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 Waiting for Godot Study Guide (Choose to Continue)

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Waiting for Godot: Metaphors

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Waiting

Throughout the play, Vladimir and Estragon attempt to cheer each other in their never ending wait for the mysterious Godot whom they have never seen and who never arrives.  Night after night, they meet, embrace, complain, argue, sleep in between visiting with Pozzo and Lucky, threatening to leave each other and contemplating suicide. However, they never take action of any sort because at all costs they must remain steadfast in their long, long wait for Godot. They can’t possibly consider the idea that their lives have no meaning and that their existence is absurd and so, like every human, they attempt to distract themselves from their desperate situation.  Every action that occurs in the play while they wait is meaningless. Indeed, Estragon and Vladimir’s primary objective over the last fifty years is to pass the time while they wait for Godot to arrive.  They never once consider the idea that Godot doesn’t exist.  Rather, they wait, and wait and wait, persisting in a life that is completely meaningless.

 

Waiting for Godot imposes a sort of order or a pattern in their life:  they wait, Godot fails to appear, and they come back tomorrow to wait yet again. Waiting simply gives them purpose and structure. Indeed, Beckett would have us believe that in an attempt to impose meaning on their world, humans employ outside forces to relieve anxiety and to distract us from this dilemma.

 

 

Boots

Throughout Waiting for Godot boots are utilized as a prop. Act I opens with Estragon sitting on a mound trying to take off his boots which are too tight. Panting, he pulls at his boot with both hands and has to give up when he reaches exhaustion and rests before trying again.  Finally he becomes so frustrated he tears at the boot until he succeeds in pulling it off . In a sort of slapstick manner, he looks inside, feels around, turns the boot upside down and shakes it, looks down to see if anything has fallen out on the ground and when he sees nothing, checks inside yet again and cries  “there's nothing to show” (2). Numerous other references are made to boots throughout.

 

Scholars point out that while the word Godot is similar to God, it also derives from the French word for boot, godillot.  They maintain that when the opening scene involving the boots is examined in this light by substituting Godot for the boot the text becomes more interesting and provocative.  For instance, despite Estragon and Vladimir’s continuous searching for Godot, they also have “nothing to show.”  However most scholars by now agree that searching for meaning in Beckett’s cryptic works is futile, and after a complete textual analysis of the referencs to boots, this seems to be the case.




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