“Waiting for Godot” is the most famous play by Samuel Beckett. It has two acts. It was initially written in French but the writer himself translated it to English. The play became popular and it was translated to many foreign languages.
The reason for its popularity lies in the fact that the play has no plot but we can find many meaningful lessons in it.
Next to the characters Vladimir, Lucky, Pozzo and Estragon there is a boy who is a messenger but he only has about two lines so he can’t even be stated as a character.
Even though it seems that the play has a plot it actually represents many other boring, tragic, real life events that have no plot.
There is not exciting moments in the play and the only thing existing are the episodes of waiting. The author tries to break the monotony by putting in dialogues and some events just to keep the reader reading.
The characters, every now and then, seem funny so some call this a tragicomedy.
Everything happened in an unspecified place under a tree, near a road where two wanderers Vladimir and Estragon wait for the mysterious Godot. They believe that his arrival will bring them salvation.
The act begins with Estragon’s failed tries to take off his shoe. Vladimir joins him in his conclusion that there is nothing he can so about the shoe.
While they wait, they have meaningless talks. Estragon told him that he spent the night in the street and that he was beaten up by some bullies. Vladimir was looking into his hat and Estragon managed to take of his shoe so he looked at it.
Soon after that Vladimir suggests to Estragon that they should repent and Estragon asks him for a reason but Vladimir has none. Estragon wants to go somewhere but Vladimir reminds him that they have to wait for Godot. They were discussing about being in the right place and if Godot will appear at all.
They both doubt that Godot will arrive and while they talked Estragon fell asleep. When he woke up he had a desire to tell Vladimir about his dream but he wouldn’t listen. They get into a huge fight that results in a conclusion that they should both hang themselves. They gave up on that idea because the branches of the tree were too weak to hold them.
Again they started talking about Godot and why he needs them. Estragon was hungry so Vladimir gave him a carrot.
They heard a scream. Pozzo appeared with his slave Lucky. Pozzo was dragging Lucky around on a string and controlled him with a whip. He was violent and loud while Lucky was carrying heavy burden – food basket, chair and a suitcase.
Estragon and Vladimir observed them and Estragon thought that one of them could be Godot.
Pozzo ordered Lucky to set his chair and make him something to eat. Vladimir and Estragon asked Pozzo to give them some chicken bones and at the same time they were shocked by his cruelty towards Lucky. Pozzo was probably rich, had a lot of food and he was shrewd.
Pozzo told them that Lucky did all of these thing because he loved his positions and he also told them that he is about to sell him. Lucky started crying when he heard that. Estragon went to console him but Lucky then kick him with his foot. Estragon started spitting all over him to get his revene.
Pozzo ordered Lucky to take of his hat so everybody sees his gray hair. Everybody was surprised with Lucky’s behavior. Pozzo ordered Luckyto start dancing and then to put on his hat. Lucky started humming something but nobody understood him and then Lucky kicked him again.
Pozzo said that something stinks and Estragon told him that it was his feet and Vladimir’s breath.
Pozzo and Lucky went to the fair where Pozzo wanted to sell him.
Vladimirand Estragon stayed at the same place and, while they were talking, a boy appeared. The boy was Godot’s shepherd and messenger. He told them that Godot won’t be coming tonight.
The darkness came and Estragon took of his shoes because he wanted to walk barefoot. They, again, came to the conclusion that it would be best if they hanged themselves. They talked about staying together and agreed that they shouldn’t split now.
The same events from the first act take place in the second with some minor changes. Vladimir and Estragon are still waiting for Godot.
Vladimir was singing a sad song and Estragon came beaten up again. After he got his hug of consolation he suggested that they should split now.
Estragon didn’t remember that the same thing already happened to them and that they were at that same place again. Both of them saw many leaves on the branches and Estragon concluded that under the tree weren’t the shoes he had left before. He wanted to leave but Vladimir told him they have to wait for Estragon.
Estragon told Vladimir he was hungry so he gave him some radish. Estragon didn’t eat it because it wasn’t ripe. He decided to go to sleep but he put on his shoes first. Vladimir covered him up with a coat and Estragon suddenly woke up. Vladimir consoled him again and calmed him down.
They found Lucky’s hat so Vladimir threw away his hat and took Lucky’s. They started impersonating Lucky and Pozzo by offending each other.
After some time, the real Pozzo and Lucky came by. Pozzo was blind and Lucky was mute. Lucky pulled the blind Pozzo but he stumbled and fell down. Vladimir and Estragon started thinking about taking advantage of their incapability to see or speak. Pozzo offered money to help them.
Soon after Pozzo fell asleep and when he woke up he asked for Lucky. Lucky and Pozzo went their own way and Vladimir keeps on waiting with Estragon.
Again the boy appears and says that Godot isn’t coming tonight. Vladimir feel suspicious so he asks the boy if he told them the same news someday in the past. The boy told them that this is the first time he sees them.
Estragon wants to leave because he was tired of waiting but Vladimir told him they have to wait for Godot or he will punish them.
Estragon suggested that they should hang themselves but they did not have a rope so they used a belt. The belt broke so they decided to try again tomorrow with a rope.
Without hisbelt, Estragon had to always hold his pants up. Both of them stood at the same place and they kept on waiting for Godot.
The whole story spins around the arrival of the man who isn’t coming and we can’t say what is the beginning, middle or the end of the play.
Genre: absurdist play
Time and place: unspecified time, the place was barely described
Charachters: Vladimir, Estragon, Pozzo, Lucky, the boy
Estragon – he is a slave to his primary instincts, loses his strength easily and just goes with the flow
Vladimir – he doesn’t go with the flow that easily, he fights the destiny and the monotonous lifestyle.
Pozzo – brutal and intelligent. He held his slave on a leash like a dog
Lucky – Pozzo’s servant who is a victim of his cruelty
About the author: Samuel Beckett