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Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

Vladimir Timeline and Summary

  • Vladimir is glad to see Estragon again, and remarks that he (Estragon) would be dead if not for him (Vladimir).
  • Seeing Gogo’s suffering over the boots, Vladimir claims he’s in pain, too, indicating his groin area.
  • Vladimir buttons his fly after Estragon calls attention to it.
  • Vladimir takes off his hat and looks in it, tapping to see if anything will fall out.
  • Vladimir wonders if things would be different if he and Gogo repented.
  • He laughs, but then stops after feeling pain (again in the groin area).
  • Vladimir asks Estragon whether he’s read the Bible before and narrates the two thieves: one was saved, and one was condemned to hell. He wonders why, if only one of four gospels mentions this detail, it is so commonly believed as accurate.
  • Vladimir informs Gogo of the reason they cannot leave: they are waiting for Godot.
  • He then wonders (thanks to Estragon’s doubts) whether or not they are in the right place.
  • But he then has to wonder, again thanks to Estragon’s questioning, whether Godot came yesterday, whether he’s sure it was today he was to wait, and whether he can be guaranteed of Godot’s arriving at any point at all. He comments that nothing is certain when Estragon is around. (Whereas, when Gogo is absent, everything is just peachy? We doubt it.)
  • After Estragon goes to sleep, Vladimir gets lonely and wakes him up for company.
  • Apparently he’s not lonely enough, because he flips out and refuses to listen when Estragon tries to discuss his nightmare. He is so scared of the discussion, in fact, that he momentarily runs off the stage.
  • After Vladimir has reentered, Estragon suggests that they hang themselves. Vladimir counters that it would only give them an erection.
  • Estragon realizes a central problem with hanging themselves: Vladimir, being the heavier of the two, might break the bough instead of his neck.
  • After some debate, the men decide not to hang themselves (or do anything else, for that matter), since it’s safer to do nothing.
  • Estragon inquires further about Godot, and Vladimir explains that they asked him for a prayer, a "vague supplication." According to the men’s conversation, Godot said he had to consult pretty much everyone in his life and couldn’t make any promises. Gogo and Didi figure this is the normal procedure for things.
  • Vladimir thinks for a moment that he heard shouts and that perhaps it was Godot.
  • It is not Godot.
  • We are not surprised.
  • Estragon announces he’s hungry, and Vladimir offers him a carrot that turns out to be a turnip.
  • When Estragon says the carrot gets worse the more he eats, Vladimir responds that it’s just the opposite with him.
  • There is a shout, and Didi and Gogo run for the wings as Lucky and Pozzo enter.
  • Vladimir goes to help Lucky, but Estragon holds him back.
  • Both men timidly try to talk to Lucky, but Pozzo yells for them to leave him alone.
  • Vladimir declares that it’s a scandal the way Lucky is treated.
  • Pozzo asks what age Vladimir is, and Estragon guesses eleven.
  • When Pozzo guesses that Godot has Didi and Gogo’s future in his hands, and Vladimir asks him how he knows.
  • Vladimir says he’ll be back and exits; Estragon suggests that he just needs to relieve himself.
  • He returns and fiddles with his hat while Estragon messes with his boot.
  • Didi tells Pozzo that they are not beggars after Estragon acts pretty much like a beggar.
  • Pozzo declares that the men can see Lucky dance or think.
  • Estragon wants to see him dance, but Vladimir wants to know more about this thinking business. They decide to ask him to dance first and then think.
  • When it comes time for the thinking part, Vladimir gives Lucky the bowler hat that enables him to do so.
  • Vladimir then removes the bowler hat when Pozzo orders him to, causing Lucky to fall silent yet again.
  • Vladimir and Estragon help Pozzo pull Lucky up on his feet. They drop him and have to pull him up again.
  • Vladimir, Estragon, and Pozzo bid each other farewell but no one moves.
  • After their exit, Vladimir comments that Lucky and Pozzo have changed.
  • A boy enters and calls Vladimir "Mister Albert," a name which Didi answers to.
  • Vladimir asks the Boy some questions about whether or not he’s the Boy they’ve met before.
  • He asks the Boy to tell Mr. Godot that he saw them there.
  • Once the Boy has exited, Vladimir drags Estragon to shelter (relatively speaking) under the tree.
  • Didi estimates that they’ve been together for fifty or so years.
  • They recall when they were harvesting grapes and Estragon threw himself into the river. We find out that Vladimir saved him.
  • Vladimir draws Estragon nearer for body heat.
  • The two men decide they want to go, but neither moves.
  • Curtains fall on Act I.
  • At the start of Act II, Vladimir enters and looks at the tree. He walks to both extreme sides of the stage and then starts to sing cyclically about a dog who steals food and is killed for it.
  • Seeing Estragon, Vladimir calls for him to come close so they can hug. When he sees that Estragon is agitated, he asks him where he slept and whether he was beaten.
  • Finally, the men embrace. Vladimir announces that he slept just great during the night, and the men debate whether or not they are better off without each other.
  • At Vladimir’s command, the men go through a few rounds of declaring their happiness…even if it’s not true.
  • After declaring they must wait for Godot (AGAIN), Vladimir optimistically states that things are different from yesterday.
  • Didi and Gogo engage in their strange, macabre discussion of the dead voices that rustle like leaves.
  • The men tire of talking and move on to taking off and putting on their hats.
  • Vladimir directs their attention to the tree and the fact that now it has leaves, whereas yesterday it was bare.
  • Vladimir points to the boots as further evidence that they had been in this place before.
  • When Estragon declares they are not his boots, Vladimir reasons that someone must have come by and traded boots in the middle of the night.
  • Gogo wants to leave, but Didi reminds him that they need to wait for Godot.
  • Vladimir appeases Estragon with a radish, though he is unhappy that it’s not a carrot.
  • Vladimir helps Estragon with his boots.
  • Vladimir sings Estragon a lullaby of "byes" and puts his jacket on his friend’s shoulders, though it means he himself shivers in the cold.
  • When Estragon wakes up, Vladimir vehemently refuses to listen to his nightmares.
  • Estragon wants to leave, but Vladimir says they can’t go. Because they’re waiting for Godot.
  • Vladimir spies Lucky’s hat and engages in a slapstick comedy bit of the two of them repeatedly switching hats.
  • Vladimir asks how he looks in Lucky’s hat and is told that he looks no more hideous than usual. He decides to keep the hat.
  • Vladimir suggests that he and Estragon pretend to be Lucky and Pozzo, respectively, but he has to tell Estragon what to do since he doesn’t remember anything from yesterday.
  • Vladimir chases after Estragon when he goes offstage.
  • To fill the time, Gogo and Didi call each other names and then make up. There’s also some pretending to be trees action thrown in there.
  • Lucky and Pozzo arrive again; Vladimir is glad for the distraction and certain that now they can make it to nightfall.
  • While Pozzo calls for help from the ground, Vladimir rhapsodizes on how great it is that he now has an opportunity to act. This goes on for quite a bit.
  • When Pozzo crawls away, Estragon and Vladimir try to call him back by shouting different names like Abel and Cain.
  • All four men are on the ground, seemingly helpless, when Estragon and Vladimir realize they can just stand up.
  • Estragon says "Let’s go," but Vladimir reminds him that they can’t; they’re waiting for Godot.
  • Vladimir is confused by Pozzo’s new blindness and angers him with his questioning over when he lost his sight and when Lucky became mute.
  • Lucky and Pozzo leave, and Vladimir suspects that Pozzo was faking his blindness.
  • The Boy reenters, and Vladimir correctly guesses that Godot sent word saying he couldn’t make it.
  • Vladimir asks if Godot has a white beard (referenced earlier in Lucky’s speech) and is told that this is the case; this frightens Vladimir.
  • Vladimir makes the Boy promise to tell Godot that he saw them (meaning himself and Estragon).
  • Didi and Gogo again discuss bringing some rope with which to hang themselves; they decide to do this tomorrow – unless Godot shows up.
  • The men say they’re going to leave, but neither moves.

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