Waiting for Godot
by Samuel Beckett
Waiting for Godot Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
He's stopped crying. (To Estragon.) You have replaced him as it were. (Lyrically.) The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. (He laughs.) Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. (Pause.) Let us not speak well of it either. (Pause.) Let us not speak of it at all. (Pause. Judiciously.) It is true the population has increased. (1.461)
Pozzo tries to dismiss any concerns about the misery of the world with the claim that things have always been this way. Stagnancy has become his excuse for inaction, but as we’ve seen with Gogo and Didi, inaction leads to stagnancy. This likely has something to do with the play’s cyclical nature.
But – (hand raised in admonition) – but behind this veil of gentleness and peace, night is charging (vibrantly) and will burst upon us (snaps his fingers) pop! like that! (his inspiration leaves him) just when we least expect it. (Silence. Gloomily.) That's how it is on this bitch of an earth. (1.540)
Just like Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo moves easily from talking about the physical (in this case, the appearance of the twilight) to the metaphysical or abstract (here, his judgments on "this bitch of an earth"). The variation in these comments makes the subject matter of Waiting for Godot somewhat unique; a combination of the absurdly mundane and the inaccessibly cerebral.
At last! (Estragon gets up and goes towards Vladimir, a boot in each hand. He puts them down at edge of stage, straightens and contemplates the moon.) What are you doing?
Pale for weariness.
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the likes of us.
Your boots, what are you doing with your boots? (1.819-23)
While Vladimir can focus only on the boots, Estragon makes one of the play’s most reflective and poetic comments: that the moon is pale with weariness from watching this tiring routine play out below. Though he comes across as the simpleton, Estragon in a way recognizes more than Vladimir the incessant banality of their existence.