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Book Review of Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts
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Helpful Score: 3

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"Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!". That phrase, said by one of the main characters of "Waiting for Godot", somehow sums up the whole plot of this short tragicomedy in two acts. Strange??. You can bet on that!!!. So much that a well-known Irish critic said of it "nothing happens, twice".

The play starts with two men, Vladimir and Estragon, sitting on a lonely road. They are both waiting for Godot. They don't know why they are waiting for him, but they think that his arrival will change things for the better. The problem is that he doesn't come, although a kid does so and says Godot will eventually arrive. Pozzo and his servant Lucky, two other characters that pass by while our protagonists are waiting for Godot, add another bizarre touch to an already surreal story, in which nothing seems to happen and discussions between the characters don't make much sense.

However, maybe that is exactly the point that Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) wanted to make. He was one of the most accomplished exponents of the "Theatre of the Absurd", that wanted to highlight the lack of purpose and meaning in an universe without God. Does Godot, the person that Vladimir and Estragon endlessly wait, symbolize God?. According to an irascible Beckett, when hard-pressed to answer that question, "If I knew who Godot was, I would have said so in the play." So, we don't know. The result is a highly unusual play that poses many questions, but doesn't answer them.

Ripe with symbolism, "Waiting for Godot" is a play more or less open to different interpretations. Why more or less open?. Well, because in order to have an interpretation of your own, you have to finish the play, and that is something that not all readers can do. "Waiting for Godot" is neither too long nor too difficult, but it shows a lack of action and purpose in the characters that is likely to annoy many before they reach the final pages, leading them to abandon the book in a hurry. That is specially true if the reader is a student who thinks he is being barbarously tortured by a hateful teacher who told him to write a paper on "Waiting for Godot" :)

My advice, for what it is worth, is that you should persist in reading it. If it puts you to sleep, try reading it aloud with some friends, and discuss with them the implications of what happens with the characters. This play might not be thoroughly engaging, but it changed theatre and the possibilities opened before it forever. In a way, it provoked a blood-less revolution, and because of that it deserves at least a bit of our attention.

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