Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett (1955)


Waiting for Godot (/ˈɡɒd/ GOD-oh) is a play by Samuel Beckett in which two characters, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), engage in a variety of discussions and encounters while awaiting the titular Godot, who never arrives. Waiting for Godot is Beckett’s translation of his own original French-language play, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only) ‘a tragicomedy in two acts’. The original French text was composed between 9 October 1948 and 29 January 1949. … Act I. The play opens with two men, Vladimir and Estragon, meeting by a leafless tree, whose species is later speculated to be that of willow. Estragon notifies Vladimir of his most recent troubles: he spent the previous night lying in a ditch and received a beating from a number of anonymous assailants. The duo discuss a variety of issues, none of any apparent severe consequence, and it is revealed that they are awaiting a man named Godot. … Act II. It is the following day. Vladimir and Estragon are again waiting near the tree, which has grown a number of leaves since it was last seen in Act 1; an indication that time has passed since the events contained within Act 1. Both men are still awaiting Godot. Lucky and Pozzo eventually reappear, but not as they were. Pozzo has become blind and Lucky has become mute. … Broadly speaking, existentialists hold that there are certain fundamental questions that all human beings must come to terms with if they are to take their subjective existences seriously and with intrinsic value. … Martin Esslin, in his The Theatre of the Absurd (1960), argued that Waiting for Godot was part of a broader literary movement that he called the Theatre of the Absurd, a form of theatre that stemmed from the absurdist philosophy of Albert Camus. Absurdism itself is a branch of the traditional assertions of existentialism, pioneered by Søren Kierkegaard, and posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental or philosophical limitation. Thus, humanity is doomed to be faced with the Absurd, or the absolute absurdity of the existence in lack of intrinsic purpose. …”
Wikipedia
The Kennedy Center: Samuel Beckett + Waiting for Godot (Video)
‘We Wait. We are Bored’: Waiting for Godot in a Time of Lockdown
Guardian: In Godot we trust
Open Culture: Hear Waiting for Godot, the Acclaimed 1956 Production Starring The Wizard of Oz’s Bert Lahr (Video)


Waiting for Godot, staging by Otomar Krejca, Avignon Festival, 1978

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