Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
ESTRAGON We've no rights any more? Laugh of Vladimir, stifled as before, less the smile. VLADIMIR You'd make me laugh if it wasn't prohibited. ESTRAGON We've lost our rights? VLADIMIR (distinctly) We got rid of them. (1.236-239)
That Vladimir says this last line "distinctly" is interesting; he at this moment appears to understand what has otherwise been beyond his grasp: that the men cannot leave because they consciously decide not to. If they have no rights, it is because they decided to get rid of them. All compulsory restrictions, then, are at the core a self-inflicted choice.
VLADIMIR Well? What do we do? ESTRAGON Don't let's do anything. It's safer. (1.194-5)
Thematically, this is one of the most important lines in the play. What we were saying is, Vladimir and Estragon chalk up their inability to choose to act by claiming that doing nothing at all is safer. If you never act, you can never act wrongly, and if you never choose, you can never choose incorrectly. The problem is, as a very wise and famous person once said, we choose by not choosing. Doing nothing is as unsafe as doing something. Which is bad news for these guys.
VLADIMIR A running sore! ESTRAGON It's the rope. VLADIMIR It's the rubbing. ESTRAGON It's inevitable. […] ESTRAGON Look at the slobber. VLADIMIR It's inevitable. […] VLADIMIR (looking closer) Looks like a goiter. ESTRAGON (ditto) It's not certain. VLADIMIR He's panting. ESTRAGON It's inevitable. (1.348-365)
The repetition of the line "it’s inevitable" is important here; both men resort to a notion of determinism to explain what is clearly just the result of Pozzo abusing Lucky. Check out the structural symmetry in your text; the line alternates from Estragon to Vladimir and back to Estragon again; it frames these thirteen lines of dialogue and splits them in half (there are six lines in the first half of the exchange and six in the second half). This is not unlike the symmetrical, macro structure of the play’s two acts.