Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
VLADIMIR Do you want a carrot? ESTRAGON Is that all there is? VLADIMIR I might have some turnips. ESTRAGON Give me a carrot. (Vladimir rummages in his pockets, takes out a turnip and gives it to Estragon who takes a bite out of it. Angrily.) It's a turnip! VLADIMIR Oh pardon! I could have sworn it was a carrot. (1.253-7)
If we look at Waiting for Godot through our Magic Allegory Lens, this exchange becomes commentary on the way that most people lead their lives, concerned with the petty differences between turnips and carrots and missing the bigger picture.
ESTRAGON Why doesn't he put down his bags? POZZO I too would be happy to meet him. The more people I meet the happier I become. From the meanest creature one departs wiser, richer, more conscious of one's blessings. Even you . . . (he looks at them ostentatiously in turn to make it clear they are both meant) . . . even you, who knows, will have added to my store. ESTRAGON Why doesn't he put down his bags? POZZO But that would surprise me. VLADIMIR You're being asked a question. POZZO (delighted) A question! […] VLADIMIR You can ask him now. He's on the alert. ESTRAGON Ask him what? (1.407-414)
The lack of memory in Waiting for Godot establishes a world of absurdity and purposelessness. If Estragon can’t recall his original question, the questions of the past have no meaning in the present. Likewise, questions are irrelevant by nature since answers will soon after be forgotten.
VLADIMIR You want to get rid of him? POZZO He wants to cod me, but he won't. VLADIMIR You want to get rid of him? POZZO He imagines that when I see how well he carries I'll be tempted to keep him on in that capacity. ESTRAGON You've had enough of him? POZZO In reality he carries like a pig. It's not his job. VLADIMIR You want to get rid of him? POZZO He imagines that when I see him indefatigable I'll regret my decision. […] VLADIMIR You want to get rid of him? POZZO Remark that I might just as well have been in his shoes and he in mine. If chance had not willed otherwise. To each one his due. VLADIMIR You waagerrim? POZZO I beg your pardon? VLADIMIR You want to get rid of him? POZZO I do. (1.437-450)
Vladimir asks his question five times without response. It’s not until he slurs his speech that he is able to communicate effectively with Pozzo – just another example of the backwards logic of Waiting for Godot.