Bortybo, 11th - Oakland, CA
In Samuel Beckett’s award winning play, “Waiting for Godot”, the audience follows the mind boggling dialogue between Estragon and Vladimir as they endlessly wait for someone, or something, labeled: Godot. They cross paths with the equally strange Pozzo and Lucky, who, like Estragon and Vladimir, also seem to not know what they are doing. The indirect use of language leaves room for much interpretation and forces the reader to conclude their own meaning of what the play is trying to get at. The perplexing story and eccentric behavior expressed by the characters in “Waiting for Godot” symbolizes and mocks humanity’s search for purpose and overall way we choose to live our lives as a society.
The endless cycle of waiting shown by the characters represents the futile attempt to find meaning in life. Pozzo, Lucky, Estragon, and Vladimir all wait for their purpose, whatever it may be, and they wait without questioning what they are waiting for or why. Pozzo, expressing his fear of futility, laments, “but is it enough, that’s what tortures me, is it enough?” (Beckett 30). Pozzo is overwhelmed by the fact that no matter what he decides to do in life, in the end his actions may all be pointless. Meaning in life cannot be achieved by simply waiting for it to find you, you must go out and experience life and search for purpose itself.
Pozzo anxiously ruminates with Estragon and Vladimir on how time will inexorably pass, marked by the light of day slowly losing its hues until it comes to rest in darkness. He exclaims, “but behind this veil of gentleness and peace night is charging and will burst upon us pop! Like that! Just when we least expect it” (Beckett 29). Pozzo expresses his anxiety surrounding the fact that we have no control over the passage of time and what is to come as a result. The path of accepting indeterminism over fatalism will predict people's attitudes towards the future and what it has in store for them, that being good or bad. Pozzo invokes the idea that it doesn't matter when something is to happen, because eventually, with time, it will happen. He aims them to the point that they might as well live in the present and disregard all anxiety directed toward the when of life and to break their redundant performance of doing the same thing looking for different results.
Vladimir analyzes society’s perpetual bond with habit, showing how habit can interfere with one’s ability to achieve a meaningful existence. Vladimir comes to the realization that he’s been living his life in a cycle devoid of meaning. He laments on this fact saying, “we have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener” (Beckett 81). Vladimir has become the stereotype of people. He lives a life situated around a single goal of waiting for purpose and repeats the same tedious process to achieve it, which he now knows will never help him. By living this life composed solely of routine, the only thing that is guaranteed is that he will grow old and die. Unfortunately for Vladimir, he knows far too well at this point that in the end, his life of meaningless perpetual habit will result in a meaningless end. He comes to this conclusion while thinking aloud to himself and asking, “when I wake or think I do, what shall I say of today? [...] I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be? He’ll know nothing” (Beckett 81). The reflection of one’s existence being forged in habit will conclude to having learned nothing. Vladimir bears uncertainty about everything in his life due to the fact that the truth of his existence rests upon him living in a endless routine that leaves him in a stand still lacking progression.
The basis of the play “Waiting for Godot” ridicules the way humans try to find meaning in their existence and how society forces people to obtain purpose through routine. One way this is represented is through the perpetual waiting the characters undergo by waiting for godot. Vladimir shows the audience that humanity’s bond with habit can take away from finding true meaning in life. The relation to real life and society found in “Waiting for Godot” is used to show what an awful template for life society and its constructs have left people with. Making it harder to find meaning in day to day lives, making it more difficult to connect with the world around us and leaving us with an empty soul.
Students 6th-12th Grades