It seems that in some ways we are all 'waiting for Godot', at least this is the theme that appears to come through Samuel Beckett's classic and acclaimed two act play. Part of the genius of this play is the fact that it was written as an apparent diversion from the prose Beckett had been writing at the time. To be able to sit down and write a play hailed as the greatest of the 20th Century while working on a longer volume is an act of legendary proportions.
The play itself is both minimalist and absurd in varying degrees. It follows two key men, Vladmir and Estragon, as they wait by a tree for a mutual acquaintance - a Mr. Godot. As they wait the men discuss various philosophical, ethical and moral quandaries; they bicker, fight and generally act as all close friends do. Into the scene step Pozzo and Lucky, a master and slave combination who interact with Vladmir and Estragon. It appears Pozzo is on his way to sell Lucky but nothing is made entirely clear in Beckett's play. In fact part of the masterful delivery of Beckett is that ambiguity that he cloaks the play in, making the audience unsure of what exact purpose the play is meant to convey. Indeed, what one can get out of the play will depend on the particular analysis one accepts along with the general sense you receive from the play. Nothing is entirely clear cut in Beckett's play's setting.
There is much made as to the fact that the title of Beckett's play reminds one of 'waiting for God'. This interpretation is one which has gained much traction in mass analysis, and yet Beckett himself indicated that "if by Godot I had meant God I would have said God, not Godot." It appears that, the idea of 'death of the author' criticism has superseded anything that Beckett himself might say about the play. I for one am inclined to believe Beckett, as he first wrote the play in French and as such from all accounts the word 'Godot' has more in common with a particular word for a boot. This interpretation naturally adds to the absurdist nature of the play. At the same time 'Waiting for a Boot' would be a remarkably fitting title as both characters in the play seem to need a figurative kick to move them from the gloomy depression they live their lives in.
This all said it seems difficult to entirely divorce Waiting for Godot
from Christianity entirely. Many religious references exist in the play and Beckett was from all understandings a man reasonably well versed in scripture. If this is not a play about waiting upon God it is certainly a play that questions the role of God in a modern world and what mankind's role is. The ultimate underlying assertion appears to be that man is meant to be an active participant in the reality of the world rather than someone who simply waits and hopes that things will improve.Vladmir: "Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably, but in all that what truth will there be?"Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
It appears Beckett really aims to convey a sense of individuality in his play. Studying it as a modernist work certainly seems to reveal that as a work of fiction the play seems preoccupied with how narcisistic and aware the characters truly are. In many ways it is an absurd, crazy and bland play. In others it is a play that mirrors modern life by showing readers and viewers two characters who are so preoccupied with themselves that they cannot even comprehend the idea of leaving to help others more in need. In many ways we too are those people, sitting under the same tree every day, contemplating with dark humour whether something like suicide might be fun, and always waiting relentlessly for Godot rather than going out and finding the fellow.