View Poll Results: 'Waiting For Godot': Final Verdict

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  • * Waste of time. Wouldn't recommend it.

    0 0%
  • ** Didn't like it much.

    1 6.25%
  • *** Average.

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  • **** It is a good book.

    4 25.00%
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Thread: Remembering Samuel Beckett: 'Waiting for Godot

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by chmpman
    Just like I never viewed Seinfeld as truly about nothing, I would say this play has something going on. The events don't have a lot of action, but that doesn't mean they are pointless.

    Also I found it quite comical too, to the point where I chuckled out loud several times. The characters are pathetically likeable, and their interactions with each other, although representative of a bleak existence, have their weight of charm and comedy.
    Vivian Mercier wasn’t criticising Beckett – it was meant as a compliment.

    As for the rest, isn’t this what we are doing here on the Forum? -

    “We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?”

    I saw the very funny Dublin Gate production at the Barbican in 1998/9 (?). It was the best experience I’ve had in a theatre (if you don’t count that encounter with a programme seller called Brenda at the Chiswick Empire).

  2. #17
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable
    Does anyone agree with Vivian Mercier’s comment that Waiting for Godot is a play in which “nothing happens, twice”?

    A question I’d be more interested to read responses to is ‘does anyone think it’s hilariously funny (as well as infamously bleak)?’
    Does anyone not?

    Actually, I'm interested in the relationship between the nothingness and the humour. It seems likely to me that the attempt to say nothing, or as little as possible, has a strong tendency to give rise to humour.

  3. #18
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    I haven't found it "hilariously" funny, but I have found myself going "HA, that's funny" quite a few times. In a way it reminds me of the Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" routine.
    Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda


  4. #19
    Serious business Taliesin's Avatar
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    It just dawned on us how similar the name "Godot" is to the word "god"

    We liked this passage
    ESTRAGON:
    I had a dream.
    VLADIMIR:
    Don't tell me !
    ESTRAGON:
    I dreamt that—
    VLADIMIR:
    DON'T TELL ME!
    ESTRAGON:
    (gesture toward the universe). This one is enough for you ? (Silence.)
    There is something very poet-like but cynic in this sentence.

    Does anyone agree with Vivian Mercier’s comment that Waiting for Godot is a play in which “nothing happens, twice”?
    Ha! Could she probably (along other things) referred to the fact that the play has two acts and Godot comes in neither (we haven't finished it, but we heard it from somewhere). The characters have so far done references to the fact that they are actors (a la "we were here yesterday").
    If you believe even a half of this post, you are severely mistaken.

  5. #20
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    I didn't read it, but I went to see it at the Barbican (which is probably better, as you can't quite get the full effect of Vladimir saying "well, that passed the time" after a long silence when you're reading it, nor does the hat-switching routine amount to much on the page). Definitely a great play. How can you keep an audience entertained in a play in which nothing happens and there are often moments of silence that go over a minute? Genius.

    I loved this one:

    VLADIMIR:
    You should have been a poet.
    ESTRAGON:
    I was. (Gesture towards his rags.) Isn't that obvious?
    Last edited by superunknown; 05-29-2006 at 06:58 PM.
    "In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine."
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  6. #21
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    Well, that passed the time.
    If you believe even a half of this post, you are severely mistaken.

  7. #22
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    I was considering whether I should read it in French, but when I think about it this play works more for me in English, specifically because the actors had Irish accents, and I think that, for some reason, the Irish accent is what really gives life to this play.
    "In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine."
    - Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

  8. #23
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    Waiting for Godot or God?

    The first time I saw the play I also noticed that 'Waiting for Godot' bears strange parallels to some forms of religion. It seems to me that the evangelists who live up the road seem too to be waiting for a saviour that they don't know or can't remember much about.
    However, Samuel Beckett himself is recorded as saying that Godot does not represent God and that any similarities in the names are unintentional.
    So once again we are left to contemplate what this crazy absurdist play is all about.
    Yeah, it was funny in a strange and empty sort of way

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable View Post
    Does anyone agree with Vivian Mercier’s comment that Waiting for Godot is a play in which “nothing happens, twice”?

    A question I’d be more interested to read responses to is ‘does anyone think it’s hilariously funny (as well as infamously bleak)?’
    I disagree with Vivian Mercier for the reason that something incredibly important happens, once. First of all, let's view Vladimir and Estragon in light of that Geulincx mind-body philosophy of which Beckett was so fond. Estragon, of course, represents the body: constantly obsessed with his boots, ravenously hungry, can't tell a carrot from a turnip until he has physical contact by eating it (rather than the intellectual contact that is understanding the concept of a turnip). Vladimir, as would follow, symbolizes the mind. Of the two he is in command, calling Estragon "Gogo" (the mind telling the body to move), and obsessing over things like his hat (social self-identity) and other conceptual issues point to this interpretation.

    The much-quoted ending of the play might be said to sum up the stasis of the whole work if you happen to be named Vivian Mercier and don't notice important differences in language (which is key to reading Beckett):

    Vladimir: Well, shall we go?
    Estragon: Yes, let's go.
    They do not move.

    However, when this dialogue is compared with the nearly identical ending of the first act, the astute reader can observe the reality of progress in the play:

    Estragon: Well, shall we go?
    Vladimir: Yes, let's go.
    They do not move.

    This role reversal indicates to me that progress and motion do not necessarily have to be physical. The mind, Vladimir, finally understands the bodies nickname "Didi" as a warning. If the mind oppresses the body in some kind of Levi-Strauss, structuralist binary fashion (as Pozzo oppresses Lucky), the mind will decay and "die die" as well. The mind is now listening to the body, alternating command of the self. In the words of Vladimir, "It is not for nothing I have lived through this long day."

    In act 2 Vladimir realizes that life is cyclical, which leads many to think the outcome of the play very bleak. I disagree with this assessment. Whenever Beckett's characters reach the conclusion that life is cyclical, it does not mean that life is pointless. The acknowledgement of the cycle gives it a purpose. Instead of being forced through life by an unknown, unrealized force, these characters begin doing things for themselves. They begin to consider the world in a new light, and look toward the future that they now understand approaches just as it ever has.

    Consider the last major speech of Vladimir:

    "Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? To-morrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of to-day?"

    Not only is Vladimir thinking of the future, he's questioning the linear nature of time. Linear time, as represented by Pozzo's watch, and adhering to schedules symbolizes the idea of control, which is why it is Pozzo who has the strongest idea of that construction. "He'll know nothing," says Vladimir of Estragon, "He'll tell me about the blows he received and I'll give him a carrot. Astride of a grave and a difficult birth." Here again the cyclical idea first shown in Murphy ("spermarum to the crematorium") of life in death and vice-versa. Like the Unnamable, Moran, Molloy, Murphy, and many of Beckett's beautifully thought-out characters, Vladimir understands now the cycles of life, language, and the mind and body. Perhaps "nobody comes." Perhaps "nobody goes." Hell, perhaps "it's awful," but when one realizes that, he can choose his own path, rather than be pushed by an invisible, circling force.
    Last edited by Jolly McJollyso; 11-30-2006 at 05:46 PM.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skbr View Post
    The first time I saw the play I also noticed that 'Waiting for Godot' bears strange parallels to some forms of religion. It seems to me that the evangelists who live up the road seem too to be waiting for a saviour that they don't know or can't remember much about.
    However, Samuel Beckett himself is recorded as saying that Godot does not represent God and that any similarities in the names are unintentional.
    So once again we are left to contemplate what this crazy absurdist play is all about.
    Yeah, it was funny in a strange and empty sort of way
    Godot, in the words of Beckett, represent an action. My personal interpretation of the name "Godot" is this:

    GODOT

    GO DOT

    GO DO'T

    GO DO IT

    The characters are waiting for things to be done for them. For the cycle of life and language to run its course and take them along. They await action, responsibility, and initiative.

  11. #26
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    Remembering Beckett

    Has he been mentioned? Who? I don't remember? Who ... Beckett? Who's Beckett? The author! Of what? Waiting for Godot! Never read it. Will you? Will I what. Will you read it? Yes I'll read it. Well? I'm reading. Well ... have you read it? Yes I've read it. Well? What? Do you remember Beckett? I remember the name. That's what I said. The name? Was there ever more than the name. Waiting for Godot. What? The name was on the book. The Book? Godot. Never seen it. Neither have they. Never seen them. Have you read it? No. Will you? Will I what? Will you read it? Yes I'll read it. Well? What is the book? Waiting for Godot. Who is the author? Remember! Remember what? Remember he is on the book. Who is? Beckett.

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  12. #27
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    Uncertainty and Wating For Godot...

    "Nothing happens, nobody come, nobody goes, its awful" - Estragon

    This is one line... which I find very impactful... and Waiting For Godot is one text which perhaps changed the way I used to look at things and life in general... in a rather romantic sort of a way...

    UNCERTAINTY IS PERHAPS THE ONLY CERTAINTY...

    Nothingness at the heart of human existence is perhaps the basic theme of the play and is dramtically presented by Beckett through uncertainty, use of language and the decline suffered by the character in Waiting For Godot ...

    Uncertainty, firstly is symbolized in the non-existent character of Godot whose identity is uncertain and is seen as a means of salvation for Vladimir and Estragon, two of the protagonist in the play. The action or rather an absence of it revolves around the non-presence of the absent figure of Godot. This becomes as a void which is basically at the core of human existence.

    The play donot have a third Act and therefore no closure to the plot, which is another aspect towards the theme of uncertainty in the play. Even the second Act is almost like a repitition of the first, following the same events - the tramps reunite, try hard to pass time, meet Pozzo and Lucky, recieve Godot's disappointing message(Godot's existence is in fact brought into question as the only confirmation of his existence, the messages he sends are shown to be unreliable and mainly prompted my Vladimir himself.), contemplate suicide and do nothing instead.
    There is a lot of repitition of phrases and gestures which gives a sense of being trapped in an endless and meaningless cycle and the futility which lies at the end of it...


    The language used in the play is highly ambiguous adding on to the meaninglessness. All communication is shown to be pointless...
    When Estragon says "Nothing to be done," the 'Nothing' suggests inactivity and 'done' suggests action. Also at the end of both acts either of the tramps say "Lets go" but they don't move.

    Uncertainty is also presented through the even balancing of hope and despair. The uncerainty of salavation is medidated upon by Vladimir. He rememembers that one the two thieves who were crucified along with God was saved and thinks it is a reasonable percentage. But he later recalls that this is said by only one of the four evangelists present at the scene. Two of the others are silent and the fourth says both were damned.

    It is far more interesting to notice how the play is structured in terms of binaries... but the oppositions are set up only to be ultimately blurred.
    Vladimir and Estragon who seem the opposite of Pozzo and Lucky are but similar too in many ways.. This creates the uncertainties in the sense that what seems to be opposite is also similar... There is a study diminishing of characters in the play...

    ...

    Life comes out as being a "Nothing" ...meaningless, at the end of the play.. which is what Beckett attempts to dramitize here...

    I can perhaps go on and on.. with this.... and perhaps to go on is what one must do...

    I have read Happy days.. as well.. which is another very good work by Beckett... showing the same nothingness and decline of characters...

    And am I dumb to tell a weather's wind
    How time has ticked a heaven around the stars

  13. #28
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    Krapp's Last Tape.. is another good work...

    while reading it.. it occured to me... perhaps this is what actually happens...
    one always returns... always...
    Like Krapp... listening to a twenty yars old tape thinks... was that me? it cant be me...

    this is what happens...
    beginnings without and end...

    and thats the fun of it..
    nothing ever happens...

    Pauses... unspoken desires.. death dominating thoughts... the woman he talks about... the dog... his mother, father... Krapp 's Last Tape... doesnt it seem like Beckett's own tale...

    ...

    And am I dumb to tell a weather's wind
    How time has ticked a heaven around the stars

  14. #29
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    Didn't Godot come yet?

  15. #30
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    No. I thought I saw him. But it was a Boot.

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