Posted at 05.10.2018
Keywords: looking forward to godot analysis, samuel beckett play, godot identity analysis
It is tempting to see Samuel Beckett's 'Hanging around for Godot' as a play of nothingness, without value or so this means but that of two men waiting for something or someone to occur. However, the companionship that both protagonist heroes portray within the humour and bleakness of Beckett's two part tragi-comedy, obviously offers us something elevating amongst the emptiness of the bleak world that the individuals are staged within. As the play progresses and we commence to learn about both of these character's lives, it becomes clear that they share a companionship, caring deeply for one another and in lots of ways a need for each other to be able to make it through the hostile place in which they you live in.
From the start of play we notice the companionship of Vladimir and Estragon. As the play starts we see Estragon sitting alone upon a rock and roll, trying to remove his boot and repeatedly failing woefully to do so. As Vladimir enters and replies to Estragon's spoken thoughts, as though he previously been present all along, we see their companionship for the very first time. We are aware that the two character types have been segregated overnight, yet at this early on point within the play we are unaware concerning that they know one another and most significantly how long they may have known each other. Given that Vladimir is present Estragon's sneaker slips off with effortlessness, almost as if to say that he cannot take it off without the business of Vladimir. The easiness in which these are reunited offers us, as an audience, an insight, and we can notice the fact that people aren't witnessing two strangers on level, we have been witnessing two friends. This beginning is prolonged as Vladimir areas to Estragon 'I'm delighted to see you back again. I thought you were gone permanently. ' (Beckett, 2006:11) This direct line means that by Estragon giving it would create a sense of sadness for Vladimir, and the word 'happy' reinforces any concerns that the audience have at this point as to whether or not they reveal a companionship in a single another.
In the Royal Court Theater revival of 1964, Anthony webpage staged Godot with Beckett's occurrence. Page says that Beckett permanently implied that 'Godot is very much about human relationships between humans. ' (McMillan, 1990:85) Beckett continued expressing to Page that moments of the play should be considered a tender point in time 'of complete understanding between your two character types. ' (McMillan, 1990:85) With an instant this made the line work. It really is clear out of this that Beckett designed for the two individuals to share a marriage with each other so when one of the celebrities decides to set up a hierarchy for both characters, the power between them becomes unbalanced. 'When Bert Lahr in the American production insisted that he was 'top banana' and warned Tom Ewell as Vladimir 'Don't crowd me' the total amount of the play was disturbed. ' (McMillan, 1990:62) This implies that they need one another for the play to work; that the companionship they portray looks for to be a poignant theme and that altering this in anyhow will upset the dynamics of the duo.
David Smith for The Observer says of the play, '(Looking forward to Godot) unveils humanity's abilities for stoicism, companionship and keeping heading. ' (Smith, 2009) The couple seem to mirror the modern culture of modern day and it is important to remember their loneliness, their constant waiting for Godot and I find myself asking whether it has resulted in their strong attachment for just one another. Like any companionship they combat and then they make up, yet Vladimir and Estragon certainly show the best want for each other's companionship.
Vladimir: Your hands!
Estragon: Take it!
Vladimir: Come to my hands!
Estragon: Your forearms?
Vladimir: My breast!
[They accept. They separate. Silence. ] (Beckett, 2006:70)
This passage in Action II portrays the journey of their romantic relationship throughout the play. They question each other's activities and the boredom where they are isolated within may well be responsible for the bickering they preserve, yet no matter what happens they go back to each other, embracing one another. Another point which struck me about this passing is the humour where this is usually to be performed. Almost as if they are simply mocking their own friendship they embrace but yet at once they isolate again. It is important to realise that they don't always want to be each other's friend, and that making up with one another is only because one wouldn't survive with no other. Their playful dynamics portrays the humour that Beckett designed for their companionship to own, and makes an audience question the realism of the pair as friends.
It is however, these sensitive occasions within the play that we get started to question if the two characters hold only a companionship, yet this adds to Beckett's idea of not giving too much away. The fighting with each other and the making up, the embracing and the separating all hold connotations compared to that of a wedded couple. By the end of Act I we, as an audience, become aware of just how long Vladimir and Estragon have known each other 'Fifty years perhaps' (Beckett, 2006: 51) so that Act II commences Vladimir starts off to sing which could parallel the fact that he is aware that Estragon remains to be. Inside the 2001 Michael Lindsay-Hogg of 'Hanging around for Godot' for Beckett on film, this moment is played with sheer happiness. The appearance on Vladimir's face turns from that of dilemma to delight as he realises the pair of boots greeting him as he gets into the scene are in fact Estragon's. I believe Vladimir feels as if their companionship may perhaps give his life its best sense of so this means.
Within their romance, whether this is just friendship or one of something more, it is simple to determine a two gender romantic relationship within the one sex collaboration. The National Theatre in London's 1987 creation of Looking forward to Godot with Alec McCowen as Vladimir showed 'the tender romance between them installed easily into the structure of things, including the touch of nursemaid in Alec McCowen's soothing attitude to his spouse. ' (Value, 1990:79) This nursemaid strategy is further highlighted during Action I when Estragon violently says 'I'm famished'. (Beckett, 2006:21) Vladimir cheerfully responds, as if nourishing Estragon is his most interesting responsibility, making his life seem worthwhile. This example performs Estragon as the male, inserting Vladimir in the female role, positioning connotations that their relationship is portraying that of a committed few. Vladimir is copiously feeding his better half and Estragon is the irresponsible spouse, with Vladimir always coming to his aide. Their needs and needs match the other person perfectly and it could be because of this reasoning that Beckett referred to them himself as a 'pseudo couple'; they don't necessarily always want to be in each other's company, yet they recognise one another as a required person in order to survive.
In order to think about this further, the passage in Action II where they adopt, Vladimir refers to Estragon to accept his breasts. Again, this holds feminine connotations and is also another reason for thinking of the companions as a blended gender partnership of husband and wife. Smith reiterates this idea further, 'Estragon and Vladimir are like a married few who've been alongside one another too long, they get old daily. ' (Smith, 2009) As Smith declares it would appear that Vladimir and Estragon have been mutually for such a long time that they no more see themselves as individuals, they have become one person and therefore if one leaves, so does indeed the other. This boosts Beckett's choice of the repeated series 'I'm heading', yet neither of these moves, they may have physically harvested to rely using one another. Vladimir talks repeatedly of Estragon's dependence of him which not only mirrors the thought of Vladimir taking on the role of the nursemaid as Worthy of stated, but that although this seems warranted at times, at other times it appears as though it is not the friendship that they are seeking, but merely the need to be emotionally dependent on the presence of another.
When considering Beckett's one work theatrical sketch 'Tough for Theatre I', it is this which allows us for taking it and use it to understand the companionship of Vladimir and Estragon further. 'Abrasive for Theater I' perceives two characters restricted on the derelict street spot where everything is within ruins. Much like 'Holding out for Godot' they find themselves only, with only the other person for company. One portrays a blind man, whilst the other remains immobile, caught in just a wheelchair. Exactly like that of Vladimir and Estragon they end up bickering, yet find a standard floor through their disabilities. We are able to begin to check out this is order to help us understand Vladimir and Estragon's marriage concerning the simple fact that the characters known as 'A' and 'B' need the other to be able to make it through - you can see and you can walk. In 'Ready for Godot' the personalities of the individuals complement each other, one being absent-minded and forgetful with Estragon asking once in awhile throughout the play 'why are we here?' and Vladimir simply replies with 'We're looking forward to Godot'. This once more shows the interdependence within their romantic relationship and I find myself requesting: what would Estragon do without Vladimir? And vice versa.
When thinking about 'Waiting for Godot' in terms of rehearsal it is helpful to work with 'Tough for Theater I' to understand the frame of mind the character types are in. It really is clear that they do not necessarily want to be there, waiting, and 'Tough for Theatre I' we can take the idea of need alternatively than want and apply this when carrying out the roles of Vladimir and Estragon. Sir Ian McKellen state governments in his journal whilst working towards undertaking the creation 'In Godot, Didi, Roger's persona, is the service provider, the guardian, the main one who is striving to work out the program. ' (McKellen, 2001) When looking at rehearsing and executing the embracing passage within Take action II McKellen's words escort us on the functions we have to be taking, yet with great care concerning not disturb the balance of equality that Vladimir and Estragon uphold. '[They adopt. They individual. Silence. ] I believe the embrace is to be performed as an instant hold of each other, a reassurance that they are still there for each other yet simultaneously they separate, as if to imply that they don't have to be friends the entire time and that by simply knowing that each other are there for one another will do to keep them going; enough to keep them waiting for Godot.
In Lindsay-Hogg's film version the embrace is modified to become dance. In a mocking way they snatch the other person and boogie around in circles, humming a straightforward tune. I believe that this shows the friendship to their companionship; they are simply posting laughter not love, which is this laughter beyond the dullness of nothing at all to do that keeps them surviving.
Vladimir and Estragon are both character types that are required to are in a inimical world bearing no material values just the company of one another to complete the time, so it is no marvel that they deal with and bicker sometimes plus they often threaten that 'maybe they may be better off aside'. However, when the idea of suicide encounters them they can not just do it with it, they make phony claims yet as the day draws to an end they are still by one another's aspect. As Vladimir right answers Estragon's want to hold themselves with 'I stay in the dark', (Beckett, 2006:18) Vladimir strains his concerns to your options surrounding the outcome of the situation; what if he runs first? What if Estragon hangs himself and then the bough breaks as Vladimir is going to do this, then he's left by themselves and, in a few senses, at night. The isolation of being together for Vladimir would be a more fatal result than Estragon's, that of fatality. As Michael Billington state governments for The Guardian 'Beckett's play becomes a compassionate metaphor for the human being predicament: confronted by a senseless world, minimal we can hope for is the solace of companionship. ' (Billington, 2006) Vladimir and Estragon are not individuals looking for a friendly relationship, although at times throughout the play we see this blossoming and they have another debate and they desire to be anywhere however in each other's company. 'Holding out for Godot' is exploring human interactions and the play appears to mirror the friendships in population today; Beckett's play touches everyone. Yet being along within a static place for 'fifty years perhaps' (Beckett, 2006: 51) has allowed for the two characters to produce such a companionship, to be there for someone when they want you most. Vladimir's character shows this as he places his coating over the shoulder blades of the sleeping Estragon, and at the same time they may have created a companionship that has intended that these two characters are actually to be regarded as bits of one personality, they can fit together as one. If they reach the tips in life where they feel 'I can't continue like this' (Beckett, 2006: 87) the irony of Beckett's play is that they do. 'And there is something inexpressibly moving about the ultimate image of their shared immobility as they confront an never-ending series of futile tomorrows, ' (Billington, 2006) along, as companions.