Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts: En Attendant Godot Hardcover – 7 Sep 2006
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'Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it is terrible.' (Jean Anouilh's judgement of the first production at the Theatre Babylone in 1953)
Here, for the first time, the reader can watch it unfold simultaneously in two languages. (Irish Post 2006-08-19)
Academics and students have been waiting a couple of generations for something of this kind and are likely to snap up the edition like hot cakes ... For a great lover of language and the inheritor of Joyce's mantle, sound can be almost as important as meaning and it can be instructive, to switch across the page on occasion and red the other language ... In sum, this is an amazing play in which every word counts. (Philip Fisher The British Theatre Guide)
Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts by Samuel Beckett is a wonderfully surreal and thought provoking black comedy from the winner of the Nobel Prize and author of plays such as Murphy and Endgame.See all Product description
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Critics have famously called it ‘a play where nothing happens…twice’ and ‘nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!’ It is, of course, not awful, its open to interpretation, there is religious references both in the dialogue and through symbolism, Beckett examines time, the passing of time, the tree they are standing around has leaves, they fall asleep and when they wake up it does not, there are lots of things like this and it may very well be that it has no meaning as the best way to highlight meaningless is to create meaningless itself, but meaning like truth, is subjective and there is plenty of scope for someone to create meaning, there is also a lot of black humour which makes it well worth a read.
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.
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