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Free MonkeyNotes Summary-Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett-BookNotes
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ACT SUMMARIES WITH NOTES - Waiting for Godot

ACT II

Summary

Act II opens exactly as did Act I with one significant change: the once barren tree now bears a few leaves. The street is littered with books and a hat. Vladimir enters and scornfully examines his surroundings. He sings a snippet of a song about a dog that was beaten for stealing bread. As if on cue, Estragon enters with his head bowed, having been beaten again, as in the previous Act. Estragon is upset with Vladimir, claiming that all the while he was being beaten, Vladimir was singing. After a brief period, however, they reconcile by hugging one another. Once again, they settle in to wait for Godot.

Vladimir reveals that he has been singing because his urinary infection did not trouble him at all and he slept all night. He also is the first to notice the slight change in their environment, specifically in their tree. Estragon becomes confused, and even doubts the tree is the same one they dwelt under yesterday. Didi (Vladimir) reminds him of Pozzo and Lucky and the kick that he received. Vladimir notices that Estragon is not wearing his boots, and there is a pair on the ground. Estragon does not think they are his, however, and has to be convinced of that as well. Gogo (Estragon) finally recollects the bone that he had had the previous evening. In the memory vein now, Vladimir tries to remind Estragon of a past experience the two had picking grapes. An exasperated Estragon refuses to recollect.


Meanwhile, Gogo dozes off while Didi sings a lullaby. After a short nap, he wakes from a nightmare that he was falling. His friend immediately consoles him. They begin to play with the hats, exchanging them as children would play with dress-up clothes. Lucky's hat from the previous day is still there, and they rotate their hats with his hat. Later, they imitate the style and language of Pozzo and his slave. Estragon begins dancing, but suddenly gets scared that people surround them. They decide to hide behind the tree. Later, since no one comes to attack them, they feel relieved. Resuming their talk, they indulge in abuses and exercises. Tired of trying in vain to pass the time, Estragon cries out to God to help him.

Once again, Pozzo and Lucky join the tramps. This time, however, Pozzo is blind and Lucky is leading him. Lucky has a much shorter rope around his neck, but his load is the same as before. He stops short when he sees Vladimir and Estragon and as a result, Pozzo bumps into him. Both of them fall with the luggage. Vladimir and Estragon once again mistake Pozzo for Godot and rejoice at his arrival, but they quickly realize their mistake. In the meantime, Pozzo keeps calling for help, writhing and groaning on the ground. The tramps do not yet realize he is blind and are puzzled as to why he is unable to get up on his own. They decide to take revenge on Lucky for his misbehavior the previous day (in kicking Estragon). They also decide to help Pozzo up in exchange for some reward, asking him how much their help is worth to him. Pozzo offers once hundred francs, then doubles the amount. When they actually begin to assist the fallen Pozzo, somehow they all end up on the ground. As in a burlesque, the three fallen men try in vain to extricate themselves from one another and stand, but are unable. Frightened that he might die, Gogo and Didi call out to him, addressing him alternately as both Cain and Abel. When he stirs a little in response, they are relieved.

With great difficulty, a sagging Pozzo is made to stand. He tells them that though he once had "wonderful sight", he woke from a deep sleep to find it was gone. Pozzo demands to hear what has happened to Lucky, and is told that Lucky has fallen. He now instructs the tramps in helping Lucky. Gogo hurts himself once again while following Pozzo's instructions. Didi tries to remind Pozzo of their meeting the previous day, but Pozzo denies having met them. The master and the slave get ready to move on. Vladimir expresses his desire that Lucky should sing. A furious and agitated Pozzo screams that he should stop tormenting Lucky, who is mute and cannot sing. Pozzo's blindness and Lucky's inability to speak are both surprising and confusing to Estragon and Vladimir. Agitated, Pozzo and Lucky depart.

In the meantime, Estragon has fallen asleep and Vladimir wakes him. Vladimir is deeply distressed and discontent. He tells Estragon life has no meaning and he cannot bear to go on. In the next breath, however, he undermines his despair by forgetting all that has troubled him.

As in Act I, a boy enters with a message. Before he can reveal the details of his message, Vladimir spells it out, as it is no different from the previous evening's message. Godot cannot come today, but perhaps he will come tomorrow. Once again, they question the boy about Godot, and are told he does nothing and has a white beard. The boy denies that he is the same messenger as the one from Act I. An irritated Estragon springs at him, and the boy makes a hasty exit. Estragon wants to leave, but Vladimir convinces him to stay. They decide if Godot does not come tomorrow, they will hang themselves. If he does come, they decide they will be saved.

The act closes with Vladimir saying, "Shall we go?" and Estragon replying "Yes, let's go". Neither man moves and the curtain closes just as it did at the end of Act I.

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