Authors use different techniques in their wittings. Samuel Beckett usesallusions and references to characters to help the reader understand what thecharacters represent.
In his drama Waiting for Godot, Becketts two maincharacters, Estragon and Vladimir, are symbolized as man. Separate they are twodifferent sides of man, but together they represent man as a whole. In Waitingfor Godot, Beckett uses Estragon and Vladimir to symbolize mans physical andmental state. Estragon represents the physical side of man, while Vladimirrepresents the intellectual side of man. In each way these two look for answersshows their side of man. Estragon has his shoes.
Vladimir has his hat. WhenEstragon takes off his shoes he peers inside it, feels about inside it, turnsit upside sown, shakes it…1. Through this action it is relevant thatEstragon is searching for something from his boot, but unable to recognize it.
This symbolizes mans side of using physical ability to answer questions.Vladimir on the other hand continues to look into his hat. Vladirmir constantlyTakes off his hat, peers inside it, feels about inside it, shakes it, puts iton again2. Through this action Vladimir is shown to be searching for answersin his hat, which symbolizes his using knowledge and his intellectual capabilityfor solving problems. Both Estragon and Vladimir are searching for what thereader assumes to be the key to lifes problems.
When they continue to do thisthroughout the drama, it expresses the fact that they are searching and willcontinue to search until they find what they are looking for. Vladimir is morepractical, and Estragon is more of a romantic. In the drama, Estragon wants totalk about his dreams. Vladimir doesnt want to. He can not stand to hearabout the dreams that Estragon has. When Estragon wakes up from falling asleephe says I had a dream. Vladimir answers with Dont tell me3.
Another example is that Estragon often forgets events as soon as they happen orwithin a day, while Vladimir, on the other hand, remember past events4. This isshown when Pozzo and Lucky enter into the scene in the second act. Estragon andVladimir see two men coming. Vladimir recognizes it as Pozzo, from the daybefore, but Estragon does not recognize him. The conversation starts withVladimir: Poor Pozzo I knew it was him Who? Godot. But its not Godot. Itsnot Godot? Its not Godot.
Then who is it? Its Pozzo5. This exchange indialog shows that Estragon does not recognize Pozzo, and Vladimir has to tellEstragon who it is. The two of them are dependent on each other. Estragon isbeaten every night by mysterious men. Vladimir acts as his protector. He singsto him, helps him take off his boots, and covers him with his jacket6.
Everynight they part, yet they find each other every morning and start another day ofwaiting. In each act, Estragon and Vladimir talk about hanging themselves formthe tree. During this exchange of words, Estragon suggest that they hangthemselves from a near by tree. Vladimir is the one who is particle and explainswhy they cant hang themselves. The physical side and the intellectual side isshown through Estragons and Vladimirs actions, as well as their words.They have a friend ship that is bonded by their differences. Without one anotherthey would be lost, just like without the intellectual side of man, the physicalside would be lost, and visa versa.
Bibliography1 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1954) 8left. 2 Beckett 8 left. 3 Beckett 11 left. 4 Martin Esslin, The Search forthe Self, Modern Critical Interpretations Waiting for Godot, ed. Harold Bloom(New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987) 29. 5 Beckett 50 right. 6 Esslin 29Bibliography Beckett, Samuel.
Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, Inc.,1954.
Esslin, Martin The Search for the Self. Modern CriticalInterpretations Waiting for Godot. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea HousePublishing, 1987.