Extending the existentialist writings of those before him, and
redefining it in a unique way, Samuel Becket creates a play surrounding
the ruminations of two men waiting for a man they know only as
Godot. Vladimir and Estragon, waking up uncomfortable and in a
ditch, discuss any number of the mundane details of their life, from
the fit of their boots to the tree that sits, lonely, by where they
wait. Neither knows anything about the person for whom they wait,
save that his name is Godot, and they cannot give up hope now.
Their empty day is somewhat alleviated by the arrival of Lucky and
Pozzo, the former being dragged behind the latter by a leash.
These two engage in coversation with our two heros, but leave without
contributing anything to their longtime goals or peace of mind.
After a day of patient waiting, the two feel it is time to call it a
night, only to wake up the next day and repeat the process all over
The play presents a bleak landscape along which our two main characters
are the only defining feature. Even their personalities are
hardly unique, even to each other, and they seem to switch sides of the
argument constantly, unable to define themselves in a world that itself
lacks defition. Their 'quest', as you might call it, consists of
nothing but waiting, and not losing their minds (if they have them to
begin with). Combining great timing and wit with any number of
deeper themes, Samuel Becket manages to create a rich argument through
the use of almost nothing on his stage. Existentialism, religion,
the search for God, and the ways in which man defines himself, both
against his surroundings and other men, all come into play. Be
sure to pay careful attention to Lucky's speech in the first act, for
Beckett himself stressed its complete understanding during his initial
meeting with the actors for the first performance.