Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
VLADIMIR (vexed) Then why do you always come crawling back? ESTRAGON I don't know. VLADIMIR No, but I do. It's because you don't know how to defend yourself. I wouldn't have let them beat you. ESTRAGON You couldn't have stopped them. VLADIMIR Why not? ESTRAGON There was ten of them. VLADIMIR No, I mean before they beat you. I would have stopped you from doing whatever it was you were doing. (2.24-30)
We are told repeatedly that Estragon is dependent on Vladimir, but is Vladimir similarly dependent on Estragon? It almost seems here as though he needs to be needed by his companion; that he grasps at a self-designed purpose through his helping Gogo.
VLADIMIR You're a hard man to get on with, Gogo. ESTRAGON It'd be better if we parted. VLADIMIR You always say that and you always come crawling back. ESTRAGON The best thing would be to kill me, like the other. VLADIMIR What other? (Pause.) What other? ESTRAGON Like billions of others. (2.85-90)
Whoa there. Like billions of others? We’re thinking this isn’t literal. First, let’s go back to that line in Act I when Pozzo says that it would be better to kill Lucky than to send him away. Estragon is definitely repeating what he’s heard, even as he denies remembering anything about Lucky and Pozzo from the day before (this denial is what prompts Vladimir to declare he’s a difficult man to get along with). It would seem then that Estragon is either mindlessly repeating things, intelligent-parrot-style, or he agrees with the claim that death is better than isolation. As to the comment about others, Estragon is simply equating his and Vladimir’s relationship with all the other "billions" of relationships in the world. The thought that death is better than loneliness, then, applies to everyone, not just these crazy guys on the stage.
ESTRAGON That wasn't such a bad little canter. VLADIMIR Yes, but now we'll have to find something else. ESTRAGON Let me see. He takes off his hat, concentrates. (2.182-84)
Estragon and Vladimir are playing at having a relationship; the best they can do is simulate what they think they are supposed to do: have an argument, converse, make-up, etc.