Images and Metaphors in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

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Images and Metaphors in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

Interpersonal relationships in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot are extremely important, because the interaction of the dynamic characters, as they try to satiate one another's boredom, is the basis for the play. Vladimir's and Estragon's interactions with Godot, which should also be seen as an interpersonal relationship among dynamic characters, forms the basis for the tale's major themes. Interpersonal relationships, including those involving Godot, are generally couched in rope images, specifically as nooses and leashes. These metaphors at times are visible and invisible, involve people as well as inanimate objects, and connect the dead with the living. Only an appreciation of these complicated rope images will provide a truly complete reading of Beckett's Godot and his God, because they punctuate Beckett's voice in this play better than do any of the individual characters.

The only rope that appears literally is the leash around Lucky's neck that Pozzo holds. This pair of characters appears separated by a rope that is half the width of the stage. In terms of the rope, the relationship between these characters is one of consistent domination. The stage directions say that "Pozzo drives Lucky by means of a rope passed round his neck." [p15] Lucky is whipped often. He is essentially the horse pulling Pozzo's carriage in a relationship that seems cruel, domineering, and undesirable, and yet Lucky is strangely sycophantic. In explaining Lucky's behavior, Pozzo says,

Why he doesn't make himself comfortable? Let's try and get this clear. Has he not the right to? Certainly he has. It follows that he doesn't want to...He imagines that when I see ...

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...eckett hopes, must be the strongest rope of all in Waiting for Godot - the noose surrounding Godot's neck that is held aloft, and out of sight, by hope.

Work Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1954.

Works Consulted

Andres, Gunther. Being without Time: On Beckett's Play Waiting for Godot. Ed. Martin Esslin. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965. 140-152.

Astro, Alan. Understanding Samuel Beckett. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990.

Bair, Deirdre. Samuel Beckett. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

Mercier, Vivian. Beckett / Beckett. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

States, Bernard. The Shape of Paradox: An Essay on Waiting for Godot. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.

Webb, Eugene. The Plays of Samuel Beckett. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1972.
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