Entangled and Entraped in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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Entangled and Entraped in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

Set against the barren dramatic landscape of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", humanity seems to exist with an interconnected, interdependent, and interchangeable set of relations. Early in the play Beckett introduces the tether as a central metaphor in order to explore the moral, social, and existential implications of this complex web of relations. Pozzo and Lucky are literally tied to one another. Though less tangible, Vladimir and Estragon are joined by an equally powerful emotional bond. Ultimately, even the relationship which defines the motion (or lack thereof) of the entire play, the connection between Godot and Vladimir and Estragon, is described as a form of bondage. Vladimir and Estragon admit that their fate is ultimately tied to the will of Godot.

At first glance, the rope looped around Lucky's neck and held by Pozzo delineates a fairly clear relationship of power: Pozzo is dominant and Lucky is submissive. While Pozzo does seem to revel in his position of authority, it becomes apparent that the relationship is more involved than it seems. Pozzo tries to explain that Lucky "wants to mollify me so that I'll give up the idea of parting with him" (I, 21). By enslaving himself to Pozzo's wishes, Lucky hopes to ensure the continuation of their relationship. While Pozzo is aware that he is being manipulated, he also states, "You can't drive such creatures away. The best thing to do would be to kill them" (I, 21). Yet all Pozzo's efforts to sever their tie are unsuccessful. In fact, when they reappear in Act II, the rope between the two has shortened and Pozzo is now blind. In a very real, very substantial manner Pozzo has become more dependent on Lucky. Their bond is thus simultaneously strengthened and convoluted.

Though their connection might lack a tangible symbol, the link between Vladimir and Estragon is no less real or complex. Beckett is able to place both pairs under the common roof of humanity. Pozzo acknowledges that Vladimir and Estragon "are human beings none the less... of the same species as myself" (I, 15). Vladimir and Estragon seem to depend on one another at a more visceral and emotional level, however. There is both love and revulsion between them. Both realize that their relationship is an obstacle to individual happiness, and yet both become desperate at the thought of a solitary existence.

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