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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
Beckett's own script notes can best describe the setting of "Waiting for Godot": "A country road. A tree". There is an otherworldly alienation in this sparse setting. It could be anywhere, in any country of the world. No visible horizon exists; no markers of civilization are present. The setting is constant; the only change occurs between Act I and Act II, when the barren tree of Act I gives birth to five or six leaves in Act II.
The historical setting is unspecified. The time frame is most likely two days, one of which is probably a Saturday. The only visible reference to the passage of time occurs at the end of Act II when the sun sets and the moon rises. There are verbal references to the passing of time, such as when the characters make mention of yesterday and the previous evening.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
A tramp with a sore foot. He wears boots and a bowler hat. He is obsessed with his needs, his health and his hunger.
Estragon's companion. He is a philosopher, overly concerned with the state of his life. When Estragon appears consumed by physical suffering, Vladimir is preoccupied with metaphysical suffering - the cruelty of life, the injustices of the world. Like Estragon, he wears slightly oversized boots and a bowler hat.
An extravagant traveler and harsh slave master whose arrogance and pride annoys the two tramps. Later in the play, he suddenly becomes blind.
Pozzo's unfortunate servant. He is led around on a rope. In the second act, he becomes mute.
A Messenger Boy
He is sent by Godot to tell the tramps he will not arrive today. The messenger boy periodically reveals bits of information about the mysterious Godot.
An unseen person for whom Vladimir and Estragon are waiting. All that is known about Godot is that he has goatherds and shepherds and a long white beard. He does nothing all day, and has asked the tramps to meet him by the tree on Saturday. He never appears.