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Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts [Paperback]

Samuel Beckett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jan 2006

Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful.' This line from the play was adopted by Jean Anouilh to characterize the first production of Waiting for Godot at the Théâtre de Babylone in 1953. He went on to predict that the play would, in time, represent the most important premiere to be staged in Paris for forty years. Nobody acquainted with Beckett's masterly black comedy would now question this prescient recognition of a classic of twentieth-century literature.

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Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts + The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays: Lady Windermere's Fan; Salome; A Woman of No Importance; An Ideal Husband; The Importance of Being Earnest (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1 edition (5 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571229115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571229116
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Each attractive volume presents recent essays by noted critics who examine in detail aspects of a single literary work...Highly recommended for academic collections." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

New edition of the classic play with a new introduction and notes. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "nothing happens, twice". 12 Jan 2005
"Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!". That phrase, said by one of the main characters of "Waiting for Godot", somehow sums up the whole plot of this short tragicomedy in two acts. Strange??. You can bet on that!!!. So much that a well-known Irish critic said of it "nothing happens, twice".
The play starts with two men, Vladimir and Estragon, sitting on a lonely road. They are both waiting for Godot. They don't know why they are waiting for him, but they think that his arrival will change things for the better. The problem is that he doesn't come, although a kid does so and says Godot will eventually arrive. Pozzo and his servant Lucky, two other characters that pass by while our protagonists are waiting for Godot, add another bizarre touch to an already surreal story, in which nothing seems to happen and discussions between the characters don't make much sense.
However, maybe that is exactly the point that Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) wanted to make. He was one of the most accomplished exponents of the "Theatre of the Absurd", that wanted to highlight the lack of purpose and meaning in an universe without God. Does Godot, the person that Vladimir and Estragon endlessly wait, symbolize God?. According to an irascible Beckett, when hard-pressed to answer that question, "If I knew who Godot was, I would have said so in the play." So, we don't know. The result is a highly unusual play that poses many questions, but doesn't answer them.
Ripe with symbolism, "Waiting for Godot" is a play more or less open to different interpretations. Why more or less open?. Well, because in order to have an interpretation of your own, you have to finish the play, and that is something that not all readers can do.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't wait for Godot to read this play.... 21 Nov 2005
As a huge fan of Ibsen's 'A Doll's House', I thought no play could ever surpass it. 'Engame' was alright but rather dull and at times pointlessly depressing but 'Waiting for Godot', in a word; amazing!
I won't explain the plot, it serves no purpose as other reviewers have kindly done that. The central character of the play is Godot, which is ironic seeing as he is totally absent from the action (oh another point, there is no action). Yet, it is this absence, this sepulchre which haunts the minimalist discourse of the characters which is so appealing.
Beckett is a master of audience bewilderment. What exactly is the context of this play? Like Endgame, the context, or setting, is undoubtedly of a dystopian variety. I get a very chilling sense that there is also a warning to the hazards of war etc in the claustrophobic and sparsely populated setting of this play. Like Engame, there is a sense of the 'aftermath' of some fatal catastrophe (think 'Oryx and Crake without the Crakers).
We know that Beckett is hailed as a great figure within the 'absurdist theatre' - that is to say that many of his works explore the futility of existence and the fragile and desperate nature of humanity and as such many of the interpretations which we impose on the play will stem from this. Obviously, 'Godot' is a play on 'God'. The characters lives resolve around waiting for this character to appear. They don't know what he does, where he comes from, what he looks like or even who he is yet they wait. They squander their lives in waiting for this enigmatic figure they have no proof even exists. Sounds funny, but then one wonders, is Beckett satirising religion?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first approached this play with my pretension antennae throbbing - from what I had heard I was rather expecting the kind of arty rollocks that is entirely pointless and has me running for the hills. I was pleasantly surprised.

On the face of it, this work is absurd. Nothing happens. And nothing continues to happen. We are treated to the incoherent and disjointed ramblings of Estragon and Vladimir as they wait for Godot to arrive. Or are they waiting for Godot? They don't seem too sure. Other people intrude on their wait in the form of Pozzo and Lucky. More seemingly inane discourse occurs. And once more, nothing continues to happen. But lurking just under the absurdism are some pointed comments on the fate of man, the existence of God, the nature of religion and the class society. And sometimes it is just absurd for the sake of absurdity. The dialogue flows, it seems disjointed yet draws you in, and it makes you think, always probing for the hidden meaning.

This 2006 release is an audio reading of the play, starring Terrance Rigby and Sean Barret is a delight. Just with voices and minimal sound design the director and actors conjure up the stark landscape of the play in your head. As an audio production it almost feels like ghosts discoursing while waiting in some purgatorial afterlife.

Spread over two discs (one act per disc), this production also contains some interesting liner notes, with some notes about Beckett, the history of the play, and the actors appearing. Compared to the universally poor liner notes the BBC do with their audiobooks I have to say I am very impressed.

A great rendition of a great play. 5 stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 days ago by clarestclare
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
posted as advertised and on time
Published 2 months ago by alhaze
5.0 out of 5 stars Is that yourself? There's someone out there thinks *you* ...
Is that yourself?

There's someone out there thinks *you* haven't been born.

Overhyped but worth the time it takes. You get what you bring.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars What can i say
Drama not my favourite subject, but part of the course I am on. Only got to page 12 in the book as I found the story so bloody boring, the best part is we had a choice of two books... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Honeybun
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Ideal portable size for study, and a great read.Would definitely recommend this Beckett play, enough to make me want to see it live.
Published 5 months ago by Amy_94
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Brilliant book, I love the story and characters. Its in great condition and is everything I expected and more for such a cheap price.
Published 6 months ago by evaded_angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Best play I have ever read
How time flies when one has fun!

I am having a big, big intellectual crush on Samuel Beckett. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Hakim Briki
3.0 out of 5 stars OK depending what level you are studying at
These notes are OK if you are studying this play at GCSE or A level, but not for university. It does give you a good basic understanding but nothing you cannot get from simply... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Miss Samantha Grayson
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential
Quite simply the greatest play of the C20th. By turns harrowing and bleak yet also sublime in it's humour this is a work of genius. It will change your life.
Published 8 months ago by Warwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and funny
I remembered seeing this play in the 1960s and re-read it with interest and nostalgia. It's so clever and a joy to read. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ms A Coen
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