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The symbolism is one of the most important tendencies of the 19th century. It tries to get the ideas while it also wants to reach a higher value-system and to express it. It is originated in France. The symbolism means the systematic use of symbols, religious symbols for first. One of the greatest drama from compound symbolism is the Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Irish author.
A whole symbol-system is running through the drama. Everything is not what it seems; everything has something deeper meaning. The title â€žWaiting for Godot" already contains the all act of the work of art.
The two main characters are just waiting for Godot, next to the highway, who will never come. The question is right: who is Godot? To start from the religious symbolism, we can say, Godot is God. There are several proofs for it; the first is that the drama was written in French for first and in this language the '-ot' suffix is a diminutive which would explain our theory. For second, in Irish the 'Godot' means God. For now it is evidence that the meaning of Godot can be something religious. Beckett had Irish origin. In this case, if the characters are waiting for God, the next questions can be: why do they wait for Godot and since when? We are going to deal whit these questions.
According to Vladimir, they scheduled a meeting with Sir Godot, who could give answers for their questions, for the meaning of the life and he could give them some foods, drinks and home, too.
On the other side, Godot can be the hope that never comes. It would also explain the attitudes of the characters who are probably homeless paupers.
The time and the place are undefinable, because of the doubtfulness which accompanies the whole story. The time spent there seems never-ending; for the audience it is like the time has just stopped. The characters don't do anything; they are just talking about meaningless things and the philosophy. The days are passing by that we realise by the changes of the environment. It has a big influence of the time theory of Proust or Bergson that said: "the time is relative. That we realise and feel differs from the concrete, definable time". Maybe it has the main role in this tragicomedy. The role of the time symbolically is the compound of the neverendingness, unpredictableness, inability and meaninglessness.
In the scene the only base is a tree. As small as important it is; it visualises the time by changing its crown. In the second act some leaves are sprouting which can symbolise the new hope for the reader that now everything will be solved, Godot will appear ,Vladimir and Estragon can leave their "basis"; obviously Godot never comes and everything goes on. From another viewpoint the tree can be identified with the All Knowledge's Tree from the Bible which is damaged by Adam and Eva so it lost its powers to help the paupers. This scene with the two men and the tree can be an ironic paradox of the Genesis. Two men are waiting for someone, maybe God, to inform them. There is another religious meaning of the tree; sometimes the cross on which Jesus died is identified with a tree. Vladimir and Estragon want to hang themselves, but it is also an absurd scene and the parody of the religious significances; Jesus died for us, but who do Gogo and Didi dies for? For nothing, I guess. However Gogo and Didi can be considered not as Jesus but as the two thieves crucified with Jesus. The one of them is saved but the other one is damned.
One of the characters is Vladimir; he is the "boss" of the two and the totally contrast of Estragon. Vladimir is philosophical and he lives in the world of the ideas. His nickname is 'Didi' which can refer to the French 'dire' (to say) verb. On the other side his name can refer to a prince of Kiev who introduced the Christianity in Russia. He has liberality and he is more go-ahead. He believes in Godot's coming, while Estragon, or as Vladimir calls him: Gogo, is more realistic and insular. He is a caveman. He didn't remember anything about the agreement with Godot, but he even doesn't care about him at all; he's just waiting there because of his friend, Vladimir. His name 'Gogo' can refer to the English verb 'Go' which could be replaced by the verb 'act'. It would be in relation with the story. In another way it can be understood as Gogo is a French adjective for person who can be deceived easily.
The differences between them made their relationship mutual. Their personalities are totally complementary. This phenomenon makes them inseparable. They can't even kill themselves without each other; they would feel lonely. They usually feel each other's company as a charge but alone they could not live. It is also proved by a metaphor by estragon in the first act: "My left lung is very weak [â€¦]. But my right lung is sound as a bell!" The weak left lung could be estragon and the other one is Vladimir,but both belong together and they help each other. All the same time they have common creatures, too: both are primitive. If we take stock of the instinctive behave and poetical past of estragon, or the judicious thinking and deep philosophy of Vladimir, we can say that their relation is like the poetry and the philosophy; the complement of each other.
The other couple is Pozzo and his slave, Lucky. They have "speaker"-names, too. Pozzo is an Italian adjective which means: insane, crazy, mad or irrational; in the noun form it means wild man or mad dog. Pozzo is the lord on whom land Didi and Gogo are waiting. In this case Pozzo can be understood as Godot (as Gogo has already believed), even if it is unbelievable. Lucky, the slave on the rope leash, is happy in spite of his destiny. His name is also ironic and paradoxical.
The role of Pozzo and Lucky is very important to the main characters; they keep the connection with the world by them.
The relationships of the two couples are different. While Gogo and Didi are friends, Pozzo and Lucky are in lord-slave relationship. Lucky depends on his lord. It changes in the second act, when Lucky bring Pozzo on a rope leash that represents the insecurity of the systems and laws. Pozzo can be considered as the body (without feelings and intelligence) and Lucky could be the symbol of intelligence. He always speaks more than his Lord. The rope between them can be the symbol of dependence. They need each other, but in another way than in the case of Gogo and Didi.
The objects also have meanings. Estragon always paddles with his boots, Vladimir with his hat. The differences appear again: The boots of Estragon are too tight while Vladimir's hat is too big. Hat is more elegant as its owner, Vladimir, too. The boots refer to poorer man. In the case of Lucky, he's carrying the luggage of Pozzo like he would lug the gravity of the life.
The mind also has main role in the tragicomedy. Estragon doesn't remember if they had any agreement about a meeting with Mr Godot; Pozzo and Lucky don't remember in the second act if they have met Gogo and Didi and the little boy neither.
The identities are lost, personality doesn't exist anymore. It is proved by Estragon calls Catullus himself sometimes and they (with Vladimir) can't notice or spell the name of Pozzo for first. The little boy calls Vladimir Mr. Albert that also shows the unimportance of identity.
These acts move the story to spiral so that the acts happen again in the same order in the second part. The main characters stand under the tree in the end of the drama just like in the end of the first act. The little boy says the same things in both acts that Godot postpone the scheduled meeting. The only changes are that Pozzo went blind and Lucky went deaf so that time just passed. Everything becomes doubtful, the time since they have been waiting for Godot; the place that they are in the same place than the previous or the personality. The lack of the information; for example when the little boy answered shortly: â€žYes Sir.It's not my fault, Sir. I was afraid, Sir. A good while, Sir. Yes Sir. Yes Sir. Yes Sir. No Sir. Yes Sir. â€ž
The paupers spend the time with stupid questions, philosophy and paddling their gadgets, but they don't get closer to anything and the time is just passing by. The question is emerging: What are we waiting for in this life? The answer is much more complicated and everyone has to find it alone.
Vladimir wants to kill himself more times without success that completely shows the helplessness. In this case the tree gets another role: the gallows.
To continue the list of symbols, the little boy is important also. He is the messenger between Godot and the main characters. He is also the symbol of naivety and the lack of information. Answering the question of Vladimir he describes Godot as God is described in the Holy Bible.
Duality characterizes the whole drama; the couples, the structure of questions and answers, the disagreements and agreements in the conversations.
This work of art revalues the world. The lack of the human relationships become typical, just like the hopelessness, insecurity and the philosophy Nietczhe which says "God is dead".
The main themes are the hope which is unbroken in Gogo and Didi, the dependency that they depend on each other to survive the life or Pozzo depends on Lucky and vica versa. Lucky is physically tied to Pozzo by the fear of being abandoned. The next thing is the meaninglessness and the monotomy that all the happenings start over and over again. However the characters don't even try to break out of this situation. They are just floating with the happenings.