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Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett
 Table of Contents

Waiting for Godot Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

POZZO (who hasn't listened.) Ah yes! The night. (He raises his head.) But be a little more attentive, for pity's sake, otherwise we'll never get anywhere. (He looks at the sky.) Look! (All look at the sky except Lucky who is dozing off again. Pozzo jerks the rope.) Will you look at the sky, pig! (Lucky looks at the sky.) Good, that's enough. (They stop looking at the sky.) What is there so extraordinary about it? Qua sky. It is pale and luminous like any sky at this hour of the day. (Pause.) In these latitudes. (Pause.) When the weather is fine. (Lyrical.) An hour ago (he looks at his watch, prosaic) roughly (lyrical) after having poured forth even since (he hesitates, prosaic) say ten o'clock in the morning (lyrical) tirelessly torrents of red and white light it begins to lose its effulgence, to grow pale (gesture of the two hands lapsing by stages) pale, ever a little paler, a little paler until (dramatic pause, ample gesture of the two hands flung wide apart) pppfff! finished! it comes to rest. (1.540)

We come to see that the daily wait for Godot draws to a close only with the coming of night and the rising of the moon. Twilight, then, is the least certain and most ambiguous time of day for Vladimir and Estragon. It is fitting that Pozzo, the man who grapples with time repeatedly in the play, is the man to soliloquize on its nature. His vacillations between the poetry of the sky’s color and the exactitude of the time – made clear by Beckett’s alternating stage directions "lyrical" and "prosaic" – suggest that an attempt to categorize and label time is frivolous, maybe even at odds with the deeper understanding one gains from observations.

Quote #2

POZZO (Turning to Vladimir and Estragon.) Thank you, gentlemen, and let me . . . (he fumbles in his pockets) . . . let me wish you . . . (fumbles) . . . wish you . . . (fumbles) . . . what have I done with my watch? (Fumbles.) A genuine half-hunter, gentlemen, with deadbeat escapement! (Sobbing.) Twas my granpa gave it to me! (He searches on the ground, Vladimir and Estragon likewise. Pozzo turns over with his foot the remains of Lucky's hat.) Well now isn't that just— VLADIMIR Perhaps it's in your fob. POZZO Wait! (He doubles up in an attempt to apply his ear to his stomach, listens. Silence.) I hear nothing. (He beckons them to approach, Vladimir and Estragon go over to him, bend over his stomach.) Surely one should hear the tick-tick. VLADIMIR Silence! All listen, bent double. ESTRAGON I hear something. POZZO Where? VLADIMIR It's the heart. POZZO (disappointed) Damnation! VLADIMIR Silence! ESTRAGON Perhaps it has stopped. (1.655-64)

Pozzo has lost his watch. Vladimir’s comment that "It’s the heart" they hear ticking, not the missing watch, is a fascinating one, since this is as accurate a ticking of time (and far more poignant) than that of a hunk of metal. Also note that Estragon, not Vladimir, is the man to comment that perhaps "it" has stopped. The watch, sure, but also time, an apt comment since the men are stuck in a cyclical, timeless repetition of banality.

Quote #3

VLADIMIR That passed the time. ESTRAGON It would have passed in any case. VLADIMIR Yes, but not so rapidly. (1.699-701)

Passing the time until nightfall has become Vladimir’s sole objective; because of his obsession with time, people have become mere entertainments, and he is capable of seeing them only as objects, not as humans.

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