Waiting for Death By: Stephanie Melo Pabon Analysis on Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is a play starred by Vladimir and Estragon, two men who seem to spend their days in a country road talking, wandering and blathering while waiting for a person they call Godot. This Godot never appears in the story but they both talk about him -her, it, it is difficult to define- at the same time that they look for things to do while waiting.
During the two days they spend in that place just in the company of a dead tree, they have two encounters with two other men: Pozzo, an aggressive that seems to be the master of the other; the other man is Lucky, a terribly sick and tired man that looks like a mistreated donkey. The last character that appears is a boy who brings messages to Vladimir and Estragon saying that he -because the boy calls him ‘he’- is not coming today but tomorrow, for sure.
The setting, as I said before, is a country road with just one mound and a dead tree -a willow like they think it is called-, everything leading to a hopeless atmosphere that accompanies their endless waiting. I think reading Beckett is a very difficult as he takes modernism to the highest level. He really expresses stories with plot and characters through his own way of thinking. I liked reading the play in spite of my dislike for reading plays; I do not like to read the setting and the characters actions and movements in such an explicit way.
This time I was totally delighted by the characters’ dialogues. It was interesting to see how many thoughts about their conversations, the objects they use in the story, the setting, and their physical and personal description, actually arose. I read the play two times and watched one staging; since the first time I had many different thoughts and ideas to interpret the characters and situations they are in, these interpretations are the ones I will be telling. The main characters Estragon and Vladimir are, to me, the absurd depiction of the body and mind.
They both are the same person: a poor man -Mr. Albert could be his name like the boy called Vladimir at the end of both Act I and II. Estragon is the body as he is the one with the need of sleeping and eating. He always wants to sleep but Vladimir does not let him do it and he always wants to eat, for instance when he asks for the chicken bones Pozzo leaves after eating in Act I, and in Act II when Pozzo falls and asks for help but Estragon only thinks about asking him for food to eat.
Vladimir is the mind as he is the most lucid one; he remembers everything while Estragon never does, and he says Estragon he would be a heap of bones without him to show the dependence on each other. Also, at the beginning of the two Acts, Vladimir asks Estragon if he was beaten again and next he assures him that if he had been with him he would not have been beaten as he is the one that can make him stop of doing things he should not do.
Although they say the idea of them together is to contradict and abuse each other, they both get along well: they communicate and seem to be friends. Estragon says they “always find something to give them the impression they exist”; they reason about many topics but Vladimir, the mind, is very healthy whereas Estragon is very tired all the time. The other two characters, Pozzo and Lucky, are the opposite; Pozzo, the very healthy but cruel man who is the slaver of Lucky. He is ambitious to the extreme of being greedy; he says he has professional worries, and about beauty and grace.
Lucky is the tired and sick mind of a rich person that was never satisfied with material things; and I say he is rich because of the scene when Estragon asks for the chicken bones Pozzo is leaving but Pozzo says he has to ask Lucky because he is the owner. Estragon does that and Lucky does not answer, so Pozzo says it is ok if he takes the bones but at the same time he thinks something is wrong as he had not seen him refuse a bone before. This episode means to me Lucky’s tiredness of always wanting everything for him, even the wastes, and Pozzo’s surprise for his change.
The relationship between Pozzo and Estragon is the main topic when Vladimir and Estragon ask why Lucky does not do anything and never put down the bags he carries, and Pozzo’s answer is that “he used to be very kind, helpful and entertaining but now he is killing me”, he also says Lucky wants to impress him by doing a job is not for him. Here the mind is sick; Pozzo is healthy but he is dying because of his mind while Lucky cannot bare any longer all that burden and pressure Pozzo has put on him to control him and not to let him think and decide his life is better without external pleasures and material worries.
These all four characters are making an absurd portrayal of what life is. Estragon and his struggle for the boots to fit and how in the second act when he tries a pair of boots that were not of his, he says they fit and then he complains saying they are too big; it is the way they refers to our constant complains of the life we live and the circumstances, bad or good, we do not want to be in, as Vladimir says “There is a man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet”.
This is another way to say the metaphor about the life each one has to carry about with a cross: “… to every man his little cross till he dies and is forgotten”. They both also talk about the searching of meaning when they say people speak always to themselves trying to determine where are “these corpses and skeletons” come from. They wonder if it is necessary to think or if they could have lived without it, as it was not enough just to live.
Pozzo and Lucky are depicting the way society is always more concerned about material things, sometimes having as priority money and the mundane and superficial aspects rather than let the minds fly using the imagination and thinking beyond the banalities of the world. Also, with this two characters the performance of good deeds is visible when in Act II Pozzo falls and ask for help but Estragon prefers not to help him if he does not give anything to him in return.
Vladimir compares what a tiger does to help his congeners without hesitating. Finally, as they spend their days in the same place and just looking for things to do to pass the time, it is just an ironic criticism to the routine the life becomes at some point; to the repetitive start, attempts, give up, and start again. This is just a cycle people live while for the end of the night to come, for the end of the daily routine to finish, for the death to come. When it comes they will be saved.
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