Customer Reviews


55 Reviews
5 star:
 (33)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "nothing happens, twice".
"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,...
Published on 12 Jan 2005 by M. B. Alcat

versus
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 reading the play.
Published 5 months ago by Samantha Grayson


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

55 of 59 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. "Waiting for Godot" is neither too long nor too difficult, but it shows a lack of action and purpose in the characters that is likely to annoy many before they reach the final pages, leading them to abandon the book in a hurry. That is specially true if the reader is a student who thinks he is being barbarously tortured by a hateful teacher who told him to write a paper on "Waiting for Godot" :)
My advice, for what it is worth, is that you should persist in reading it. If it puts you to sleep, try reading it aloud with some friends, and discuss with them the implications of what happens with the characters. This play might not be thoroughly engaging, but it changed theatre and the possibilities opened before it forever. In a way, it provoked a blood-less revolution, and because of that it deserves at least a bit of our attention.
Belen Alcat
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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?
The two main characters are appeased by the pledges of a boy who promises Godot will come, but who subsequently never shows. As such, they accept their degradation in return for deferred gratification. Blake, in Songs, uses this analogy for the church, arguing that the church manage to dominate and emasculate the people through vacuous promises of greatness at later dates.
Vladimir and Estragon discourse about 'Godot' as it gives their ultimately futile lives meaning. Is Beckett implying that theism is merely 'naive indulgence' aimed at distracting us from the truth of our own futility? Yes, an extremely existentialist question but when one looks at the context of his writings it appears that much more poignant.
Enjoy !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Godot:Samuel Beckett,2006 full cast audio-Nothing happens,twice.But it is adsorbing while it is not happening, 6 Jun 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and bewildering, 13 Feb 2008
I read this play more than ten years ago for a course in contemporary drama. At first I was completely lost, considered the dialogue pointless, and found it incredibly boring. However, following a visit to The Gate Theatre in Dublin, my opinion of the play changed entirely - the dialogue's pointlessness made sense finally, the existentialism of the play became comprehensible, not to mention the subtle dark humour. I started to see the brilliance of the play - if we are bored, lost, bewildered, uncertain, unhappy, and at the same time, find humour in this, then the play has achieved its purpose (as I see it). In other words, it reflects the condition of human life as Beckett chose to describe it, and not only this, it succeeds in drawing us deeply into his description and invites us, as reluctant as we may be, to live it through our reading. A brilliant, if rather discomforting reflection on the pain, whispers of humour and ultimate meaninglessness of human life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless futility for the Irish, 12 Feb 2013
By 
David Wineberg "David Wineberg" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Waiting for Godot (Paperback)
The amazing thing about Waiting for Godot is that it has always engendered confusion, uncertainty and half-formed theories. It's puzzling to most viewers and reviewers. So much so, you have to wonder why anyone likes it, since they don't seem to be able to understand it. Yet far from an enigmatic muddle, Godot is crystal clear. It is an Irish vision of Purgatory/Limbo.

All the evidence points to it; no evidence contradicts it. It lets the whole story come together consistently and rationally. Two ragged fellows meet every morning and do nothing all day. Not that there is anything to do - the world is essentially flat, boundless, gray and barren, save for one derisory dead tree. There is no water, no food (save for a single old vegetable in the pocket of one of them - every day), no shelter, no objects of any kind. Not even a place to sit. Estragon is doomed to remember nothing except being beaten up the night before. Every night. Vladimir is cursed with an inkling of having been here and done this before, but can't quite nail it. Total frustration.

They consider suicide, but don't even have the means to do even that little. They are dead men already, so it is redundant. They cross paths with another pair, similarly cursed, and this happens every day with no one remembering the previous encounter. They are doomed to repeat this meaningless activity every day for eternity. And part of it is waiting for a man who they've never met and who never comes. He cancels on them every afternoon.

What fresh hell is this? to borrow from Ms. Parker. They are waiting for God(ot) to decide their eternal fates. And every day, God doesn't show. It's Limbo (since cancelled).

It is precisely the same Limbo envisioned by another great Irish author and playwright, Flann O'Brien, in his last novel - The Third Policeman. In it, the nameless "hero" awakens in a land much like the one he came from, but can't interact with. Instead, his wanderings continually take him to the police station, where the two constables tell him he'll have to wait for the third policeman, who never shows. The police talk endlessly about a bicycle parked there, and whether or not it has moved, is capable of moving, should move, has the will to move, didn't it just move? After 150 pages of this, our hero surmises this can't go on and must be a bad dream, because it's not as if he is dead, he says. And it hits you; yes, of course that's it - he is dead. This is Purgatory. Doomed to endlessly repeat the same boring, pointless rounds all day every day, visiting a deep well of lockers where he can withdraw anything he wants or needs, but he cannot take any of it back up the elevator if it adds even a fraction of an ounce to the personal weight he came down with.

Nonsense. Frustration. Boredom. Futility. Pointlessness. Endlessness. Hopelessness. Agony. There is no climax, no love, no betrayal - the minimum requirements of drama. There's just the same again. That is Beckett and O'Brien's vision of what awaits Irishmen. In other words, more of the same. Forever. That is as powerful as anything truly dramatic, and accounts for Godot's undiminished popularity.

Waiting for Godot is, in more ways than one, timeless.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becket's "Godot", 27 Sep 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

Surrealist, absurd and existential in essence, I was fortunate to encounter Becket and this play early in life; my school put on a musical, usually Gilbert and Sullivan, and a "serious" play every year, e.g. "Oedipus Rex", "Henry V". In my fifth year, having already played many parts and sung Gilbert and Sullivan main parts from my first year, we performed "Waiting for Godot". One reviewer makes the point that people rarely finish "Godot"; as a play, it is obviousy intended to be acted - performed and watched.

Although it is easy to to leave the theatre depressed with what appears to be their futile life of "nothing happening - twice", I never felt that. Their always being there, waiting, finding "small purposes" in their life, seems unequivocally optimistic; a hope that Godot would come suffuses everything, although they never admit it, but it is not the coming that gives their life meaning - it is the waiting, a waiting permeated by meaningful tasks of being. Simplistic and naive? Possibly but I will just wait for a better one and, in the meantime ...

"When Roger Blin, who played Pozzo at the premiere in Paris, asked Beckett who or what Godot stood for, Beckett replied that it suggested itself to him by the slang word for boot in French, godillot, godasse because feet play such a prominent role in the play. This is the explanation he has given most often." He told Ralph Richardson who played Pozzo and wanted to know more about the character to assist his performance that all he knew was in the text. He said many times that he regretted using the name "Godot" because so many have assumed to meant God; he also added that, if he had intended it to mean "god" he would have written "god". However, in spite of this direct, simple answer, in this and on the stage, I think we see an Irish playwright's sleight of hand.

There are uncountable anecdotes about the play, Beckett and its performances, e.g. "Estragon's putzing about with his boot is a central iteration of absurdity in the play. It's unclear what he's looking for inside the boot and obviously irrational that anything will materialize if he puts it back on. On the other hand, we are also introduced to the sort of backwards logic of "Waiting for Godot" in this scene. Vladimir has a point: if Estragon puts his boot on, there will be something inside it." Helpful?

It is to Beckett's credit that he refused to elucidate, rather like T.S. Eliot reading "Little Gidding" again having been asked what it meant. Since its first performance on 5th January 1953 in the Théātre de Babylone, Paris, "Waiting for Godot" has been an echelon by itself and the play has spawned an industry of interpretations, PhD theses and websites - some helpful, some ... - and long may it continue.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early(ish) Beckettt and Buddhism, 10 July 2011
By 
Anthony Davis - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
* NB may contain a spoiler - do not read if you do not want to know the course of this book before reading it! *:

One academic writer, supposed to be an authority on Beckettt's work (see my review of one of his books), finds - or claims to find - deep Buddhist thought, philosophy, and probably even practice in it.

I wonder if he has considered Waiting for Godot in the following way...

The play has five characters, six if you include the named, waited for and talked-about Godot, who, we are told, has sent the last of them to appear (the Boy) to Vladimir (also known as Didi) and Estragon (also known as Gogo - the full name is the French one for tarragon), who have been (one, then the other) on stage from the start, and almost without break throughout the two Acts (although the end of both is, crucially, different - please see below).

The remaining two characters, Pozzo and Lucky (the atter is also known as 'pig', 'hog', 'scum', and a number of other offensive names, by Pozzo) arrive together, halfway through each Act, but seem mightily changed between them: in fact, we actually have no direct way of knowing how time passes, in this timeless and largely featureless space that keeps the characters in it or draws them to it (or through it), such as these two.

Pozzo is grand, pretentious even, and certainly cruel. However, he may not actually have the power either in the place where we see him, or in the relationship beyond his transit of these lands with the other man, Lucky. (At one point, Pozzo asserts or implies (but he alleges many things that we cannot verify) that this is his part of his land). Even so, he openly abuses Lucky before us, whilst - in the phrase used by another Beckettt writer to describe a scene of reported dialogue in the earlier novel Watt - often employing a 'language of bizarre civility', as well as some of the accompanying manners / mannerisms. His cruelty draws out that, alluded to earlier in speech largely, of Vladimir and Estragon, too.

Beckettt calls Waiting for Godot a tragicomedy (in two acts), but it is often played for pure comedy, which jars with the obvious brutality and unpleasantness of what human beings (Didi (or Gogo) pronounces that 'People are bloody ignorant apes!') do to pass the time when bored, but have to be somewhere.

Are we, perhaps, reminded of the random torture that SS officers and the concentration camps gave rise to (this play was first performed in around 1953 in what had been Nazi-occupied Paris, and Beckettt, who had served in the French resistance - is this where the references (shared by the contemporary novel Molloly) to beatings during the night by an unspecified 'they' come from?), would have had some bitter experiences / memories of the recent war.

After Pozzo and Lucky leave the stage (for the first Act), there is an exchange between the Didi and Gogo that their appearance had passed the time. The retort is that it would have passed anyway, replied to by agreement, but that it would not have passed as quickly.

Another exchange is:

What keeps us here?
The dialogue.
Ah.

This is a play of quick wits, and comments and counter-comments batted back and forth, and one character (probably Estragon) is asked whether he cannot 'return the ball once in a while'.

As has been said, Pozzo and Lucky return, much changed, in Act II - Lucky, who was loquacious on demand, is, if not mute, then does not 'think' for us again on stage as he did before, and Pozzo - we are told, anyway - is blind (so now led by his Lucky, whom he could previously lead before, and jerk quite cruelly to the ground by his rope). Yet Vivien Mercier, another Beckettt 'crrritic' (from when Gogo and Didi decide to play the game of orally abusing each other) trying to be clever, described the play as nothing happening - twice.

When had Act I been? Whenever it was, the title-page to Act II tells us: 'Next Day. Same Time. Same Place.' And this is where the Buddhism trail comes in more clearly: only Vladimir remembers - and does not (really) doubt remembering - Pozzo and Lucky from Act I, but there is scant or no recognition or recollection on the part of the other three (four, when we include the Boy - please see below). He knows that they passed this way the day before, and is appalled at the change (the Buddhist doctrine of and teaching on the transience of all things?), but all the rest muddle through.

Of them all, if he could see this for what it is, he could break through the unreality of life, of striving, of searching after the wrong things, whereas they are locked in it, so busy, seemingly, living these frantic and tortured lives that they have both little self-awareness (a step on the Buddhist path to acquire it). Since they cannot capture the keys and clues to reality, they struggle, battle and scrape on, as if that struggle, battle and scraping, rather than rejecting it as meaningless, is the essence of life, of what life is.

As things stand, Vladimir is doomed to be trying to remind others of their own (past) lives. (This play can, it is argued, be seen as a presentation of a (potential) voyage towards enlightenment - whereas people seeing the play may think that it is for their entertainment (distracting them from life), which is a further distraction, this time from what the narrative thrust (yes, Professor Mercier - there is one!) of the play is trying to focus on.) For he does not twig (yet?) what it means. So this includes interacting with the Boy, who comes (alone, and to him alone) at the end to apologize that Godot will not come that day (after all).

The Boy, as has been seen with the others, has no knowledge that he came at the end of Act I in the same way. In consequence of that, and because Vladimir only knows how to respond by just being frustrated that even this young being is blighted and trapped by not even remembering his own life, he lashes out, orally and physically, against a weaker force, with the brutal streak that we have witnessed - with a shudder? (although Lucky seemed weak, subservient, and capable of being picked on, in Act I, he proved not to be wholly so) - most clearly when Pozzo and he are on the stage.

The play does not end, though, with the frightened Boy running off the stage at what the stage-directions call Vladimir's 'sudden violence' (a contrast both to the placidity of this scene, and to the previous encounter in Act I (although Estragon did then briefly participate, laying hands on the Boy, and accusing him of lying before Vladimir intervenes). It is Didi and Gogo, again, hoping and fearing for another day, for hanging themselves, if they bring some rope, and that maybe Godot will come then, after all, and (they do not specify how) 'We'll be saved'.

Yet the words with which he has, two pages back in the text, heralded trying to grab for the Boy (as Estragon had done in Act I), and sent him running off instead, should ring in our ears:

You're sure you saw me, you won't come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!

He wants, at this stage to be witnessed, to be credited with existing and having existed in relation to another, but needs to let go. His search is for something else. Lewis Carroll had another faith, but wrote (for Isa Bowman, a child friend like the more famous Alice):

Is all our life, then, but a dream
Seen faintly in the golden gleam
Athwart Time's dark resistless stream?

Bowed to the ground with bitter woe
Or laughing at some raree-show
We flutter idly, to and fro

Man's little day in haste we spend
And, from its merry noontide, send
To glance to meet the bitter end
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free Yourself - spend your time reading Waiting For Godot., 11 Mar 2000
By 
peanutpeanutuk@yahoo.com (UK, Lancaster - recovering.) - See all my reviews
It is stunning to think that no one thought of Waiting For Godot before Beckett. What is there to understand apart from ourselves? We spend all are time waiting, messing about or hoping something will happen. Waiting For Godot is what happens.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before you finish every laugh your blood freezes, 21 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I didn't know Beckett but I liked his most famous play. Surreal, dark and rather sad and defeating atmosphere I can't wait to see a production.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Godot: Samuel Beckett, - Nothing happens, twice. But it is adsorbing while it is not happening., 6 Jun 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Waiting for Godot (Paperback)
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.

As a play on the stage or even as an audio production I really loved it. But I have to say that, along with Shakespeare, I find it very difficult to read. I often find that with plays though; I love seeing them but have never been able to read them. So as a book to read I cannot recommend it, but as a play to watch I think it is genius. Still, on the strength of the genius I am still going to award it 5 stars, no need to penalise the book for my own shortcomings as a reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews