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Free MonkeyNotes Summary-Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett-BookNotes
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The plot of Waiting for Godot has been called both parallel and circular. There are two acts, each made up of four identical sections. These sections can best be described as the following:

Estragon and Vladimir alone Pozzo and Lucky arrive and depart Messenger arrives and departs Estragon and Vladimir alone

Since this structural pattern is repeated in Act I and Act II without variation, Waiting for Godot is perfectly parallel. On the other hand, the fact that Act II ends exactly the same as Act I suggests that nothing will change, and the next Act (if there was to be one) would proceed in exactly the same fashion. In this regard, the structure is circular.


One of the complexities of Literature of the Absurd is that it is often difficult to define a theme, since the very absurdity of the work is focused (usually) on man's inability to make sense of things. Given that, however, there are some discernible threads of theme in Waiting for Godot. First, the human condition is a dismal and distressful state. The derelict man struggles to live or rather exist, in a hostile and uncaring world. A sense of stagnancy and bareness captivates man, and whenever he tries to assert himself, he is curbed. In Beckett's words, human life is the endurance and tolerance to "the boredom of living" "replaced by the suffering of being." These phrases speak volumes of a philosophy born out of the harsh human realities.

Vladimir and Estragon are blissfully and painfully oblivious to their own condition. They go about repeating their actions every day unmindful of the monotony and captivity. They also do not activate their mind to question or brood over their own actions and the motives underlying their actions. The "compressed vacuum" in their lives is constantly disregarded.

The idea that God or fate or some Supreme Being with control toys with the lives of men is startlingly clear. Every moment of every day, mankind waits for some sign from God that his suffering will end. And every day, God does not arrive.

The parallel between God and Godot is not simply verbal (in the spelling and pronunciation of names), but also in the references to long white beards, shepherds, and supremacy. Godot has saving power; Godot has all the answers to questions that have not been asked. Godot is selective in his punishments and rewards, as God was with Cain and Abel. In connection with this theme is the virtual impossibility of man's ever having an understanding of or relationship with God. It seems impossible.

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MonkeyNotes-Free Study Guide for Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett


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