Review: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

5 Sep

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Famously, Waiting for Godot is a play in which nothing happens. It opens with two characters on stage–Vladimir and Estragon–who are waiting by a tree. They converse about many things, calling each other by different names. Although their conversations are long and winding, we discover that the men are waiting for an enigmatic figure who goes by the name of Godot. While they are waiting for Godot to come, two figures approach–Lucky and Pozzo.

The author, Samuel Beckett, instills an enormous amount of symbolic complexity into the very foundation of Waiting for Godot. Valdimir and Estragon are comic tramps–straight from the likes of Chaplin or Buster Keaton. They talk like vaudeville comedians, and attempt to perform tricks. But, in an amazing literary feat, Beckett transforms this shtick and color into a discussion about the existential realities of the world.

Waiting for Godot has a wit, vigor and brilliance that confounded audiences at the time, and astonished everyone who has seen or read it ever since. The play is difficult (and makes no bones about its difficulty), but it also embraces the popular comic medium with which Beckett grew up. Hilariously funny, but also terribly sad, Waiting for Godot is the foremost abstract work in theatre and a work of pure genius.

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