absolutely no idea where Vladimir and Estragon are placed either in time or in place. The shift from day to night seems sudden in their desperate wait for a man named Godot, who seems to never come, and thus, the story ends where it begins, meaning that the story will continue to be a never-ending wait for this man. As a result, to conclude with an utter absurdity, as stated earlier in the presentation, we have two men waiting for this godlike individual, who is going to keep them waiting in a setting where time and space seem to lead nowhere, or to give us any clues of how hopeless and tragic the play really is. To put this is other words, it is just a load of comical non-sense.
In
Waiting for Godot
, both Pozzo and Lucky provide a significant contribution to the duality of the story as far as that goes. In the play, Pozzo is the master of Lucky, whom he chained by means of a rope around his neck, and who is unable to think for himself (at least, not without his hat on).
Pozzo is the portrayal of the upper class, who has its high values deepen in tradition and authority. Meanwhile, Lucky represents the lower class, who, due to the fact that he does not possess any fortune of power, has no voice until permitted by the "superior" party. Therefore, this offers us a picture of the society's way of reasoning and behaving during Beckett's times (today is not as distinct as back then), namely no power, no rights.
Both Pozzo and Lucky are valuable for the play also due to the fact that both resemble the other characters (Vladimir and Estragon). Pozzo was Lucky's own Godot, and needed Pozzo to make decisions for him. Lucky, who was chained by the neck by Pozzo, represented Vladimir and Estragon's mental chains to Godot, and the notion that Godot was the center of their thoughts.
The boy makes an appearance at the end of both acts to inform Vladimir that Godot will not be coming that night. In the first act, he is afraid to approach the men, but he ultimately reveals himself and gives the men a message, which asserts ( as expected) that Godot is not going to join them that night, but to wait for the following night for him; then, after much confusion and despair the act ends without any hint regarding the magnitude of its wan incidents.
In the second act, the boys second appearance acknowledges us that there might be two boys (brothers) instead of only one, as he insists that he was not there the previous night. This means that either he is truly not the same boy from Act I, or that Vladimir and Estragon have missed Godot the first time. The boy acts as their only connection and means of communication to Godot, whom they have been patiently and painfully waiting for what seems to be deemed eternity. The boy also seems to not directly know Godot, but admits he is real, and even provides a dim description of this mysterious individual (Godot has a white beard). The boy is simply a messenger of an obscure entity. The boy can also represent the nature, which repeats itself for everlastingness, and makes us believe that one day we are going to know the absolute truth.
The tone in
Waiting for Godot
can be described as being both bleak and facetious.
The tragicomedy is acquaianted for being outflanked by a ridiculous veil only because of its humdrum characteristic, and vice versa. It is humorous because it relates not only nonsensical happenings, which give birth to a circular story, as the same plain events take place each day, but also because of the dull discourses between Vladimir and Estragon (they concentrate on the matter of vegetables - radishes, carrots, and turnips - more than on another way of casting away of their interminable striving). On the other hand, the play is overcast due to the fact that we have just mentioned above, namely the irrelevant conversations of the characters, whom instead of attempting to work their way out from their exertion, they wait for a godly hand to aid them, which, as we can predict, is not going to ever make its appearance (at least, not in the play).



When referring to the symbolism in
Waiting for Godot
, there are no discussions that the tree, which is the only definite morsel of the play's setting, plays a considerable role. Both Act I and Act II end the same way: Vladimir and Estragon's intent of hanging from the tree, which is actually an allegory to the well known Crucifixion of the Savior. All the same, Jesus Christ has died in order to purify the people on Earth of the ancestral sin (Genesis: the Expulsion from Eden), but the two companions, even if they would eventually get to the moment of putting in practice the appalling consideration of theirs, they would end their lives for nothing, fact they emphasizes very well the derisive view regarding religion.
Another significant part of the play is the sudden nightfall and the rise of the moon, which is "pale for weariness (…) of climbing heaven and gazing on the likes of us" according to Estragon. The nightfall is most often associate with death, and thus, as long as the people (Vladimir and Estragon, in this case) are waiting, their task in the mortal world has not finished. The continual moon rise sets forth the idea that human beings might be different in regard to class, education, and other aspects that differentiate us, we lead the same repetitious life (we are born, we grow up, we get older, and we eventually close our eyes, and enjoy the big sleep).
Samuel Beckett's
Waiting for Godot
is an enigma wrapped up in sheer absurdity.
As even Estragon declares "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!". However, the last two words are not exactly true for the readers, as this tragicomedy in two acts endows them with the truth of reality: people wait for God or another Supreme Being to free them of their burdens rather than otherwise attempting to liberate themselves through their own judgement and effort.
Realized by: Aurora Arriaga
Nabil Hernandez
Rebecca Nica
Edgar Vidal
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