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.
But that is not the question. What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come— (2.526)
Vladimir uses the act of waiting for Godot to assign meaning to what is otherwise an entirely meaningless series of actions and interactions.
All I know is that the hours are long, under these conditions, and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which – how shall I say – which may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit. You may say it is to prevent our reason from foundering. No doubt. But has it not long been straying in the night without end of the abyssal depths? That's what I sometimes wonder. You follow my reasoning? (2.535)
All right, Vladimir’s little speech here is tricky. What he’s saying is, when you’re doing absolutely nothing every day for your entire life, time moves pretty slowly. The only solution, then, is to fill up your time with a series of actions. At first these actions seem "reasonable" – you take off your boots, you put on a hat, you converse or argue. But as time goes on, these daily actions become habit, and that’s when it starts to get a little absurd. In other words, take off your boots once, that makes sense. Take them off and put them back on twenty times a day for a decade, and that no longer makes any sense.
(aphoristic for once) We are all born mad. Some remain so.
I wouldn't go so far as that.
No, I mean so far as to assert that I was weak in the head when I came into the world. But that is not the question.
We wait. We are bored. (He throws up his hand.) No, don't protest, we are bored to death, there's no denying it. (2.536-545)
Vladimir isn’t concerned with his condition when he came into the world, but only his present condition. His conclusion that the only problem is boredom is ironic, since while he speaks he ignores the call to action spurred by Pozzo’s cries for help.