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Act I[ edit ] The play opens on an outdoor scene of two bedraggled companions: the philosophical Vladimir and the weary Estragon - the latter of whom, at the moment, cannot remove his boots from his aching feet, finally muttering, "Nothing to be done. Finally, his boots come off, while the pair ramble and bicker pointlessly. When Estragon suddenly decides to leave, Vladimir reminds him that they must stay and wait for an unspecified person called Godot—a segment of dialogue that repeats often.
Unfortunately, the pair cannot agree on where or when they are expected to meet with this Godot. Eventually, Estragon dozes off and Vladimir rouses him but then stops him before he can share his dreams—another recurring activity between the two men. Estragon wants to hear an old joke, which Vladimir cannot finish without going off to urinate, since every time he starts laughing, a kidney ailment flares up.
They then speculate on the potential rewards of continuing to wait for Godot, but can come to no definite conclusions. Pozzo barks abusive orders at Lucky, which are always quietly followed, while acting civilly though tersely towards the other two. Pozzo enjoys a selfish snack of chicken and wine, before casting the bones to the ground, which Estragon gleefully claims. Having been in a dumbfounded state of silence ever since the arrival of Pozzo and Lucky, Vladimir finally finds his voice to shout criticisms at Pozzo for his mistreatment of Lucky.
Pozzo ignores this and explains his intention to sell Lucky, who begins to cry. Pozzo then rambles nostalgically but vaguely about his relationship with Lucky over the years, before offering Vladimir and Estragon some compensation for their company. Estragon begins to beg for money when Pozzo instead suggests that Lucky can "dance" and "think" for their entertainment. Pozzo then has Lucky pack up his bags, and they hastily leave.
Vladimir and Estragon, alone again, reflect on whether they have met Pozzo and Lucky before. A boy then arrives, purporting to be a messenger sent from Godot to tell the pair that Godot will not be coming that evening "but surely tomorrow". After the boy departs, the moon appears, and the two men verbally agree to leave and find shelter for the night, but they merely stand without moving.
Act II[ edit ] It is daytime again and Vladimir begins singing a recursive round about the death of a dog, but twice forgets the lyrics as he sings. With no carrots left, Vladimir is turned down in offering Estragon a turnip or a radish. This leads to his waking Estragon and involving him in a frenetic hat-swapping scene.
The two then wait again for Godot, while distracting themselves by playfully imitating Pozzo and Lucky, firing insults at each other and then making up, and attempting some fitness routines—all of which fail miserably and end quickly.
Suddenly, Pozzo and Lucky reappear, but the rope is much shorter than during their last visit, and Lucky now guides Pozzo, rather than being controlled by him. As they arrive, Pozzo trips over Lucky and they together fall into a motionless heap. Estragon sees an opportunity to exact revenge on Lucky for kicking him earlier. The issue is debated lengthily until Pozzo shocks the pair by revealing that he is now blind and Lucky is now mute.
His commanding arrogance from yesterday appears to have been replaced by humility and insight. His parting words—which Vladimir expands upon later—are ones of utter despair. This time, Vladimir begins consciously realising the circular nature of his experiences: he even predicts exactly what the boy will say, involving the same speech about Godot not arriving today but surely tomorrow. Vladimir seems to reach a moment of revelation before furiously chasing the boy away, demanding that he be recognised the next time they meet.
Estragon awakes and pulls his boots off again. They resolve tomorrow to bring a more suitable piece of rope and, if Godot fails to arrive, to commit suicide at last. Again, they decide to clear out for the night, but again, they do not move.
Characters[ edit ] Beckett refrained from elaborating on the characters beyond what he had written in the play. He once recalled that when Sir Ralph Richardson "wanted the low-down on Pozzo, his home address and curriculum vitae , and seemed to make the forthcoming of this and similar information the condition of his condescending to illustrate the part of Vladimir I told him that all I knew about Pozzo was in the text, that if I had known more I would have put it in the text, and that was true also of the other characters.
They are never referred to as tramps in the text, though are often performed in such costumes on stage. When told by Vladimir that he should have been a poet, Estragon says he was, gestures to his rags, and asks if it were not obvious.
There are no physical descriptions of either of the two characters; however, the text indicates that Vladimir is possibly the heavier of the pair. The bowlers and other broadly comic aspects of their personas have reminded modern audiences of Laurel and Hardy , who occasionally played tramps in their films.
Estragon "belongs to the stone",  preoccupied with mundane things, what he can get to eat and how to ease his physical aches and pains; he is direct, intuitive. He finds it hard to remember but can recall certain things when prompted, e.
He continually forgets, Vladimir continually reminds him; between them they pass the time. The latter refuses to hear it since he could not tolerate the way the dreamer cannot escape or act during each episode. This became "Adam" in the American edition.
In the first stage production, which Beckett oversaw, both are "more shabby-genteel than ragged Vladimir at least is capable of being scandalised She explained how it begins with a trembling, which gets more and more noticeable, until later the patient can no longer speak without the voice shaking.
As such, since the first appearance of the duo, the true slave had always been Pozzo. His rhetoric has been learned by rote. Little is learned about Pozzo besides the fact that he is on his way to the fair to sell his slave, Lucky.
He presents himself very much as the Ascendancy landlord, bullying and conceited. He confesses to a poor memory but it is more a result of an abiding self-absorption. These were things Beckett said, psychological terms he used. Lucky is the absolutely subservient slave of Pozzo and he unquestioningly does his every bidding with "dog-like devotion".
Pozzo and Lucky have been together for sixty years and, in that time, their relationship has deteriorated. Lucky has always been the intellectually superior but now, with age, he has become an object of contempt: his "think" is a caricature of intellectual thought and his "dance" is a sorry sight. Even in the second act when Pozzo has inexplicably gone blind, and needs to be led by Lucky rather than driving him as he had done before, Lucky remains faithful and has not tried to run away; they are clearly bound together by more than a piece of rope in the same way that Didi and Gogo are "[t]ied to Godot".
Beckett struggled to retain the French atmosphere as much as possible, so that he delegated all the English names and places to Lucky, whose own name, he thought, suggested such a correlation. The boy in Act I, a local lad, assures Vladimir that this is the first time he has seen him. He says he was not there the previous day. He confirms he works for Mr.
Godot as a goatherd. His brother, whom Godot beats, is a shepherd. Godot feeds both of them and allows them to sleep in his hayloft. The boy in Act II also assures Vladimir that it was not he who called upon them the day before. He insists that this too is his first visit. When Vladimir asks what Godot does the boy tells him, "He does nothing, sir. This boy also has a brother who it seems is sick but there is no clear evidence to suggest that his brother is the boy who came in Act I or the one who came the day before that.
In both Acts, the boy seems hesitant to speak very much, saying mostly "Yes Sir" or "No Sir", and winds up exiting by running away. Godot[ edit ] The identity of Godot has been the subject of much debate. The first is that because feet are a recurring theme in the play, Beckett has said the title was suggested to him by the slang French term for boot: " godillot , godasse ".
The second story, according to Bair, is that Beckett once encountered a group of spectators at the French Tour de France bicycle race, who told him "Nous attendons Godot" — they were waiting for a competitor whose name was Godot. This seemed to disappoint him greatly. But you must remember — I wrote the play in French, and if I did have that meaning in my mind, it was somewhere in my unconscious and I was not overtly aware of it.
Beckett himself said the emphasis should be on the first syllable, and that the North American pronunciation is a mistake. Two men are waiting on a country road by a tree. The men are of unspecified origin, though it is clear that they are not English by nationality since they refer to currency as francs , and tell derisive jokes about the English — and in English-language productions the pair are traditionally played with Irish accents. In the first act the tree is bare. In the second, a few leaves have appeared despite the script specifying that it is the next day.
The minimal description calls to mind "the idea of the lieu vague, a location which should not be particularised". In Act I, Vladimir turns toward the auditorium and describes it as a bog.
In the Cackon country! The attempts to pin him down have not been successful, but the desire to do so is natural when we encounter a writer whose minimalist art reaches for bedrock reality. There are ritualistic aspects and elements taken directly from vaudeville  and there is a danger in making more of these than what they are: that is, merely structural conveniences, avatars into which the writer places his fictional characters.
The play "exploits several archetypal forms and situations, all of which lend themselves to both comedy and pathos. Of course you use it. Although he had overseen many productions, this was the first time that he had taken complete control. Walter Asmus was his conscientious young assistant director. The production was not naturalistic. Beckett explained, It is a game, everything is a game. When all four of them are lying on the ground, that cannot be handled naturalistically.
That has got to be done artificially, balletically. Otherwise everything becomes an imitation, an imitation of reality [ It should become clear and transparent, not dry. It is a game in order to survive. Beckett himself sanctioned "one of the most famous mixed-race productions of Godot, performed at the Baxter Theatre in the University of Cape Town , directed by Donald Howarth , with [ The Baxter production has often been portrayed as if it were an explicitly political production, when in fact it received very little emphasis.
What such a reaction showed, however, was that, although the play can in no way be taken as a political allegory , there are elements that are relevant to any local situation in which one man is being exploited or oppressed by another. Graham Hassell writes, "[T]he intrusion of Pozzo and Lucky [