Waiting For Godot By Beckett

Authors use different techniques in their wittings. Samuel Beckett uses
allusions and references to characters to help the reader understand what the
characters represent. In his drama Waiting for Godot, Becketts two main
characters, Estragon and Vladimir, are symbolized as man. Separate they are two
different sides of man, but together they represent man as a whole. In Waiting
for Godot, Beckett uses Estragon and Vladimir to symbolize mans physical and
mental state. Estragon represents the physical side of man, while Vladimir
represents the intellectual side of man. In each way these two look for answers
shows their side of man. Estragon has his shoes. Vladimir has his hat. When
Estragon takes off his shoes he peers inside it, feels about inside it, turns
it upside sown, shakes it…1. Through this action it is relevant that
Estragon is searching for something from his boot, but unable to recognize it.

This symbolizes mans side of using physical ability to answer questions.

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Vladimir on the other hand continues to look into his hat. Vladirmir constantly
Takes off his hat, peers inside it, feels about inside it, shakes it, puts it
on again2. Through this action Vladimir is shown to be searching for answers
in his hat, which symbolizes his using knowledge and his intellectual capability
for solving problems. Both Estragon and Vladimir are searching for what the
reader assumes to be the key to lifes problems. When they continue to do this
throughout the drama, it expresses the fact that they are searching and will
continue to search until they find what they are looking for. Vladimir is more
practical, and Estragon is more of a romantic. In the drama, Estragon wants to
talk about his dreams. Vladimir doesnt want to. He can not stand to hear
about the dreams that Estragon has. When Estragon wakes up from falling asleep
he says I had a dream. Vladimir answers with Dont tell me3.

Another example is that Estragon often forgets events as soon as they happen or
within a day, while Vladimir, on the other hand, remember past events4. This is
shown when Pozzo and Lucky enter into the scene in the second act. Estragon and
Vladimir see two men coming. Vladimir recognizes it as Pozzo, from the day
before, but Estragon does not recognize him. The conversation starts with
Vladimir: Poor Pozzo I knew it was him Who? Godot. But its not Godot. Its
not Godot? Its not Godot. Then who is it? Its Pozzo5. This exchange in
dialog shows that Estragon does not recognize Pozzo, and Vladimir has to tell
Estragon who it is. The two of them are dependent on each other. Estragon is
beaten every night by mysterious men. Vladimir acts as his protector. He sings
to him, helps him take off his boots, and covers him with his jacket6. Every
night they part, yet they find each other every morning and start another day of
waiting. In each act, Estragon and Vladimir talk about hanging themselves form
the tree. During this exchange of words, Estragon suggest that they hang
themselves from a near by tree. Vladimir is the one who is particle and explains
why they cant hang themselves. The physical side and the intellectual side is
shown through Estragons and Vladimirs actions, as well as their words.

They have a friend ship that is bonded by their differences. Without one another
they would be lost, just like without the intellectual side of man, the physical
side would be lost, and visa versa.

1 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1954) 8
left. 2 Beckett 8 left. 3 Beckett 11 left. 4 Martin Esslin, The Search for
the Self, Modern Critical Interpretations Waiting for Godot, ed. Harold Bloom
(New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987) 29. 5 Beckett 50 right. 6 Esslin 29
Bibliography Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, Inc.,
1954. Esslin, Martin The Search for the Self. Modern Critical
Interpretations Waiting for Godot. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House
Publishing, 1987.


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