Waiting For Godot: Characters Analysis
In Waiting For Godot, Vladimir and Estragon are engaged in what seems to be a neverending, pointless, and repetitive task – waiting for Godot. Waiting for Godot is the whole reason they are there and yet he never turns up.
The play is about what people do when confronted with the Absurd: with the compulsion to find meaning where no meaning exists. And throughout the play, the characters try every method of confronting the Absurd that Albert Camus, a French philosopher, suggests in his work ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’. Waiting for Godot focuses on the psyche of the characters of the post World War II era. Absurdism explores the things of characters lacking in any purpose, via purposeless actions and events. We can see the fear of humanity, the fear of weakness and purposelessness in this play.
They talk about killing themselves (suicide), but they don’t. They talk about attempting some sexual pleasure, or becoming more physically comfortable with food or with their shoes (trying to ignore their fate by filling their life with pleasure of different sorts). Vladimir considers some religious ideas at various points but it doesn’t seem to satisfy him (denial). The fact that Godot can come the next day or the day after, is the only thing that keeps them going.
One of the other characters, Pozzo, has a slave called Lucky. Having that power over him seems to give his life a lot of meaning, or at least structure, but by Act II it doesn’t seem to have made him better off.
By the end of the play, Didi and Gogo seem doomed to wait for Godot forever. They don’t seem to be able to accept that, if he exists at all, he’s not coming.
Interestingly, there is one character in the play who I think maybe does accept the Absurd. They are charged with carrying a heavy burden, but when offered comfort and distraction willingly go back to that burden and pick it up again. It’s Lucky – the so-called slave. He represents somebody who knows that their life is a pointless, horrible chore but who gets on with it anyway. And when Lucky finally speaks to Vladimir, Estragon, and Pozzo, they, and the audience, are incapable of understanding a word he’s saying.
‘Waiting for Godot’ is just the staged version of the principle of ‘The Myth of Sisyphus.’ It’s a work of philosophy in dramatic form.