Waiting for Godot

The twentieth century is a period when uncertainty along with questioning in terms of identity is valid. It is a period when mankind is no longer aware of his position on earth and not aware as well as of what is required from him. It is really a period when thinkers and philosophers begin to realize that "life" itself is not really an answer to existence. The individual is alienated due to the lack of communication. In twentieth century literature we see the individual not sharing anything with anybody and becoming lonelier. He feels isolated, alienated; even unable to communicate, empathize or sympathize. Beckett's Waiting for Godot deals with the individual's need for another individual. Since Gogo and Didi have no other alternative; they are unable to leave each other. They are so afraid of loneliness that one cannot bear the other sleeping. James Calderwood, in Ways of Waiting in Waiting for Godot, notes that waiting is a kind of non-activity (Calderwood 33). Non-activity is seen clearly in the repetitious speech: "Estragon: Let's go. / Vladimir: We can't. / Estragon: Why not? / Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot" According to Malekin and Yarrow, waiting in Beckett's play is ... the ever-repeated moment which precedes beginning. The moment in which beginning is possible; the moment, as at the beginning of the play, when performers and spectators are most awake to the newness of it all. Godot hauls its participants back again and again to this launching-place, from which, as in life, everything always has to be improvised anew. (Malekin & Yarrow 139)

Waiting for Godot is one of Samuel Beckett's most famous works. It is originally written in French by Beckett in 1948; Beckett himself translated the play into English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_for_Godot). Waiting for Godot incorporates many of the themes and ideas that Beckett had previously discussed in his other writings. Beckett often focused on the idea of "the suffering of human beings" (http://engliterarium.blogspot.com/2008/11/waiting-for-godot-realism.html). Most of the play deals with the fact that Estragon and Vladimir are waiting for something to solve their boredom or somebody who will save them. Thus, Godot can be understood as one of the many things in life that people wait for. Waiting for Godot begins and ends with "waiting". Yet this "waiting" is not really an isolated phenomenon in the play. It is a comedy with a potential of tragedy since it becomes tragic in some ways with the possible fall of humanity. It is actually a tragi-comedy in which the two protagonists - Vladimir and Estragon - represent "man" living in a meaningless universe for nothing important. The play belongs to the Existentialist Movement and The Theatre of the Absurd (http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/~sek5/classpage.html). Existentialist Movement sees man as "an isolated creature" cast into a meaningless universe in the same way the protagonists of Waiting for Godot feel (http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/existentialism/major-thinkers-and-authors-associated-with-the-movement.html). In their world, memory and identity are unreliable. The universe is meaningless. Andonian asserts the modernist point of view:

[The] affirmation of a noncentered world, [the] rejection of the grand Narratives, [the] celebration of play and language games is what most sharply separates the postmodern from the modern. In Waiting for Godot, Beckett shows us that Vladimir and Estragon are trapped by their modernist nostalgia for legitimation in Godot: they have a totalizing modernist world view in an infinite, postmodern world. From the beginning of the play, Beckett emphasizes that this legitimation is always already there in the play of language games and the active interpretation of the postmodern, noncentered world - not in the passive, stifling waiting for the return of an objective grand Narrative that never really offered any metaphysical support in the first place. (Andonian 112)

Beckett makes use of pauses which are very typical of the Absurd Theatre. "The Theatre of the Absurd" is a phrase used in reference to particular plays written by European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. The Theatre of the Absurd has its origins in French philosophy and drama. It is related to Albert Camus' philosophy that "life is absurd" and has no actual meaning (http://historyofmodernphilosophy.blogspot.com/2008/07/albert-camus-1913-1960-and-absurdism.html). In the Theatre of the Absurd, there is an attempt to draw the audience into the play and make them feel involved. It breaks the rules of conventional drama: chronological plot, logical language, themes, and settings. It brings the theme of lack of communication to the twentieth century drama. There is a relation between the intellect and the body within Beckett's work, Vladimir representing the intellect and Estragon the body, both of whom cannot exist without the other.

The protagonists, Gogo and Didi are trying to fill in the 'silence' which is a part of the absurdist thesis. This lack of communication, in fact, marks the decline of civilization. People of the twentieth century are afraid of silence; thus they try to communicate meaninglessly. In the play, it is mankind's alienation rather than the individual's: it is neither the personal alienation of Didi and Gogo nor one of Pozzo and Lucky; it is rather that of the modern being. Beckett presents the situation of modern being who is alienated, lonely, and unable to communicate. The conversation "Pozzo: What is your name? / Estragon: Adam" (Waiting for Godot 30) makes it clear that it is mankind Beckett wants to point out. Martin Esslin, "...the critic who first applied the term 'absurd,'" (Carter & McRae 419) puts, ... {when} in Act II Pozzo and Lucky return and the two tramps try to identify them, Estragon calls out, "Abel! Abel!" Pozzo immediately responds. But when Estragon calls out, "Cain! Cain!" Pozzo responds again. "He's all humanity," concludes Estragon. (Esslin 34)

Vladimir and Estragon are thus referred to as mankind. When Vladimir and Estragon are asked who they are they say: "We are men" (Waiting for Godot 74). People in the twentieth century no longer communicate with each other. As a result of loneliness, alienation, and lack of communication, modern man suffers from boredom. Modern audiences no longer watch four-hour plays. Beckett's play's being in two-act seems to be done consciously in order to emphasize the theme of boredom in the construction of the play. Beckett's representative characters reflect the modern disease both in their attitudes and actions; they try to remember not only the past of their life but also the past of Western culture. However, all of them fail in remembering the past, even the day before. Gogo and Didi are unable to distinguish the days; so do Pozzo and Lucky. Thus, each modern character suffers from forgetfulness.

Lack of identity is another theme of the twentieth century British Drama. In Waiting for Godot, the names of the characters are single unlike the traditional theatre in which the characters have full names. Beckett gives only the names of the characters which lead to confusion because Estragon and Vladimir are never called by those names; instead they are called Didi and Gogo. Additionally, Beckett presents universality by putting names from different nationalities: Estragon is Spanish, Vladimir is Russian, Pozzo is Italian, and 'Lucky' is an English name being ironic at the same time. Moreover; the confusion of identity in the play is also typical of the twentieth century life. The Boy, in Waiting for Godot is a vague identity because whether it is a boy or two boys or even whether there is a boy or not is vague.

The sense of disillusionment and uncertainty is felt in the title too. Are Gogo and Didi really "waiting for Godot" or is "Godot" a figment of their imagination? There is obviously no character named Godot appearing in Beckett's play and the name reminds the audience of God. Bloom states in his "Introduction" to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot states that "A play that moves from "Nothing to be done" (referring to a recalcitrant boot) on to "Yes, let's go," after which they do not move, charmingly does not progress at all" (Bloom 6). The setting in the play is another active element for the playwright to develop his themes. It is a country road and there is only a bare tree on stage which surprisingly has four or five leaves in the second act -the day after-; it is an exterior one reflecting the emptiness of world. Nevertheless, the setting is absolutely dealing with existence: not the existence of individual but the existence of humankind socially, economically, and emotionally. It is an excellent setting for absurd drama and parallel to the Existentialist Movement which is a twentieth century movement that says man has lost his belief in God, in spirit, in the sense that life has a meaning. Before twentieth century, people believed that life had meaning. With World War II, the disbelief in the meaning of life increased and it led to the sense of despair. The term Existentialism comes from the word 'existence'. In Existentialist view, there is no meaning and there is the possibility of absence of God. However, one still lives and one must make the best of one's life. The individual has responsibilities, not because of Hell or prison, but because he exists. God is no longer present in the twentieth century as Nietzsche had seen Him as dead. Godot for whom Gogo and Didi are waiting remains an illusion and the name suggesting God reminds the absence of God to come and save these poor characters. "Even Beckett, when asked about the meaning of Godot, replied that, had he known, he would have told us in the play" (Haney 43), Godot really remains unknown and unreachable.

It has often been noted that the word "Godot" is a Joycean word with hidden shapes. Reversed, it spells "Tod-dog," or "death"-dog. "Dog" in reverse spells "god." Therefore, Vladimir's song at the beginning of Act II, "And dug the dog a tomb," alludes to the death of god. The word "Godot" thus embodies a coexistence of opposites: mortality and immortality, becoming and being, thought and pure consciousness. While God may seem to exist only as a possibility just beyond the tramps' reach, the mystery, if not the real nature, of Godot is always at hand. (Haney 42)

According to Andonian, the reason why Vladimir and Estragon cannot leave the place they are in is because "their minds are slaves to Godot in the same way Lucky's body is a slave to Pozzo" (Andonian 111) What Gogo and Didi suffer from is "living" and they cannot find a solution even in suicide. It is the question of existence Beckett is trying to point out. Both Gogo and Didi and Pozzo and Lucky should go on living although it is meaningless. Mankind is truly waiting to be saved in the same way Gogo and Didi are doing. By Act II Pozzo is blind, Lucky is deaf; nevertheless neither of them depart from each other because each needs the other. It really goes back to Plato who says human being is normally a four-foot creature. Gogo and Didi as well as Pozzo and Lucky form a whole. Although they hit each other from time to time; Gogo and Didi do love and need each other. As for Pozzo and Lucky, the two prove the idea that master and slave need each other.

In Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon pass the time while waiting by playing at a series of games - language games - which constitute their existence and form their social bond. (Andonian 106)

The play is in two acts. In Act I, the setting is in the evening on a country road with a single tree present. While Estragon is trying to pull off his boot, Vladimir enters and informs Estragon that he has spent the night in a ditch where he was beaten. With great effort Estragon succeeds in pulling off his boot. He then looks inside it to see if there is anything there while Vladimir does the same with his hat. Estragon wants to leave but Vladimir forces him to stay because they are both "waiting for Godot" to arrive. Neither of the two knows when Godot will appear, or even if they are at the right place. Later it is revealed that they do not even know what they originally asked Godot for.

Thus, the beginning of the play establishes Vladimir and Estragon's relationship. The two are dependent on each other. Vladimir and Estragon seem similar at the beginning; however their personalities are completely different. They are just common in their need to one another. One of the characters often repeats a line that the other has previously said. This happens at the very beginning of the play when the two characters switch lines in the dialogue, with each asking the other, "It hurts?" and responding, "Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!" (Waiting for Godot 2). Since passing the time is their common need, Estragon struggles to find games to help them pass the time. "Nothing to be done" is one of their usual sentences that occur through the play. One of the reasons for why they are together is their forgetfulness. Since Estragon cannot remember anything, he needs Vladimir to tell him his history. It is as if Vladimir is establishing Estragon's identity by reminding him of the past events. Estragon also serves as a reminder for Vladimir of all the things they have done together. Thus each serves to remind the other of his very existence. This is necessary especially when others do not remember them:

Vladimir. We met yesterday. (Silence). Do you not remember?

Pozzo. I don't remember having met anyone yesterday. But tomorrow I won't remember having met anyone today. So don't count on me to enlighten you. (Waiting for Godot 81)

The other person who does not remember them the following day is the Boy. The Boy is a servant of "Mr. Godot" - he calls him so -. He plays a similar role in both Act I and Act II by coming to inform Vladimir and Estragon that Mr. Godot will not be able to come that night, but will surely come the next day:

Vladimir. I've seen you before, haven't I?

Boy. I don't know, sir.

Vladimir. You don't know me?

Boy. No, sir.

Vladimir. It wasn't you came yesterday?

Boy. No, sir.

Vladimir. This is your first time?

Boy. Yes, sir.

[Silence]. (Waiting for Godot 44: Act I)

Vladimir. It wasn't you came yesterday.

Boy. No, sir.

Vladimir. This is your first time?

Boy. Yes, sir.


Vladimir. You have a message from Mr. Godot?

Boy. Yes, sir.

Vladimir. He won't come this evening.

Boy. No, sir.

Vladimir. But he'll come tomorrow.

Boy. Yes, sir.

Vladimir. Without fail.

Boy. Yes, sir.

[Silence]. (Waiting for Godot 84: Act II)

The boy never remembers having met Vladimir and Estragon before. He has a brother who is mentioned but who interestingly never appears - that can also be a little confusion related to the main theme: alienation. When the boy arrives again in the second act, he says he does not remember meeting Estragon or Vladimir. He tells them it is his first time coming to meet them - that can either because the siblings are twins or again because there is lack of communication and a sense of dreaminess. The conversation is identical in that Mr. Godot will once again not be able to come but will be sure to arrive tomorrow. Vladimir demands the boy to remember that he saw him. Vladimir shouts, "You're sure you saw me, you won't come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!" (Waiting for Godot 85). Here we can explain Didi's anger as a reaction to that "dreaminess" and as his will to solve the meaninglessness. The reason why they need Godot is because they want Godot to give a meaning to their life. What is interesting is the Boy calls Vladimir Mr. Albert which the audience has not heard in the play before. It is the confusion of identity. Furthermore, this boy can also be a figment of imagination: they depend on Godot's arrival, and so long as Godot does not come to resolve their waiting, everything that happens is only temporary for them. Godot maybe only exists for Gogo and Didi and directs the course of the time.

They [Gogo and Didi] identify Godot's power with what is most familiar to them in the only world they have experience of: authority. But to the boy who brings his messages Godot has a white beard and his life is occupied by the far older mastership over the sheep and the goats. In another of the contradictory divisions of punishment and grace which occur in this play Godot beats the brother who cares for the sheep and favours the goatherd. His behaviour, if not strictly accurate, has a precedent: 'And he shall seat the sheep on his right hand but the goats on his left.' (Robinson 258)

Godot's punishment of the brother "who cares for the sheep" and his favouring of the other indicates that Godot is not just. Godot who is supposed to be God is that of a cruel and unjust one. Near the end of the play, after the boy has told Vladimir and Estragon that Godot will not come today, they have this dialogue in which Godot seems to be personalized again as a cruel God:

Estragon. Where shall we go?

Vladimir. Not far.

Estragon. Oh yes, let's go away from here.

Vladimir. We can't.

Estragon. Why not?

Vladimir. We have to come back tomorrow.

Estragon. What for?

Vladimir. To wait for Godot.

Estragon. Ah! [Silence.] He didn't come?

Vladimir. No.

Estragon. . . . And if we dropped him? (Pause) If we dropped him?

Vladimir. He'd punish us. (Waiting for Godot 86)

Gogo and Didi cannot communicate because of their innate drive for Godot. "... both acts of [Waiting for] Godot repeat each other with slight differences" (Pilling 32). Early in the play we see how static their life is: Estragon: Let's go. / Vladimir: We can't. / Estragon: Why not? / Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot (Waiting for Godot 6). That simple speech occurs several times throughout the play, and it is surprisingly always after a long pause following their language game: when their games break down, they constantly remember Godot:

Vladimir. He didn't say for sure he'd come.

Estragon. And if he doesn't come?

Vladimir. We'll come back tomorrow.

Estragon. And then the day after tomorrow.

Vladimir. Possibly (Waiting for Godot 6)

After Pozzo and Lucky leave near the end of Act I, we have this exchange:

Pozzo. . . . Adieu

Vladimir. Adieu

Estragon. Adieu

(Long silence)

Vladimir. That passed the time.

Estragon. It would have passed in any case.

Vladimir. Yes, but not so rapidly.


Estragon. What do we do now?

Vladimir. I don't know.

Estragon. Let's go.

Vladimir. We can't.

Estragon. Why not?

Vladimir. We're waiting for Godot.

Estragon. (Despairingly.) Ah! (Waiting for Godot 41)

Therefore, they are in "despair" waiting for someone unknown, someone even they do not know who he is. There is the lack of energy and decision in both characters. It is the decisiveness of the twentieth century man. Gogo and Didi cannot move and take action; they do not want to take any responsibility either: "Estragon: Don't let's do anything. It is safer" (Waiting for Godot 10).

As for the other couple in the play, Pozzo and Lucky; they are also dependent on each other. Lucky is the slave of Pozzo and he is tied to Pozzo with a rope around his neck and he carries Pozzo's bags. It may be claimed that Pozzo, in this play, represents the capitalist view. He is a landlord thinking that he can rule everybody around him. Vladimir and Estragon mistake him for Godot in both acts in which they are disappointed by his arrival. Robinson states his views on Pozzo as follows:

Pozzo recalls the feudal lord of the manor, self-consciously magnanimous in his disposal of time and charity. He condescends to recognize Vladimir and Estragon, who are on his land, as fellow men though he regrets the road is open to all, and when Estragon unashamedly asks for the chicken bones, remarks that in theory the bones go to the carrier. Pozzo's is a fixed and well-regulated world in contrast to the stationary confusion of the tramps where everything is in flux, and his behaviour echoes the image which the tramps have of Godot (so does his name). Not surprisingly they at first mistake his identity. (Robinson 254)

Although he speaks twice during the whole play, Lucky's long monologue is filled with incomplete ideas and has been a favourite criticism. His speech is one of the most important speeches of (http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Theater_of_the_Absurd). It is the longest speech in the play and is a sort of inner monologue written in the stream of consciousness technique with no punctuations. Lucky is actually speaking to nobody. It is his hat - the intellect - that allows him to speak. The speech starts in a pseudo-philosophical fashion (http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Theater_of_the_Absurd) and it soon becomes Beckett's own attacks on philosophy, religion, and politics:

Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattman of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell... and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished... (Waiting for Godot 36)

"Puncher" and "Wattman" are invented names which sound like German; and in Beckett's day, most of the philosophers were German. "white beard" is an image of God which later appears in the conversation between Vladimir and the Boy in the second act: "Vladimir. Has he a beard, Mr. Godot? Boy. Yes, sir. Vladimir. Fair or... black? Boy. I think it's white sir" (Waiting for Godot 85). Miranda is Shakespeare's young heroine in The Tempest which Beckett probably uses as hope and goodness. "exceptions" probably refer to the Christian idea that some will be saved but some damned "for reasons unknown". Lucky also talks about sports which are also related to Germany. It is an extraordinary speech moving from sense to nonsense. That kind of speech is a part of the alienation technique; it aims to alienate the audience - thus pass the atmosphere of the play to the audience. Lucky is silenced by the other characters that fight with him to take of his hat and appears as a mute in the second act. Pozzo, the master who rules over Lucky stops and talks to Gogo and Didi in order to have some company. Pozzo is irritated by the speech feeling that he is losing his power by allowing the slave to 'speak freely'.

In the second act Pozzo is blind and requires their help. He, like Estragon, cannot remember people he has met. His transformation between the acts may represent the passage of time. Reid comments on the master-slave relationship between Pozzo and Lucky and consumerism of the time as follows:

Do Lucky and Pozzo, the play seems to be asking, represent a necessary tie between a slave/employee's work and a master/employer's capital in Marx's early capitalist world? Do the unemployed, formerly genteel bums, Vladimir and Estragon, represent a necessary tie between alienated consumers? (Reid 79)

In Act II, the setting is the next day and what has changed in scenery is that the tree has grown leaves since the night before. This is probably to emphasize the confusing nature of time. Estragon comments that it must be spring. Estragon's boots and Lucky's hat are still on the stage. Vladimir enters and starts to sing until Estragon shows up barefoot. Estragon is upset that Vladimir was singing and happy even though he was not there. Both admit that they are happy to be together. They are still "waiting for Godot". Estragon has forgotten everything that took place the day before: He has forgotten all about Pozzo and Lucky, he cannot remember his boots and thinks they must be someone else's and the conversation soon dies and they are "waiting for Godot". Even at the end of the play, Vladimir and Estragon are hopeful. The last speeches of the play are not different from the beginning: "Vladimir. Well? Shall we go? Estragon. Yes, let's go" (Waiting for Godot 87), they cannot because they are "waiting for Godot". The play's conclusion actually echoes the end of Act I. Even the stage directions reflect this similarity: after boy's exit and the moonrise, the stage directions read, "as in Act I, Vladimir stands motionless and bowed" (Waiting for Godot 82). While a live audience would not read these directions, they serve to emphasize the parallel between the two acts for readers and for actors performing the play.

In [Waiting for] Godot the image is the waiting. The play offers us two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, standing by a country road. They were there, so they tell us, last night; they are there tonight, for we can see them; and they intend, if a person named Godot does not arrive, to come back tomorrow... This is what the play, at a variety of levels, informs us; it is what we ourselves witness, and if, at the final curtain, we take something more away from the theatre that is another token of the need we share with the characters for a meaning and a purpose in time... Our laughter refers to the breakdown of illusion which the tramps strive, without success, to conceal, and the weary refrain of their verbal mirage ends by emphasizing the absence of what they are waiting for: Godot will not come. (Robinson 245)

The repetition of the final two lines from the previous act at the play's conclusion shows the continued importance of repetition and parallelism in Waiting for Godot. However, the characters have switched lines from the previous act, suggesting that ultimately, despite their differences, Vladimir and Estragon are really interchangeable after all. Although the live audience probably cannot differ between the two characters since they need no deep character analysis, the presentation of the same action twice in the two acts can be considered the most important form of repetition in the play. More than one acts let Beckett show the repetition of actions in the play, but this does not explain why Beckett chooses to use two acts instead of more than two. The repetitive nature of the play is also somehow related to the use of pairs of characters and Beckett's choice of two acts. So the number "two" becomes important in the play. Even though the play itself is a play of couples and play of two acts, it after all turns out be that of loneliness.

Haney looks at the work from a postmodernist perspective and asserts:

To a postmodernist critic, Waiting for Godot has modernist overtones, and Godot himself represents a metanarrative that prevents the tramps from ever achieving the freedom they so desperately seek. Jeffrey Nealon argues that Estragon and Vladimir are tricksters engaged in a play of language games, that all their games point to one metagame--the grand narrative cantered on Godot - and that they are content to play their comfortable modernist games within this grand narrative rather than attempt to break out through a postmodernist misuse of language for the sake of progress and discovery (46-7). The best example of a postmodernist language game, for Nealon, is Lucky's "think," which transgresses and disrupts the limits of the ultimate metagame - namely, Western metaphysics. Lucky is right, of course, to deconstruct and expose the limits of objective thought. (Haney 43)

Although very existentialist in its characterizations, Waiting for Godot is primarily about hope. The play revolves around Vladimir and Estragon and their pitiful wait for hope for the arrival of someone unknown. At various times during the play, hope is constructed as a form of salvation, in the personages of Pozzo and Lucky, or even as death. The subject of the play quickly becomes an example of how to pass the time in a situation which offers no hope. Thus Godot himself becomes a symbol of not only God but also hope.

Godot, in any traditional frame of reference, is God; but, according to any precise terms of credibility, God does not exist. He is nonexistent in the sense that He does not and will not appear. Estragon and Vladimir are obliged to wait for Him, to expect Him; but they are responsible for their own being, for tolerating the shifts and changes in the shape and color of their surroundings. In short, they must exist and are their only reliable agents of self-continuance. In these circumstances, each of them is tyrant, critic, actor and spectator, and Christ. The Christ figure is wholly shorn of divinity; there seems no link between Estragon and Godot, unless Estragon is himself Christ, now entirely human. (Hoffman 52)

The devices Beckett uses in the play to break through temporal, discursive barriers "toward a transtemporal, transverbal awareness are well known to theatre-goers, even though they may find the effects of these absurdist devices difficult to explain after the fact" (Haney 39). Beckett breaks the conventional sense and makes use of a different kind of realism. To conclude, most people in our age spend their lives waiting for something, but they are not sure of what it exactly is. Vladimir and Estragon know specifically what, or rather whom, they are waiting for or they suppose so. Every day, Estragon wants to kill himself, but not only is there not enough rope, but there is also a hope that Godot will appear the next day and everything will be different. Interestingly enough, Godot is also the one who keeps two friends coming back to the same spot, instead of wandering off and looking for a better place to live. Because of the endless promise that this one person will actually come, they do not even leave the place. However, it is important to note that whether or not Godot exists does not make any difference. The belief in Godot keeps two people from killing themselves, yet living in a ditch. It is 'friendship'; although they hit each other from time to time; they do love and need each other, so do Pozzo and Lucky, who prove the idea that master and slave need each other. So mankind needs mankind in order to survive within the meaningless world. Their belief in Godot's arrival does not let Gogo and Didi go to anywhere they want to go so it keeps them together. This belief serves the most important function: it gives purpose to their existence which is in fact purposeless. Gogo and Didi suffer from "living" and they cannot find a solution even in suicide. It is the question of existence Beckett is trying to point out. Both Gogo and Didi and Pozzo and Lucky should go on living no matter how life is meaningless.

Primary Source(s)

  • Beckett, Samuel. "Waiting for Godot". The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Volume.1. Faber and Faber. London: 1956.

Secondary Sources

  • Andonian, Cathleen Culotta. The Critical Response to Samuel Beckett. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT: 1998.
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  • Calderwood, James I. Ways of Waiting in Waiting for Godot Connor: 1991.
  • Carter, Ronald, John McRae. The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland. London, Routledge: 2001.
  • Esslin, Martin. "The Search for Self" Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (ed) Harold Bloom. Chelsea House. New York: 1987.
  • Haney, William S. "Beckett out of His Mind: The Theatre of the Absurd" Studies in the Literary Imagination. Volume: 34. Issue: 2. Georgia State University Department of English: 2002.
  • Hoffman, Frederick J. Samuel Beckett: The Language of Self. Contributors. Southern Illinois University Press. Carbondale, IL.: 1962.
  • Malekin, Peter and Ralph Yarrow. Consciousness, Literature and Theatre: Theory and Beyond. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997.
  • Pilling, John. Samuel Beckett. London: 1976.
  • Reid, James H. "Allegorizing Jameson's Postmodernist Space: 'Waiting for Godot'". The Romanic Review. Volume: 84. Issue:1. Columbia University: 1993.
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Online Sources Cited (12th November 2009)

  • http://engliterarium.blogspot.com/2008/11/waiting-for-godot-realism.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_for_Godot
  • http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/~sek5/classpage.html
  • http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/existentialism/major-thinkers-and-authors-associated-with-the-movement.html
  • http://historyofmodernphilosophy.blogspot.com/2008/07/albert-camus-1913-1960-and-absurdism.html
  • http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Theater_of_the_Absurd

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