Waiting for Godot
How we cite our quotes:
You are severe. (To Vladimir.) What age are you, if it's not a rude question? (Silence.) Sixty? Seventy? (To Estragon.) What age would you say he was?
I am impertinent. (1.390-2)
Again, the notion of keeping track of time is portrayed as absurd, so we might just as easily call Vladimir "eleven" as "seventy." When Estragon characterizes him as "eleven" and Pozzo responds that he is "impertinent," he is simply exchanging one adjective for another. Think of it as you saying, "Hi, I’m Jen," and someone replying, "Hi, I’m hungry." Or, interpreted differently, you’ve got another neat structuring thing going on here, where Pozzo’s two lines, "You are severe" and "I am impertinent" surround the conversation about numbers; Pozzo asks Vladimir’s age and then entirely ignores the answer he gets in return.
He's stopped crying. (To Estragon.) You have replaced him as it were. (Lyrically.) The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. (He laughs.) Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. (Pause.) Let us not speak well of it either. (Pause.) Let us not speak of it at all. (Pause. Judiciously.) It is true the population has increased. (1.461)
Pozzo at first claims that time has essentially changed nothing at all as far as the world and its functions. But no sooner are the words out of his mouth that he sees a fallacy in his statement; population, after all, has increased, which means time does in fact effect change. Pozzo’s relationship with time and his attempts to understand it are important to his character; check out Pozzo’s character analysis for more.
That was nearly sixty years ago . . . (he consults his watch) . . . yes, nearly sixty. (1.467)
Pozzo is the one character to have a watch, and in fact it is quite a watch. He uses it to speak not of minutes or hours, but a span of years, an impressive feat in a world where the men must examine the sky at length to determine whether or not night has come.