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Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #10

ESTRAGON
All the dead voices.
VLADIMIR
They make a noise like wings.
ESTRAGON
Like leaves.
VLADIMIR
Like sand.
ESTRAGON
Like leaves.
[…]
VLADIMIR
What do they say?
ESTRAGON
They talk about their lives.
VLADIMIR
To have lived is not enough for them.
ESTRAGON
They have to talk about it.
VLADIMIR
To be dead is not enough for them.
ESTRAGON
It is not sufficient. (2.98-114)

Vladimir and Estragon project their own dissatisfaction with their lives onto the noises they perceive as "dead voices." To live is insufficient, and so is to die; this leads right into Estragon’s earlier conclusion that to do neither is therefore the safest option. Of course, as the play demonstrates, this too is dissatisfying.

Quote #11

ESTRAGON
We don't manage too badly, eh Didi, between the two of us?
VLADIMIR
Yes yes. Come on, we'll try the left first.
ESTRAGON
We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?
VLADIMIR
(impatiently) Yes yes, we're magicians. (2.292-4)

Again, Vladimir is concerned solely with the boot while Estragon focuses on the larger issue at hand. He understands what thus far has been made clear only to the audience: that, unsure of how to be human, Vladimir and Estragon are forced to play-act, to pretend, to imitate what they think to be the normal course of human activity. It is through these affectations that the men "give [themselves] the impression [they] exist."

Quote #12

VLADIMIR
Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. (2.526)

Vladimir decides that he and Gogo represent all mankind only once they are asked for help (in this case, by Pozzo). Didi is only able to assign meaning to his life when he is depended on, which is why he needs Estragon as much Estragon needs him.

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