A collection of thoughts about "Waiting for Godot":
Once asked by Alan Schneider of the meaning of the character of Godot, Samuel Beckett replied, "If I'd known, I would have said it in the play." (Source: Magaldi, see Sources) Indeed, although one can ask him or herself, "Who (or what) is Godot, to me?", such an answer will inevitably be subjective, and rarely grounded in the text. So, we must look instead to Beckett's work to search for an explanation, or approximation, of Godot. A savior figure, at the same time omnipresent and not present at all, the religious aspect in this play can't be underestimated, particularly in the dealings of our vagrant clown protagonists with the mythical Godot. Vladimir asks, mid-Act I, if Estragon has read the Bible. "The Bible . . . (He reflects.) I must have taken a look at it", is Estragon's answer. Later, however, Estragon reveals more than a passing knowledge of Biblical texts and the figure of Jesus Christ:
All my life I've compared myself to him.
But where he lived it was warm, it was dry!
Yes. And they crucified quick.
The crucification of the vagrant clowns, on the other hand, is not quick at all, and thus they must search for ways to fill the time; they alternately reflect on times spent "in Macon country", the memories of which are patchy and incomplete, their visit to Paris (where they reckon they should have jumped off the Eiffel Tower, "among the first!"), and time passes by, unnoticed. Indeed, on the issue of time:
And when was that?
I don't know.
But no later than yesterday—
(violently). Don't question me! The blind have no notion of time. The things
of time are hidden from them too.
Well just fancy that! I could have sworn it was just the opposite.
Being one of the best examples of Theatre of the Absurd (as mentioned above), logic is hardly constant. On the subject of Estragon's boots:
It's elementary. Someone came and took yours and left you his.
His were too tight for him, so he took yours.
But mine were too tight.
For you. Not for him.
A quick working out of Vladimir's logic shows it to be quite impossible, and yet at the stage of confusion that the two characters are at, any explanation will do. One of the key exchanges between Vladimir and Estragon occurs mid-Act 1, on the subjection of hanging oneself:
What about hanging ourselves?
Hmm. It'd give us an erection.
(highly excited). An erection!
Indeed, in a place where pleasure has been made into a sin (when at the beginning of Act I, Vladimir is inclined to laugh, he immediately suppresses it and presses his hand to his pubis) the equation of suicide and sexual pleasure isn't too absurd a connection. But an ultimate reflection of the times comes courtesy of Pozzo, late Act I:
The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to
weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. (He laughs.)
Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its
predecessors. (Pause.) Let us not speak well of it either. (Pause.) Let us not
speak of it at all.(Pause. Judiciously.) It is true the population has
So, the population increases, and time passes, with Beckett's piece a reflection of the ultimately cyclic nature of it all, with really "Nothing to be done."
- Beckett, Samuel. "Waiting for Godot". (http://www.samuel-beckett.net/), accessed 12/30/02
- Magaldi, Sábato. "Beckett e Godot", O texto no teatro. Editora Perspectiva.