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Waiting for Godot (Character Studies) [Paperback]

Paul Lawley

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Book Description

12 Jan 2008 0826493815 978-0826493811
This book provides an introductory study of Beckett's
most famous play, dealing not just with the four main
characters but with the pairings that they form, and
the implications of these pairings for the very idea of
character in the play. After locating Godot within the
context of Beckett's work, Lawley discusses some of
the play's puzzles and difficulties-including the
absent "fifth character", Godot himself.

Frequently Bought Together

Waiting for Godot (Character Studies) + Samuel Beckett: Faber Critical Guide: "Waiting for Godot", "Krapp's Last Tape", "Endgame" (Faber Critical Guides)
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"'Brilliantly conceived, and crafted with his usual verve and wit, Paul Lawley's introduction to Beckett's play is a critical tour de force, with pleasures in store for both novice and experienced Godot audiences.' Professor Angela Moorjani"

About the Author

Paul Lawley is Lecturer in English at the University of Plymouth, UK. He has published widely, in books and scholarly journals, on the drama and fiction of Samuel Beckett.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting is a hard for some of us! 19 April 2009
By W. Joyce White - Published on Amazon.com
I looked the play up in Wiki who wrote the play was "a metaphor for the

futility of man's existence when salvation is expected from an external

entity, and the self is denied introspection." I agree.

We find happiness from within. I enjoyed dipping into Lawley's study as

well as Wiki's interpretations. I got interested in this subject after

a comment to one of my poems. I was asked once if I was waiting lost

love or Godot? For those who haven read the play and enjoyed its many

possibilities: There are four main characters: Vladimir, Estragon, Posso and Lucky.

Much like the TV series, Seinfeld, the play was about nothing really,

just hanging out conversing about life, death and

later suicide. Like Seinfeld there were four main

characters in conflict with one another's philosophy of life. They

kept each other company. This is what many of us do on

paper, we're always trying to find our art from in between

the pages of our lives.

Because the play was so simple, many tried reading in

hidden metaphors. Some thought Godot was actually

God. Maybe, the four main characters were

at Heaven's gate awaiting God's approval for salvation

and entry into heaven. Simplicity makes

great writing. In the movie, "7 days and 7 nights,"

Harrison Ford, said something to like, "I want to

complicate the hell out of my life." I think as

writers and readers of writing, we all want to

complicate the hell out of true art. We strive for

hidden meanings behind all we do.

The following is my poem Salvation Bound

in homage to the play "Waiting for Godotz:


Estragon and Vladimir's spirit has ascended to the mountain

tops and are now looking back from which they came

Estragon removes his boot from his foot, half

expecting to find more than nothing there,

Vladimir tipped his hat half expecting to find more

Than nothing there,

Both are self-absorbed, hungry for salvation,

One angry and rude, One gentle and weak,

They didn't know why they needed Godot, just knew

they were supposed to meet him by a tree, there is one nearby,

of this they were sure, but nothing else,

Vladimir's cry is shrill and loud, an angry philosopher-type,

Estragon was meek, self-absorbed, and preoccupied with easing

his own hunger and pain?

Both were weary and anxious to meet Godot so they could

Move on. I don't know if this was move on "in death or life."

"Where was Godot? They cried. They eventually lost

track of time. "Was he to be here yesterday or today?"

A slave called Lucky soon arrived in tow by his master, Posso,

All four began doing a swap-hat dance, each believing

Their hats were magical and they wanted

to know how it felt to be someone else.

Lucky sang them all a song about an inhospitable earth, where

"A slave diminishes in a world that does not

nurture him." Maybe, he was named Lucky because

he had no expectations. I think all humans will diminish in a world

with no expectations or nurturing from others.

Lucky and Posso departed.

A small messenger boy appeared, once again, "Godot, my master,

will not be coming today, but surely tomorrow he will." Both were

invisibly tied to the arrival of Godot and could not leave. They

were honor-bound to wait.

Act II

Both Vladimir and Estragon seem to be living the same day

over and over, just like in the movies, Ground Hog or 51st Date,

And every night Vladimir sang a maternal lullaby to Estragon as he

adopted the fetal position of a child in sleep.

Posso and Lucky appeared once again, this time their roles

reversed, Lucky was leading Posso by a shorter rope. Posso

was now blind. The slave Lucky did not run away. He still had

no expectations and he stayed faithful as Posso reflects,

"They give birth astride of a Grave, the light

gleams an instant, then it's night, Once more."

And the messenger boy appears once again, Godot, my

master, will not be coming today, but surely tomorrow he

will." The two consider hanging themselves with Estragon's

belt. It broke in two and Estragon's pants fell down and he

didn't care They are stooges trapped somewhere in between

freedom and imprisonment, and a grave and a gleam of light.

Kudos to Lawley for taking on a classic. So many of us forget

it is the past that leads us into today. Sincerely, Joyce White
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