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Free MonkeyNotes Summary-Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett-BookNotes
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

Vladimir is a somewhat philosophical tramp, spending a lot of time thinking about the state of his life in general. He is usually committed to waiting for Godot, and constantly reminds Estragon that they must wait rather than kill themselves or move on. He likes to talk about the past, and has vague recollections about Bible stories which he periodically shares; he enjoys good conversation and becomes frustrated with Estragon when he does not keep up with him. At times, he displays some pride, such as when he does not want Estragon to beg a bone from Pozzo. Estragon looks to him for intellectual guidance. Together, the two tramps become the central focus of the play; despite their absurd bantering and burlesque appearance, they seem at the mercy of the universe, and as such are almost sympathetic characters who just want a better life.


At the most superficial level, the two tramps can be called the protagonists in the play. However, they represent the whole of mankind. They correlate actions of the other characters to the general concerns of mankind. Even though it is not definite, there are implications that Vladimir knows more about Godot and is the one to remind Estragon of their destiny-that is, that they must wait for Godot.

Antagonist

Pozzo is a wealthy man, commanding attention. He treats his servant, Lucky, with contempt and heaps abuses on him. Pozzo represents the adverse, absurd circumstances of life. He also represents the master, the controlling being. He is thus a sort of antagonist in the play. At times, God or fate, or whatever master of the universe exists, might also be an antagonist, bearing down on the two tramps and making their lives unbearable.

Climax

There is no real climax in the play. Act I happens, followed by a parallel and nearly identical Act II. Life goes on for the two characters, and there is no indication that the third day will be any different than the first two. The absurdist point is that nothing really changes. The circular structure of the play lends itself well to this eternal stasis.

Outcome

The outcome of the play is yet to be determined. There is every indication that had Beckett chosen to write Act III, it would have been very similar to Acts I and II. This unusual structure is an integral part of Beckett's theme.

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MonkeyNotes-Free Study Guide for Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett
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