Analysis of ‘Waiting For Godot’, by Samuel Beckett

Waiting For Godot

If there is an absurdity play that has caught the imagination and the admiration of people all over the world then it “Waiting For Godot” written by Samuel Beckett. Beckett had written this in French and he translated it into English as well. It is considered as an important play in the English language. Since there are many loose ends there are many interpretations, the most famous being that he adapted Sigmund Freud’s theory into this play. There are two main characters Vladimir and Estragon and they are joined by another two Pozzo and Lucky. Then little boys come in as messengers.

Pozzo And Lucky

All through the play Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot . Why they wait for him or who he is, is never revealed. The audience has the liberty to come to any kind of conclusion or interpretation. The conversation and action of these two friends are unrelated for most part. There is no rhyme or reason for what is happening; a play that is completely different. Vladimir and Estragon seem to be inseparable friends and they together wait for Godot. While they wait they discuss thieves in the Gospel, they suddenly doubt if they are waiting at the correct place and the correct time.

Suddenly they hear a sound and they huddle together waiting for something to happen. Pozzo and Lucky come on to the stage and Vladimir and Estragon think it is Godot but Pozzo says he is not Godot and then witness how Pozzo treats Lucky, his servant. He is leashed and is treated as an animal. Vladimir reacts strongly to this but soon retreats. He changes his opinion very fast. Estragon eyes the chicken Pozzo is eating and wants the bone but does not get it because Lucky always gets to eat the bone.

First Day Comes To An End

Pozzo , they realize is going to the market to sell Lucky and hearing this Lucky cries as he does not want to leave his master. They then get to see Lucky dance and think. Vladimir and Estragon is not impressed with the dance and to think Lucky has to put the thinking hat. Once the hat is put on Lucky who was silent till then goes to speak gibberish and it goes on non-stop. All the three push him down, take off his hat and trample it to get him to stop talking. Then Pozzo decides to leave but he cannot. So like a runner he goes to the other end of the stage and kick starts from and dashes along the stage driving Lucky also out of the stage.

After they depart Vladimir and Estragon remember that they are waiting for Godot. A boy enters and tells them that Godot asked to pass on the information that he would be coming tomorrow to the same place. They try to get some information about Godot from the boy but they get to know nothing. It becomes dark. Estragon does not want to go but Vladimir thinks each should go separately but finally they go together.

The Wait Continues

The second act opens to the next day but there are trees on the leaves and Vladimir is singing happily. Both are happier without each other but cannot part ways and go. When Vladimir says that things have changed from the previous day, Estragon does not remember the previous day. Vladimir talks about Pozzo and Lucky but Estragon cannot recollect what happened the previous day. He even forgets that had left his boots behind and Vladimir has to show him where his boots were kept. Vladimir confirms that they are in the right place by seeing Lucky’s hat.

So many absurd things happen on stage and they are still waiting for Godot and they hear a sound again. It is Pozzo and Lucky again, but this time Pozzo is blind and after some interaction they leave. Pozzo also does not remember having met the previous day. When they request Lucky to sing or recite Pozzo tells Lucky is dumb and they leave the stage. A boy appears and tells them that Godot will come the next day and again the two are left waiting for Godot.

Imagery A Plenty

The ‘waiting’ which is shown throughout the play is likened to man’s perennial waiting for one or the other desired object. Estragon is complaining and sleeping most of the time; Vladimir is also complaining. Man is always complaining and most of the time there is no action on his part to better the situation. Many have likened this drama to Freudian theory of Id, ego and super ego. Estragon represents id, Vladimir ego and Godot super ego.

Id which is the baser nature in man only thinks of physical pleasures and Estragon desires to eat the bone, the carrot; is sleeping all the time and complaining of pains. Ego is slightly elevated but thinks he is the one who is in control of the situation. Vladimir is the one who directs Estragon and he is completely dependent on Vladimir. The super ego control both and that is Godot. Godot is not perceived, yet, all the while they are waiting for Godot and are invisibly controlled by him, the super ego.

All through the play one cannot bring in one sequence of thought. Everything is unrelated and even seems crazy. It can be this style of writing that has made this play so popular. The language is crisp and there are no sermons or value additions to it. This play has touched people interested in theatre all over the world and many small theatre groups have experimented with this play. Stage direction is very simple as it is the same scene in both the acts, the props are simple. Sound and light effects are also to the minimum and this makes this play an easy one to stage. The simplicity in the stage direction coupled with the absurdity of the play must have made this play very popular with theatre lovers.