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Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Download this LitChart! Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. Themes and Colors Key.
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Waiting for Godot , which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Sitting on the side of a country road by a tree, Estragon tries repeatedly to pull off one of his boots.
Waiting for Godot full play
Vladimir enters and Estragon exasperatedly tells him there's "nothing to be done. Estragon says he slept in a ditch. The general statement, "nothing to be done," can refer to Estragon's inability to pull off his boot, waiting for Godot, or the characters' lives in general—even the human condition itself.
Active Themes. Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism. Related Quotes with Explanations.
Vladimir asks if "they" beat Estragon while he was sleeping there and he says that they did. Vladimir says, "It's too much for one man," but then reasons that there's no point in giving up now. Estragon tells Vladimir to stop talking and help him get his boot off.
Vladimir asks if the boot hurts, and Estragon balks at the question. Vladimir reminds him that he's not the only one who suffers, and points out to Estragon that his fly is unbuttoned.
Waiting For Godot
The beginning of the play introduces the audience to the characters' bleak world, which is filled with all kinds of suffering, from the more trivial a boot that is stuck on to the more serious an anonymous "they" who beat Estragon mercilessly.
Beckett mixes this suffering with abrupt humor, here in the form of Estragon's unbuttoned fly. Humor and the Absurd. Estragon again asks for help, but Vladimir ignores him, taking off his hat, looking in it, and shaking it upside down, as if hoping for something to fall out.
Nothing does, and he says, "nothing to be done. Vladimir says, "show me," but Estragon tells him there's nothing to see. The characters' absurd behavior looking inside their hats and boots is never explained. Vladimir ignores Estragon's pain, and repeats Estragon's assertion that there is nothing to be done: they are not only bored, but crippled by their inability to do anything at all. Vladimir wonders what would happen if he and Estragon repented.
Estragon asks what they would be repenting for and Vladimir doesn't say. Estragon suggests repenting being born, which makes Vladimir laugh.
Estragon tells him not to laugh, and instead only to smile. The Christian idea of repentance no longer has any real value for Vladimir and Estragon. Estragon's comment underscores the uneasy quality of the play's humor. Should the audience heed his warning too, or is it okay for us to laugh? Download it!
Waiting for Godot
Vladimir asks if Estragon has ever read the Bible and if he remembers the Gospels. Estragon remembers only colored maps of the holy land. As Estragon describes the colorful maps, Vladimir jokes that he should have been a poet. Estragon says he was one. Vladimir asks how Estragon's foot is doing.
It's swollen. In somewhat typical Postmodern fashion, Estragon's stance toward Biblical tradition is devoid of any reverence or specialness. It is unclear whether Estragon's absurdly abrupt statement that he was a poet is to be taken seriously or not.
Vladimir tells Estragon about the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus in the Bible. One of the two thieves was damned to hell, while the other was saved. Vladimir says from hell.
Vladimir wonders why only one of the four Evangelists writes of the one thief being saved. Estragon is bored by the conversation. The Biblical story introduces the idea of salvation into the play. But in the Modern-Postmodern world of the play there is no God by whom the characters hope to be saved—only Godot. Estragon, meanwhile, is bored even by his friend's conversation. Vladimir continues to wonder about the two thieves, and whether one was saved or not.
Estragon doesn't follow Vladimir's thinking and is confused. Vladimir asks why they should believe the one Evangelist who says a thief was saved, when the other three disagree.
Metadrama in waiting for godot pdf
Estragon asks who believes that one of the thieves was saved and Vladimir says that everybody does. Estragon says people are "bloody ignorant apes. Vladimir is skeptical of the Bible and points out its self-contradictions. Estragon's comment shows the bleak status of humanity in the play. While he nonchalantly compares humans to apes, Vladimir will be greatly pained throughout the play by his lack of dignity. Modernism and Postmodernism. While Estragon gets up and looks around, Vladimir looks in Estragon's boot but doesn't find anything.
Estragon suggests they go somewhere, but Vladimir tells him they can't, because they are waiting for someone named Godot. Estragon asks if Vladimir is sure that they are in the right place, and Vladimir says that it must be, because of the tree at the side of the road.
Intertextuality and Tone: Waiting for Godot
Estragon will ask this question repeatedly over the course of the play, due to his absurd lack of memory. The promise of some kind of help from Godot is actually an insidious form of control and entrapment, as it forces Vladimir and Estragon to stay put, waiting indefinitely. Estragon asks where the tree's leaves are and Vladimir says it must be dead, or else it's not the right season for leaves. The two agree that the tree is more like a bush or shrub.
Vladimir doubts whether Godot will really come. Estragon asks what they will do if he doesn't come, and Vladimir says they'll come back to the same place the next day, and the next day, and so on, until Godot arrives. Vladimir and Estragon absurdly deny that the tree on-stage is really a tree. Vladimir's plan to wait for Godot indefinitely shows how he and Estragon are trapped here in a kind of prison of their own making: they are free to leave but kept here by their hope for Godot's arrival.
Estragon says they came to this place yesterday, but Vladimir disagrees. Estragon asks if Vladimir is sure that they are at this spot on the right day.
Vladimir thinks so it is Saturday , but looks through his pockets to see if he wrote down somewhere on which day they were supposed to come. Estragon doubts what day it is and worries that maybe Godot came yesterday and they weren't there to meet him. Unlike Vladimir, who has a somewhat stable sense of time, Estragon is completely temporally disoriented, and has no idea what day it is, let alone a sense of what he and Vladimir did yesterday.
The two take a break from talking and Estragon falls asleep.
Vladimir wakes him and Estragon asks why he won't let him sleep. Vladimir says he was lonely. Estragon says he had a dream and begins to tell Vladimir about it, but Vladimir angrily shouts at him not to describe the dream. He tells Estragon to keep his nightmares private. Vladimir has an intense fear of loneliness. He feels painfully alone even when Estragon simply stops talking to him and falls asleep.
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity. Estragon wonders if it would be better for he and Vladimir to go their separate ways. He is reminded of a joke about an Englishman at a brothel that he tells to Vladimir, who stops him in the middle of the joke and leaves the stage.
Vladimir returns and Estragon asks if he has something to tell him. Vladimir says he has nothing to say.