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Definition: Waiting for Godot from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Tragicomedy by Samuel Beckett (1955). Vladimir and Estragon wait on a country road for the arrival of Godot. Twice the domineering Pozzo and the oppressed Lucky appear, and a boy brings news that Godot will come tomorrow rather than today. Apart from these incidents, there is no plot, the play's interest being in the quirky resilience of the main characters in the face of an inexplicable and arbitrary universe.

Summary Article: Waiting for Godot
from Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

The best-known play of Samuel BECKETT, first performed in French as En Attendant Godot (1952). It has been described as the play where nothing happens — twice. Two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, wait on a country road for the coming of the mysterious Godot and pass the time with casual conversation and serious clowning, which owes much to French circuses and the films of Laurel and Hardy. They are visited by the loud Pozzo and his roped slave Lucky. In the second act the setting is the same but there are signs of deterioration: Pozzo is dumb and Lucky blind and the single leaf has fallen off the tree. The boy who told them of Godot's coming returns with the same message and, in spite of a voiced determination to move, the last stage direction indicates their philosophical stasis: ‘They do not move.


Copyright © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2009

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