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The sense of timelessness and existentialism in a play

Updated on March 3, 2016

An uncountable amount of people spend their lives waiting for something, but they are not sure exactly what it is that they are waiting for; in this instance, Vladimir and Estragon may consider themselves lucky. They both know specifically what, or rather whom, they are waiting for : Godot. This faceless character affects their lives, which is reflected throughout the entirety of the play. Godot is essentially the reason they are still alive. Every day, Estragon would like to kill himself, utilizing the mere tools that they have at hand, but not only is there not enough rope, but there is also a small hope that maybe, just maybe, Godot will appear the next day and everything will be different. This cycle would likely be repeated for a abounding number of weeks interestingly enough. Godot is also the one who keeps two friends coming back to the same spot, the tree, instead of wandering around and looking for a better place to reside at. Because of the endless promise that this one person will actually come, they stay put in the exact spot that Godot claimed he will be at.

It is ironic that the importance of Time in this play is that Time has no importance. Other than the rhythms of a day, waking in a ditch, vaguely remembering having been beaten, foraging in their pockets for a bit of carrot or turnip for “breakfast,” and beginning their endless “waiting,” until it is dark once again, Vladimir and Estragon have no recollection or remembrance of “time” because few events punctuate their day. Everything that the two friends have learned no longer provides them with answers of any sort. Anything dealing with the meaning of being alive, of actual life (from religion to philosophy to daily endeavors) has ceased to give them a sense of logical meaning and purpose in life. This being the case, memory has failed them. So, they are left with waiting for something (or someone) to come and make sense of all of their thoughts. And they would continue to wait, over and over, time becoming redundant and cyclical.

Whether or not Godot actually exists does not make much of a difference: the belief that Godot will actually show up is what him keeps Vladimir and Estragon from killing themselves, yet living in a ditch. Some may interpret Godot to be a representation of God. In this case, it is important that Godot never appears in order to convey Vladimir and Estragon's blind faith in him. The two friends continue to wait for him, even though they don't know where he is or what he wants of them. The boys who come in and out of the play are the "messengers" for Godot, but never bring any real news from him. At the end of the play, the audience would see that Vladimir and Estragon vow to leave and quit waiting; however, neither man makes a move to go anywhere.

Estragon and Vladimir are homeless and weary, and perhaps they might be right in thinking that they'd be better off being dead. Godot may be looked at as death himself, and that's what the two friends are waiting for eventually. Even so, death is considered to be a change in the repeating cycle of Estragon and Vladimir's lives and that's what the two friends want. Godot, no matter what or who he is, is the one who can give them this change that they so desperately want.


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