Samuel Beckett’s most celebrated play in two acts “Waiting for Godot” was first published in 1952 in Paris. Originally written in French, it was soon translated into English by the author himself. The play tells about two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for someone named Godot. The tragicomedy doesn’t have any specific plot; there is no particular story being told, as it is usually done in dramatists’ works, but rather there is some static situation being described. Play’s main action is waiting. Despite its seeming simplicity and minimalism, the dramatic piece turns out to be amazingly rich, originally fun and tragic. Play’s characters deal with unsolved philosophical puzzles, inviting us to search for interpretations among all kinds of social, political and religious schools. The two protagonists, emotionally naked and miserable, serve to represent man’s pitiful vulnerability and unexplainable cruelty. Interpersonal relationships in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” are particularly significant, since the whole work is actually based on the interaction of the central characters and how they struggle to satisfy one another’s need for companionship and boredom. Vladimir and Estragon, who are united in their misery, escape loneliness in each other’s company and even if frequently tending to separate in fact reveal themselves to be a truly loving friendly couple, providing comfort to one another.
Beckett’s drama is full of unpredictability. The characters are unusual, motivated in bizarre and curious ways; their conversation is filled with mostly nonsensical blathering. The plot structure is perfectly random; there’s no certain opening, culmination, and conclusion. The play is full of never answered questions of which the most intriguing one is “Who is Godot?” The audience is not presented with some easily recognized solutions to accurately observed troubles. The spectator is surprised at not obtaining any directions to what is the play’s moralizing message. Beckett skillfully makes his listeners wait for something to happen in the play, subtly alluding to the emotions his central characters are experiencing. As they wait for someone named Godot (we never find out who he actually is), the two tramps wait for something to change in their lives, and meanwhile, they pass their time, talking about nothing in particular, discussing mostly insignificant matters, yet from time to time referring to the profound issues, uttering the words that bear deep philosophical meaning.
The two major characters though alike in many ways, are in fact quite dissimilar. Even their physical performances differ. Vladimir is impatient, always reluctant to keep still or stay where he is because of boredom or nervousness. He generally walks or stands throughout the play. Estragon is mostly motionless, not willing, or not having the strength or power to move. He is described as sitting down frequently or even dozing off for several times. When spending time together, they constantly experience a certain conflict of interest on this basis. When one is willing to take a nap, the other one is more enthusiastic about doing something more active, at least talk: “Estragon: Let’s stop talking for a minute, do you mind? Vladimir: All right. (Estragon sits down on the mound. Vladimir paces agitatedly to and fro, halting from time to time to gaze into distance off. Estragon falls asleep. Vladimir halts finally before Estragon.) Gogo! . . . Gogo! . . . GOGO! Estragon wakes with a start. Estragon: I was asleep! Why will you never let me sleep? Vladimir: I felt lonely.” (Beckett)