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Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

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    How does the relationship between Vladimir and Estragon compare with the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky? What is the effect created by the contrast between these two pairs of characters? Is it significant that the characters appear in pairs, rather than alone? Waiting for Godot, written by Samuel Beckett, is a tragicomedy about two men waiting for a person or thing named Godot. The play entitles two contrasting pairs of characters, Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky. These sets of characters differ greatly and they create effect of humanity.

    The main difference between the pair’s relationships would be their dependency on each other, their level of compatibility, and their development throughout the play. Furthermore, both pairs of characters have relationships that are different, but these differences are significant to the play. It is clearly established that Vladimir and Estragon have a significant diverse relationship as compared to that of Pozzo and Lucky. Correspondingly, Vladimir and Estragon, also known as Didi and Gogo, are introduced as being mutually dependent.

    For instance, Estragon is in need of assistance to remove his boots, and he relies on Vladimir to help him. It is also recognized that what qualities and strengths Estragon lacks, Vladimir compensates, and vice versa. This dependency is proved when Estragon repeatedly asks if they can leave, and Vladimir must remind him that they cannot as they are waiting for Godot. Similarly, during the play Vladimir always wakes Estragon from sleeping to keep him company. For Estragon’s lack of memory, Vladimir compensates, and for Vladimir’s loneliness Estragon compensates.

    Alternatively, Pozzo and Lucky have a very unbalanced relationship. Meaning that Pozzo is more dependent on Lucky then Lucky is dependent of Pozzo. It is clear that Pozzo is very dependent of Lucky, even though he says he is bringing Lucky to sell him at the fair. Pozzo is dependent of Lucky, because Lucky has been working for Pozzo for nearly sixty years. Lucky carries Pozzos bags and his stool, and he listens to every one of Pozzos ridiculous commands. Lucky however is not dependent on Pozzo because he seems to be capable of taking care of himself. For example, when Lucky is told to think, he gives a long lecture of thought.

    He is also asked to dance, however his dance was not as good as it once was Pozzo explains. This proves that Lucky was once able to do many things but Pozzo is restricting him. Furthermore, both couples have different levels of compatibility, Didi and Gogo are very compatible, whereas Pozzo and Lucky aren’t as likeminded. Didi and Gogo are very likeminded and they share the same thoughts, they even often repeat each other. They are very interchangeable as they share and switch lines of dialogue. For example, “What did we do yesterday? ” “What did we do yesterday? ” “Yes. pg. 9. They are also very compatible as they both stay together, although they contemplate leaving each other. They often wonder if they would be happier if they left each other, but they realize that they are better when together. Estragon says “We don’t manage too badly, eh Didi, between the two of us? ” pg. 77. Another example of how they are compatible and there for each other is when Lucky kicks Estragon in the shins, Vladimir is there immediately to hold up Estragon. This proves the strength in their relationship and demonstrates that they are very compatible.

    On the other hand, Lucky and Pozzo do not share a compatible relationship. Pozzo and Lucky share an ambivalent relationship, meaning sometimes their relationship is beneficial for one another and sometimes it is not. Pozzo benefits from Lucky as he is his slave and he helps him carry his things, he does not benefit from some of his actions however. When Pozzo tells Lucky to think, Lucky rambles on and this initiatives Pozzo’s anger, this causes Pozzo to jump on Lucky. Lucky benefits from Pozzo because Pozzo feeds him, but at the same time he does not benefit from Pozzo as he is limited by Pozzo’s commands.

    This demonstrates the lack of compatibility in their relationship. Lastly, both pairs of characters can be compared by their development through the play. Vladimir and Estragon do not develop at all throughout the discourse of the play, whereas Pozzo and Lucky change dramatically from the first act to the second. Vladimir and Estragon remain static characters throughout the play, and it is obvious that their life is very repetitive. From the first act to the second, Vladimir and Estragon are always waiting for Godot, their days are almost identical from one the other.

    In both acts they contemplate suicide, saying that the next day they would bring good rope to hang themselves. In both acts they meet Pozzo and Lucky, as well as the boy. Whom all three say they have not seen them the previous day, this indicates that they might have been doing this for many days that they have lost count. Estragon also repetitively asks to leave but is reminded that they cannot, this repetition of dialogue appears many time, which reinforces the idea that these actions occur many more times than stated in the play.

    Another allusion that proves that their lives are repetitive is when Vladimir talks to the boy. He asks “It wasn’t you that came yesterday…This is your first time? ” pg. 105, and the boy says that it is his first time. This repetitiveness proves that Vladimir and Estragon are static characters. On the contrary, Pozzo and Lucky are dynamic characters, as they change drastically from the first act to the second. In the first act Pozzo is driving Lucky by a rope, saying that he is selling him at the fair. He stops to talk to Vladimir and Estragon and entertains them by talking to them and having Lucky perform for them.

    Pozzo is very lively in the first act, and he shows many emotions, such as rage and happiness. In the second act however he changes dramatically, he is now blind. He says that he woke up one morning blind and that he no longer has notion of time. He then falls over Lucky and constantly calls for help; the only emotion he has in this act is despair. In the first act Lucky listens well to Pozzo, and he is able to move wearily. Lucky even performs trick such as dancing, and he gives a long lecture when told to think.

    In the second act, Lucky is apparently dumb, and he can no longer perform, or do anything, not even grunt. His mobility has drastically lowered as well, especially when he falls on the ground and remains there. This goes to show that Pozzo and Lucky have changed from the first act to the second and they are dynamic characters. The contrast created by both pairs of characters in the play creates a feeling of humanity. Both pairs depict life as an endless circle. Both pairs also contrast in the sense that Vladimir and Estragon are also waiting, while Pozzo and Lucky are always moving.

    This summarizes life in a way, it shows that you can either wait around for something to happen, or you can continue searching until you find it. Therefore the contrast between the two pairs is significant because it demonstrates two different outlooks on life. The other major contrast between both pairs is that Vladimir and Estragon demonstrate egalitarianism, while Pozzo and Lucky demonstrate slavery. This contrast demonstrates the certain relationships one can have with others in life. Meaning you can be very equal with some people, and with others you can be superior or inferior.

    It is also significant that the characters appear in pairs because it reminds each characters of their existence. For example, Gogo cannot remember what he did the previous day and Didi reminds him. As for Pozzo and Lucky, it is significant that they appear in a pair, because they also need each other in a sense; Pozzo needs a slave and Lucky needs a master. To conclude, both pairs of characters contrast in many ways. This contrast is significant because it demonstrates how life can be an endless circle. It is also significant that the characters appear in pairs because they are interdependent, and they complement each other.

    As for the pairs, they are different in a sense that they are each dependent on each other in different ways. They are also on different levels of compatibility, and they also develop differently throughout the play. “Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? To-morrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of to-day? ”- Vladimir. Pg. 104. Bibliography: Beckett, Samuel. “Waiting for Godot. ” Seven Plays of the Modern Theater. Harold Clurman, New York: Grove Press, Inc. , 1962. 1-83. Print.

    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. (2017, Jan 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/waiting-for-godot-by-samuel-beckett/

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