Waiting for Godot Recitation and Discussion

Brenna Winkle and Rachel O'Hanlon
English 150
Wednesday 13 November 2013, 5 p.m. section

We will be reciting a passage from the beginning/middle of Act 1 of Waiting for Godot. The passage starts with Vladimir and Estragon discussing the location where they were supposed to meet with Godot. While Estragon insists that they were at that location yesterday, Vladimir suggests that this is not the case. They continue to bicker in this manner for a while and never come to any sure conclusions.

We felt that this would be an appropriate passage as it demonstrates the theme of uncertainty and confusion that is laced throughout the play as none of the characters seem to be on the same page as the others.



  1. Existentialism: analysis of individual existence in an absurd, meaningless and unfathomable universe. Existence proceeds essence; individuals are responsible for their own actions.
    1. Estragon waking from his sleep and wanting to share his inner most thoughts with Vladimir
    2. Estragon and Vladimir's inactions applied to the general populace: may be symbolic of humanity's inaction and waiting for the salvation of a deity. May draw a parallel between God and Godot.
    3. Emphasizes the importance of the individual in forming their own destinies
  2. Absurdity
    1. Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd
      1. The theatre of the absurd strives to express its sense of the senselessness of the human condition and the inadequacy of the rational approach by the open abandonment of rational devices and discursive thought
      2. There is no meaning to the world beyond what meaning we give to it
  3. The concept of the other
    1. Another free human subject whom inhibits our world but whom we cannot know
    2. Estragon trying to share his dream
    3. Criticism of the Englishmen through the brothel story and the pronunciation of calm
    4. Juxtaposition to James Joyce and his intense desire to deeply familiarize the reader with his characters
  4. The concept of time
    1. Stuck in a repetitive cycle of waiting
    2. Vladimir dwells on time and the idea of waiting
    3. Time cannot be ignored
    4. Time is different for Vladimir and Estragon in juxtaposition with Pozzo and Lucky (physical transformation of the characters between acts 1 and 2)
  5. The importance of repetition
  6. A play about nothing/ hopelessness
    1. The end of act one establishes the hopelessness of Vladimir and Estragon

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why is it known as a tragicomedy?
    1. We find ourselves engaged in humor when we recognize tragedy, reversal of fortunes
    2. Life thought of in its potential for sorrow and disappointment
    3. A hybrid of tragedy (which ends in death) and comedy ( which ends with a bright outlook on life)
  2. What could Godot be a symbol for? Why do you think that he never shows up?
    1. The play could be read from a religious standpoint. Godot could be symbolic of God. Vladimir's persistence in waiting for Godot could be symbolic of him waiting for divine intervention within his life. The bleak and dismal setting of the play could be reflective of the simplistic and practical nature of religion.
  3. Although the play seems to be lacking in action, how is action actually an important factor within the play?
    1. The stage directions, which constitute a large portion of the text convey action, emotion, expression, etc. Although it is put in the play as a means to communicate with the talent it also can be seen as a necessary addition in order to add humility to the play.