Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
VLADIMIR Charming evening we're having. ESTRAGON Unforgettable. VLADIMIR And it's not over. ESTRAGON Apparently not. VLADIMIR It's only beginning. ESTRAGON It's awful. VLADIMIR Worse than the pantomime. ESTRAGON The circus. VLADIMIR The music-hall. ESTRAGON The circus. (1.486-495)
At first, Estragon’s habit of repeating the same line in an exchange seems absurd. But it makes an interesting point: neither of them was saying anything new anyway. Repeating "the circus" is no less useful than listing off another synonym for "cheap entertainment."
VLADIMIR (to Pozzo) Tell him to think. POZZO Give him his hat. VLADIMIR His hat? POZZO He can't think without his hat. (1.621-4)
Actions are restricted by absurd rules in Waiting for Godot. The bowler hat itself is already a comic symbol, thanks to Charlie Chaplin, so the dependence of something so vital – thinking – on such a trivial object is doubly ridiculous.
During Lucky's tirade the others react as follows. 1) Vladimir and Estragon all attention, Pozzo dejected and disgusted. 2) Vladimir and Estragon begin to protest, Pozzo's sufferings increase. 3) Vladimir and Estragon attentive again, Pozzo more and more agitated and groaning. 4) Vladimir and Estragon protest violently. Pozzo jumps up, pulls on the rope. General outcry. Lucky pulls on the rope, staggers, shouts his text. All three throw themselves on Lucky who struggles and shouts his text. (1.638)
Lucky’s speech might not make any sense, but neither do the reactions of these three men. Notice that Beckett’s stage directions don’t note any specific moments in the speech where the men are to switch from a stance of interest to that of protest; this means the change in action isn’t dependent on the words being uttered and is intentionally arbitrary.