Hopelessly Hopeful: The Thing That Never Comes!

Vladimir. We have to come back tomorrow.

Estragon. What for?

Vladimir. To wait for Godot.

                                                                      Waiting for Godot, Act 2, page 1071



Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is a play centered around the hopeless despair that one faces in waiting on something that has never come and probably never will! Throughout the play, two of the main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, are consistently in a battle between what is real and what is not, which shapes their entire existence and purpose. Waiting for Godot is shaped by the hopelessness and the idea that something or someone better will come along to rescue the lost people, which does not exactly come to fruition.

The characters in the play appear to almost be stuck in time with no sense of what tomorrow will hold for them. The battle between what is real and what is not is constantly a challenge for them as they appear almost robotic with no true sense of what it is that they really seek in Godot. It can only be implied that Godot is looked upon as some sort of savior, who can release Vladimir and Estragon from their lives which appears to be filled with anguish, poverty and the heavy reliance of guidance on one another.

The characters also appear to resist, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, any form of conformity to anything that is around them, but instead shapes their own realities, standards and rules to suite their own personal agenda, reliance and hope. Vladimir and Estragon, in particular, have no true thought of yesterday, but only what is currently present in their lives which almost appears as though they are stuck in time.

What is also of significant interest is the closeness of Vladimir and Estragon’s relationship and how they have learnt to rely and depend on each other over the many years of friendship. The relationship between these two characters is also key because it tells a narrative of its own in that they are currently in a system where they cannot rely on anyone else but each other. Hopelessly waiting on a figure, who never arrives, in and of itself is a message, where we as humans are taught to hope and trust that there is a better future and plan at the end of the “rope” (significant to the character Lucky).

Of course, this hope in Waiting for Godot never arrives! Although some of the characters, Vladimir and Estragon in particular, state that they are leaving on several occasions, we see that they remain where they were before. This play is an interesting read filled with subliminal meanings and messages which as readers and spectators must unravel to grasp the full understanding of what Beckett is trying to convey.


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