Sunday, January 19, 2014

Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett

The plan was to read Waiting For Godot, then read about it, and see how much made sense. I'm currently 50 pages through (it's 60 pages long), and I'm now convinced that it will much more valuable to me to have more background info.

So now the plan is to write down some thoughts/observations, then read about it, then finish it and finish my thoughts below. Here we go:

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Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for Godot, see, but they don't know why, they don't know when he's coming, and they don't know why they're waiting. Nor do they seem to remember much about anything. It's all absurd dialogue, quick banter, etc.

Along come a couple of odd ducks, Pozzo treating Lucky like a slave/horse - they engage in some wackery, and then they go. They come back, leave, etc. Boy enters, announces Godot's delayed arrival. Ten pages left.

I'm clearly missing a bunch of allegorical stuff. It's about God, I get that. (This just reminded me of High Fidelity: The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Love in the Time of Cholera - they're about girls, right?)

Are Vladimir and Estragon stand-ins for Russia and Spain? Seems too obvious. Both historically Christian nation/states/societies, though.

Pozzo represents some culture - maybe the Romans, with the chariot and such (Lucky is pulling him). Not sure what Lucky is - subservient masses? And then Boy comes in to say Godot is coming - is he Christ? Fits with the Romans narrative. Maybe Lucky is the Jews? Okay, starting to fit a bit more, it seems. Of course, it could be nothing to do with any of that...

How is this going to end... last ten pages, here I come. But I'm not feeling at all compelled.

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I'll be honest, if I didn't know that this was about God, I wouldn't have known or guessed any of this.

(And then I go and read that it's not about God. Ah fuck.)

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Okay, good stuff from Vladimir, ostensibly about helping a fallen Pozzo:
Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed... at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us... Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!

But then:
Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come... We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. 

(Pozzo remains unhelped...)

Okay, this is getting quite good. Funny.

What's with the boots/feet thing? Life is suffering? And then the suicide attempts - Beckett via Camus, standing on the abyss, just not shaking his fist?

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So, that's it. As my friend Emily reminded me, the clich├ęd bit about this is that it's "a play in which nothing happens, twice."

I would love to see this performed. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are doing it on Broadway right now - I imagine it would be amazing, and friends have said as much.

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