Waiting for Godot
by Samuel Beckett
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Carrots and turnips are in one sense just a gag reel for Vladimir and Estragon’s comic bits. But we were interested in their disagreement over the vegetable: "Funny," Estragon comments as he munches, "the more you eat, the worse it gets." Vladimir quickly disagrees, adding that, for him, it’s "just the opposite." On the one hand, this could be a completely meaningless conversation – the point is simply that Vladimir is in disagreement, playing at opposites, adding to the bickering duality between himself and Gogo.
On the other hand, the carrot could be about the meaning of life. Exclamation point! OK, so the carrot probably isn’t about the meaning of life. But it could be a hint as to the differences between the way Vladimir and Estragon live their lives. Vladimir’s subsequent comment, an addendum to his carrot claim, is that he "get[s] used to the muck as [he goes] along." He resigns himself to banality. Estragon, on the other hand, wearies as time passes – much like the weary moon he observes in Act II. When Pozzo later dishes about smoking, he claims that a second pipe is "never so sweet [as the first]. But it’s sweet just the same." This is a third and distinct answer to the carrot question.