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Waiting For Godot Essay

1752 words - 8 pages

Joneal Joplin, who has directed Samual Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, said: “Are we there yet? We said it as children; we are plagued by it as adults. No matter how short or long the trip, no matter how entertaining or boring the company, no matter how beautiful or inviting the scenery, the destination was all we could think about, and we often missed the best part of the trip: the journey itself.” Many people have speculated that this terribly bleak play is centered around the quest for meaning; but how is meaning derived? Can it be measured? Is it the symbolic journey, as Joplin infers, that makes things meaningful? As a whole, the play symbolizes this “journey” for all ...view middle of the document...

Godot would have no reason to punish Vladimir and Estragon if they did not have a choice. Vladimir also makes their meeting seem to be a kind of proposition when he says, “I’m curious to hear what he has to offer. Then we’ll take it or leave it” (13). This statement and the other statements all appear to strengthen their belief that they are the ones in control, and thus make them feel their life is important and meaningful giving them a purpose.
Contemplating suicide is one of Vladimir and Estragon’s only means for combating their boredom. It gives them the sense that they are again in complete control of their lives, and thus can end them at any point. The idea of Vladimir and Estragon committing suicide by hanging themselves is certainly important to Beckett, because the notion of them hanging themselves is discussed multiple times. Hanging themselves is brought up twice by Estragon: “What about hanging ourselves?” and “Why don’t we hang ourselves?” (12, 108). They, however, are never able to act upon this impulse, because they deem it safer to do nothing at all. As Vladimir says, “Don’t let’s do anything. It’s safer” (13). Despite their inactivity, they still perceive that they are in complete control of their lives by having this opportunity, and thus their life must be meaningful. Routine or habit creates a rational base for people to live their lives from. Routines protect people from what cannot be controlled and help them combat the feeling of emptiness. Merely participating in a routine can also help pass the time. As Vladimir says, “habit is a great deadener” (105). By this, he means habit numbs the mind making time seem to pass more quickly. Discussion between Vladimir and Estragon becomes the major routine the characters use to accomplish this. Discussion is used to combat the silence and emptiness in both their lives. This is indeed the case in Vladimir and Estragon’s following dialogue when Vladimir is offering to tell the story of Christ’s Crucifixion:
Vladimir: Ah yes, the two thieves. Do you remember the story?
Estragon: No.
Vladimir: Shall I tell it to you?
Estragon: No.
Vladimir: It’ll pass the time. (6)
Another example of the importance of discussion in their lives is shown when Vladimir says, “Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can’t you, once in a while?” (6). He says this scolding Estragon for not contributing his part to the conversation to help pass the time.
Throughout the play, Vladimir and Estragon’s trivial, routine, actions are used to fight the emptiness they are feeling in their lives. Beckett purposely uses a tree as the only prop on stage to give the audience the feeling of emptiness as well. An example of their trivial actions is the switching of hats between Vladimir and Estragon (80-81). Another example is Vladimir feeding carrots, radishes, and turnips to Estragon (16, 76). Vladimir ends one of these trivial feedings saying, “This is becoming...

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