Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
ESTRAGON Let's go. VLADIMIR We can't. ESTRAGON Why not? VLADIMIR We're waiting for Godot. (1.91-94)
For Vladimir, the act of waiting for Godot prevents him from choosing any other course of action. Yet his decision to wait for Godot at all is a choice in itself; if he realized the radical personal freedom afforded to him by choice, he could decide to leave the stage.
ESTRAGON An Englishman having drunk a little more than usual proceeds to a brothel. The bawd asks him if he wants a fair one, a dark one or a red-haired one. Go on. (1.162)
OK, we have to explain this joke in order for us to make our argument. Our reference is a very reputable scholar. The rest of the joke (which is cut off by Vladimir’s refusal to tell it) is that the Englishman has to decide whether he wants a blonde, brunette, or red-head. He chooses and is led through one of three doors. He is then faced with two doors and asked another choice, this time in regard to the upper half of the female body and size. He chooses and is led through another door. He is then faced with two doors and asked to choose again, this time based on size and the lower half of the female anatomy. At the end, the Englishman walks through a door only to find himself alone and back on the street. The relevance in this theme is that the Englishman makes a series of choices which are essentially arbitrary and cannot ultimately determine the course of his action. Like much of Waiting for Godot.
ESTRAGON What exactly did we ask him [Godot] for? […] VLADIMIR Oh . . . Nothing very definite. ESTRAGON A kind of prayer. […] ESTRAGON And what did he reply? VLADIMIR That he'd see. ESTRAGON That he couldn't promise anything. VLADIMIR That he'd have to think it over. […] VLADIMIR Consult his family. ESTRAGON His friends. VLADIMIR His agents. (1.202-217)
Even Godot, or at least Vladimir’s conception of Godot, is incapable of making independent choices.