Waiting for Godot

who is godot? what does he stand for?

Your explanation of godot is practical. Sometimes I too feel that there is something missing in my life . But I didn't think that this absence is godot.

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Many believe that Godot is really God. I think that Beckett initially wants us to believe he is God simply because of the name, but it's more involved than that. Godot is 'who' we are waiting for, and in the course of the play that can take on many meanings. In Christianty, we wait for Jesus, the 'second coming of Christ,' therefore a Christian audience would view Godot in this way. The Jews on the other hand still await the coming of the Messiah.

". . . Any critic who accepts the religious analogy sees the boy messenger as equivalent to an angel ("angel" is in any case derived from the Greek word for "Messenger"), but Pozzo seems to be a stumbling-block for most of them. He need not be: although Pozzo denies that he is Godot, he tells Vladimir and Estragon that they are "on my land". Other hints suggest that he may be the very person they are waiting for, but, like the Jews confronted with Jesus, they are expecting someone so different that they fail to recognise him. On the other hand, one must admit that Pozzo’s treatment of Lucky in Act I resembles the behaviour of the God of the Old Testament ; it is in Act II that Pozzo himself begins to seem a victim, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." There are moments in the Old Testament when the Jews—or some of them—failed to recognise their God, so we could perhaps argue that Act I represents the Old Testament and Act II the New. But if Vladimir and Estragon represent Christianity rather than Judaism, there are several texts in the New Testament which warn that the Second Coming of Christ will resemble in its stealth that of "a thief in the night". . . ." (1)

We all occasionally feel that something is missing in our lives, and Godot possesses traits of God in both the Old and New Testaments. There are many who 'wait' for God to change their lives and do nothing to change them on their own. Beckett uses parables from the Bible.

"At the end of Act I, when the boy arrives to say that Mr Godot " won’t come this evening but surely tomorrow " and Vladimir proceeds to question him about his "credentials", the boy reveals that he minds the goats and his brother minds the sheep. Placing these two words together is enough to suggest one of Jesus’s best-known parables, frequently used in art and sermon, the parable of the sheep and the goats :

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . . . Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:31-46)

This parable is, of course, a narrative about salvation and damnation; the sheep are the saved, the goats the damned. It is significant that the messenger who attends Vladimir and Estragon is the goatherd. Previous ironies about the nature of the God parodied in this play are intensified by his perverse beating of the boy who tends the sheep, not the one who tends the goats (the damned are damned and the saved get beaten). Act II ends after the appearance of a similar messenger (apparently not the same one, but not necessarily his shepherd brother either). This boy, in response to questions, provides the information that Godot has a white beard, frightening Vladimir into pleas for mercy and expectations of punishment." (2)

There are so many possible interpretations of this story. The first link provided below has detailed information on the possibilities that may be considered. If your trying to support a specific thesis the more information I give you, the more I'll confuse you. The link below covers all the angles, from Jesus to the Devil........... my own opinion is that Godot is Jesus and the 'waiting' is for the second coming, a time when there won't be any tramps looking for a better world because they'll already be in it, that they won't need fulfillment because they'll already have it, and that there won't be any loneliness because God is always with us. The characters in the play don't understand that God lives within each of us every moment............. they wait, but they don't look.


(1) http://www.samuel-beckett.net/Penelope/Godot.html (2) Kristin Morrison Biblical Allusions in Waiting for Godot from June Schlueter and Enoch Brater Approaches to Teaching Beckett's Waiting for Godot