Major Authors in English 2013/05/08
Waiting in hope
The foundation of human life is that we have no purpose. The play “Waiting for Godot”, by Samuel Beckett, gives form to this nothingness through Vladimir’s and Estragon’s struggle for a change in their repetitive life cycle. They try to distract themselves from the reality of their situation. In fact, they are confused about time, space and who they are. They hope for something (Godot) to save them from emptiness of life. If they were to escape this cycle through death, they feel like it wouldn’t be enough. The effect of waiting in the play is that the characters have to face the emptiness of their life.
Firstly, the characters in “Waiting for Godot” are waiting for something to save them. The author illustrates it as Godot, who could be perceived by the reader as a person or a thing. Vladimir and Estragon are aware (with confusion sometimes) that they are waiting for it to come, but they cannot be fixed about what they know of where and when it will happen, as shown in the next quotation: “E: Let’s go. / V: We can’t. / E: Why not? / V: We’re waiting for Godot. / E: Ah! You’re sure it was here? / V: What? / E” That we were to wait. / V: He said by the tree. Do you see any others? / E: What is it? / V: I don’t know.” (Beckett, 10) This confusion shows that the characters need Godot to save them. They wait for it, they expect it, and it keeps them alive. The following quotation shows the way in which the character’s memory seems to be dysfunctional, to be confusing as well: “E: Was it not there yesterday? / V: … Do you not remember? / E: You dreamt it. / V: Is it possible that you’re forgotten already? / E: That’s the way I am. Either I forget immediately or I never forget.” (Beckett, 56) Time is important in the play. The fact that the characters are lost in it and do not seem to understand it implies that they could constantly wait for an unknown period, which makes them more and more confused about when they should meet Godot.
Secondly, there is a twisted hope that guides the characters in a never ending cycle of waiting for something (Godot) to save them. Staying in this cycle until Godot saves them is the only way, according to the characters’ actions, to escape a life they do not understand and of which they do not feel fulfilled. “E: What exactly did we ask him for? / V: Were you not there? / E: I can’t have been listening. / V: Oh… nothing very definite. / E: A kind of prayer. / V: Precisely. / E: A vague supplication.” (Beckett, 14) In this quote, the characters are not even sure of what exactly they are waiting for, but they know that this will help them to escape a cycle of emptiness: their life. They keep waiting because they feel attached to this possibility to be saved, as shown in the following quotation: “V: Tied? / E: Ti-ed. / V: How do you mean, tied? / E: Down. / V: But to whom. By whom? / E: To your man. / V: To Godot? Tied to Godot? What an idea! No question of it. For the moment. / E: His name is Godot? / V: I think so.” (Beckett, 17) The contrast is made here: they are confused about what/who will save them, but they still cannot stop waiting because it is important to them.
Thirdly, at various moments in the play, Vladimir and Estragon talk about death or involve it in their thoughts, their actions. In Act I, they talk about it almost as if it was funny, something to distract themselves while they are waiting. “ E: Wait. / V: Yes,