In 1952, Samuel Beckett’s play was performed for the first time, hailed by the public and translated into 20 languages since its creation. Indeed, the playwright started to become famous with Waiting for Godot , although the previous works of the French Dubliner, who received a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969, also deserved much attention, and had already aroused critics and well-informed experts’ interest. The play belongs to the Absurd genre, leaning on the nonsense inherent to life as described by the Existentialists, that some critics consider as a nihilist approach in reference to Nietzsche’s philosophical works. Waiting For Godot is a surrealist play, in which derision, psychoanalysis and metaphysics are merged together in order to draw a pessimistic portrait of human condition. It was written in the post war period, and appears as a grim inventory, a sinister view on a world peopled by idle and wandering souls fed on whimsical hopes and worn out by a reality deprived of cheerful prospects.
The setting is purged (a road, a tree) and mirrors the austere existence of the 4 characters, destitute vagabonds whose only hope consists in waiting for some Godot, who will not come.
Vladimir and Estragon look after each other with mutual affection and support: they call each other Didi and Gogo, and share their daily lot of misery and boredom, impatience and resignation, hope and disillusion. Their wait is disrupted by 2 strange individuals: blind Pozzo and mute Lucky, attached by a rope to one another. Their conversation is meaningless: they are killing time. A messenger arrives to reveal that Godot will not come, that he gives another appointment for the next day, same time, same place (near the tree: phallic symbol or tree of knowledge), they may get a chance to meet him… Through the characters, themes such as intimacy, master and slave relationships, and belief are raised: could Godot simply be God, who forgets the humble humans who have faith in Him? Pozzo brings an answer when he declares that they are all made in God’s image: Godot may well be this part of themselves which they ignore of. Or maybe one of them?