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Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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In Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, the scene opens to reveal a world characterized by bleakness. Though occasional situational humor enters the lives of Estragon and Vladimir, it is a sarcastic, ironic sort of humor that seems to mock the depressing situation in which they find themselves, and moments of hopefulness are overshadowed by uncertainty. The two merely sit and wait; they wait for a man, perhaps a savior, named Godot. That they are waiting for Godot, as Vladimir says, is the one certain thing, the one clear thing “in this immense confusion” (91). Throughout the course of the play, however, Godot never appears. It is uncertain that he ever will. In fact, Vladimir and Estragon are not exactly sure who this Godot is, what he is like, what would happen if he came, or if he indeed even exists, as they have not seen him but only hear that he will come. Yet they still wait, sometimes hoping, sometimes doubting, that Godot will appear, and that something, though they are unsure of what it is, will happen.

Godot may be seen as an allegorical figure representing Christ, as Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for his coming much like Christians wait for the second coming of Jesus, and once he appears, if he appears, they think or at least hope that “[they’ll] be saved,” perhaps from the bleakness of life (109). As they wait for him, it becomes evident that their world is full of pain and suffering, that suffering plays a more tangible role in their lives than Godot. They experience pain, they witness it, and they ponder what they should do in the midst of it all. One sort of such pain is physical and the other is an emotionally and mentally troubling sort: the torture and uneasiness of uncertainty they experien...


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...odot has had any say in the situation, it is difficult to see whose side he is on or what his nature is like.

Though perhaps Beckett did not himself think that hopelessness necessarily arises from overwhelming uncertainty, in Waiting for Godot, the prevailing mood, as a result of the abundance of suffering and lack of answers in the world Beckett creates, is a completely bleak one. Godot does not come; he remains unknown to those who wait for him, as does any absolute meaning. Pain persists, and no answers appear. Thus Vladimir and Estragon are frozen in their hopelessness, as there is nothing to be done. There is no way to ascertain meaning, and so they wait, in case something happens, though it may not.


Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting For Godot. 3rd ed. N.p.: CPI Group, 2006. Print. Vol. 1 of Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works. 4 vols

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