Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
VLADIMIR (stopping) Your turn. Estragon does the tree, staggers. ESTRAGON Do you think God sees me? VLADIMIR You must close your eyes. Estragon closes his eyes, staggers worse. ESTRAGON (stopping, brandishing his fists, at the top of his voice.) God have pity on me! VLADIMIR (vexed) And me? ESTRAGON On me! On me! Pity! On me! Enter Pozzo and Lucky. Pozzo is blind. Lucky burdened as before. (2.451-6)
Notice that Pozzo enters as an answer to Estragon’s plea for pity, making a mockery of Gogo’s idea of a "savior." The help sent to him is a blind tyrant and his slave, which actually isn’t so helpful. Also note that Estragon is pretending to be a tree when he asks Vladimir if God can see him; we describe the tree’s religious significance in Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory if you’re interested, but the quick explanation is that tree = cross (as in, the crucifixion kind).
ESTRAGON To try him with other names, one after the other. It'd pass the time. And we'd be bound to hit on the right one sooner or later. VLADIMIR I tell you his name is Pozzo. ESTRAGON We'll soon see. (He reflects.) Abel! Abel! POZZO Help! ESTRAGON Got it in one! VLADIMIR I begin to weary of this motif. ESTRAGON Perhaps the other is called Cain. Cain! Cain! POZZO Help! ESTRAGON He's all humanity. (2.619-626)
OK, this passage can be confusing. We had to read it a few times. Estragon thinks that if they call Pozzo by the correct name (presumably, it isn’t "Pozzo,") he will answer them. He guesses "Abel" and is delighted to see that he got it right on his first try. When he says "Perhaps the other is called Cain," he’s talking about Lucky. Unfortunately, Pozzo also responds to the name "Cain," prompting Estragon to remark that Pozzo is all of humanity – he would therefore answer to any name. Now for the religious stuff: in the Bible, Cain and Abel are the sons of Adam and Eve. One day, they both make sacrifices to God, but for some reason (and here’s where the play is getting at the random and illogical nature of religion) God accepts one sacrifice (Abel’s) and rejects the other (Cain’s). This leads to Cain sitting Abel down and having a conversation about his feelings. No, wait, it leads to Cain killing Abel in a fit of jealousy, which in turn leads to God punishing Cain. Just note that Cain and Abel are yet another pair, much like the two thieves crucified with Jesus. Coincidence? Probably not.
VLADIMIR (He looks again at Estragon.) At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on. (2.795)
As Vladimir looks at the sleeping Estragon, he remarks that someone else is watching him (Vladimir) sleep. The "someone else" is presumably God, which in this comparison puts Vladimir in a deity-like position over Estragon.