Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett


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A seminal work of twentieth-century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater.

The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existentialism of post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802130341
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/28/1994
Series: Samuel Beckett Series
Pages: 111
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.11(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906, in Ireland. Best known for the classic Waiting for Godot, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. He spent most of his life in Paris and died there in 1989.

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Waiting for Godot (Eng Rev) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
ShotgunAndy More than 1 year ago
As a matter of fact, I do dare to state such a claim. Samuel Beckett is such an amazing writer, and in WfG, he has created some of the most memorable characters and dialouge in any medium. A must read for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waiting for Godot is humorous and ironic. It's characters' senility gives the book a similar feel to that of old Charlie Chaplain movies. The characters repetitive conversations add to that feel but also allow the reader to, if he/she wants to, pull out several meanings from the book. The whole book parallels the human experience of waiting for our own Godot, whether it be God or Wealth or family, whatever gives our lives meaning. With each meaning the detail of the book presents different symbols, unique to whatever it is the reader is comparing it to.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A play that can be called true genius. Word play is delightful, and the characters are quirky and original. It does lose a bit in the reading as the action must be visualized rather than seen, but reading it makes it easier to catch all the double entendres and language tricks that sort of pass over you while watching the play staged. This is a play for the ages; the central theme does not date, and the metaphor is subtle enough to be enjoyed, but not so subtle that it is overlooked altogether. A must for any theatre aficianado.
Karlus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You may well have heard of Theatre of the Absurd and of this play which started it all fifty years ago. You are quite likely aware that the play involves two down-and-out men who occupy center stage throughout, who, during the entire play, cannot make up their mind whether or not to continue waiting for the arrival of an unknown third man, Godot. Until you have actually encountered the book and read it, or perhaps have seen the play, I would venture that you are entirely unprepared for the direct assault that this work will present upon your previous literary and theatrical sensibilities. It is a drama with almost no action, written with very sparse dialogue, set in a nearly barren landscape, presenting a very bleak view of an almost sub-human condition. Two episodes, which involve one forlorn man enslaved as a beast of burden by another, will add to your general dismay. Through these episodes, man's inhumanity to man comes to the fore in the limited action which the play presents. Described as an allegory for the human condition, this work will challenge you, the reader, to provide your own interpretation of its message and compare that to your own understanding and outlook on life. Here is an ultra-bleak existential view -- 'absurdist' is the word -- to kick-start your thought process. If you are so inclined.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's because I've heard about this play for so many years. Maybe it's because I was expecting another Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Maybe I just didn't get it. Either way, Godot just didn't resonate with me. The dialogue is quick and the characters are dull. It didn't have the same electric feel that some of my favorite plays do. That feeling that just draws you in and makes you want to participate in their conversation. I never really clicked with these two friends who spent their time waiting for a man who never came. I understand that people say the undercurrent of their conversations is ripe with philosophical questions and ideas, but they weren't for me. They didn't make me think, they made me want the men to go do something productive so they wouldn't consider suicide out of boredom. The writing was good, I will give it that, but it just wasn't for me.
SheWoreRedShoes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2006 marked Samuel Beckett¿s 100th anniversary. What a grand occasion to read, or re-read, some of the playwright¿s work, if not take in a performance or two. My suggestion would be to read Beckett¿s incomparable, Waiting for Godot¿a 1954 play that still garners interesting press when it goes to the stage. A February 2006 Guardian article by Michael Billington trumpets, ¿Beckett estate fails to stop women waiting for Godot,¿ and ¿court overturns attempt to exclude female actors.¿ Apparently an Italian production of Waiting for Godot was set to cast two female actors in the lead roles when the Beckett estate intervened to stop the production. After hearing the case, a judge decided for the gender-cross casting: the show would go on. Beckett purists might be disappointed in the ruling, but many others are not, for as Billington put it, ¿[the play] is part of the universal language of theatre and has been played everywhere from America¿s San Quentin jail to Sarajevo after the bombing. If a group of Italian women now want to play it, it seems absurd to stop them.¿ When I first read Waiting for Godot, I did not have the impression that I would need to see a production of the play in order to fully appreciate Beckett¿s work. The writing is clear, concise, and direct¿both the spoken parts and the stage directions. I should say that if you are one to skip over the reading of stage directions, then perhaps this play is not for you. For the stage directions and the dialogue are so tightly woven together that I cannot imagine absorbing the play without reading the stage directions, which go quite beyond exit left. Beckett was notorious for insisting on translating his own work, on directing his own productions, on minutely controlling every stage movement of the actors: this insistence on controlling his expression, on controlling what he wanted to communicate to readers and playgoers, is perhaps why Waiting for Godot is such a memorable reading experience. The reader can clearly see the plight of Gogo and Didi, two apparently homeless men, waiting endlessly for someone named Godot.
camarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite plays of all time. Two men, wait for Godot, who never shows. Instead, Godot sends a messenger to tell the two men he will come tomorrow. They pass the time with two quirky, wayward travelers who do not wait with them. Beckett is a hilarious writer. He is very good with dialogue and word play, such as when Pozzo asks "How do you find me?" and Gogo replies "Tray Bong, tray tray tray bong." meaning tres bon, or very good.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I do not like angst-ridden or depressing books. Several of my family members and myself have all dealt with depression, and some of us are still struggling. I do not need to read more about depressed people. Really, I just don't. So why did I put this book on my list? It wasn't like I didn't know what it was like. No, it was because I saw part of it, the first act, on TV and I was mesmerized. I couldn't get it out of my mind. But I never got around to reading it until this year.The plot is simple. Two men, Estragon and Vladimir, are waiting for a third man named Godot to arrive. That's it. While they wait, they try to pass the time. Godot never arrives.It sounds like a pointless play, doesn't it? But it adds up to so much more. I am not a theater critic, but I found so much to connect with in this play. This play, to me, is about the human struggle to find meaning in life, and about what happens if you NEVER find that meaning. What then?This is a line I loved, from Estragon to Vladimir."We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?"I am a person with a great faith in my purpose in life. And yet, I think because of that perhaps, I am also a person who knows what it means to question whether there really is any meaning at all in my own life. I think that a person of faith has greater doubts than a person without. A person of faith knows that God exists, but knows that He is not present for us. A person without faith knows that there is no God, and doesn't expect anything else. So for me, I have struggled over and over with trying to find my own purpose here in this life.The blurb on the front reads, "One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished." The two characters wait for something to happen. In the meantime, they fuss with their clothes, they have a little something to eat, they meet other people and try to interact, but above all, they do nothing, because there is nothing to be done. And yet, they keep coming, every day, to wait.Not everyone will appreciate this play. I tried to explain it to my daughter and she just didn't see the point in it at all. I'm not sure why it appeals to me. I think it is the fact that at the end of the play, Vladimir and Estragon are still waiting. I know that waiting.
mstrust on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hobos Vladimir and Estragon wait and wait, discuss suicide, religion and violence, meet the cruel Pozzo and his robotic slave Lucky, try on shoes and hats and eat vegetables.While reading this I wondered why this play, first performed in 1952, hadn't been the catalyst to the new wave of British theater rather than Osborne's Look Back In Anger, which came four years later. Waiting For Godot was certainly a radical play for it's time, with surrealists bits of disjointed conversation, references to random violence, slavery and Vladimir's urinary problems. Then, at the back I saw the answer. This play had it's first run in Paris, in French, where Irishman Beckett had lived much of his life.The characters are so well-defined that I could hear them speaking, and now I need to see it live. But done by professional actors, as I could see bad actors making a mess of this.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As thought provoking as this quintessential example of Theater of the Absurd is, every time I read it I find that it drags in the second act. It pulls me back in over the last few pages, however. It is possible that it would feel less as if it could just as effectively worked as a one-act if I saw it on stage, but then again it's also possible it would bother me more. Almost certainly, watching it would take longer than reading it, after all.
DarkWater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Existentialism served raw! After reading The Stranger by Camus, I did not think that existentialism could be more plainly defined in prose, but Godot has left me debating (and yes, also waiting). Beckett, it seems, is also magically able to actualize ennui as a comedy -- as he puts it, a tragicomedy. But moreover, the piece does well to capture a subtlety of the existential mood: man's inextinguishable, incorrigible hope.
391 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Waiting for Godot" is such a thorough exploration of human relationships. Didi and Gogo have such an intriguing partnership; part sibling, part parent/child, part lover, part friend, part everything else that can be imagined. Their relationship creates so many beautifully tragic moments as they question and refuse to question themselves, their identities, their space and their condition. It's more than existential drama - it's a window that looks back at you.
jediphil683 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know Beckett, and I like Beckett, but this is still my favorite. Funny and depressing, deep and shallow, angry and passive, Godot has it all, and does it all better than most things.
chadmarsh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A truly provocative play. Despite Beckett's claim not to possess any understanding of what Godot meant (which may, in fact, have been a deliberately ironic way of pointing toward the play's existential menaing) it begs interpretation.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I saw this play during my college years but had never read it. Now that I have, I think that reading it provides the better experience. Much of the dialogue is very quick on stage and having the time to reflect on it a bit made it more enjoyable. There are also notes in the stage directions that lend some annotation to what's going on.I used to date a theater major and heard many of the interpretations that Godot was God. However, it doesn't seem convincing to me and I'm glad that Beckett has refused to confirm or deny this. For me, the play is just an Existentialist work about the lack of a meaningful objective in life and the futility of talking about it. It's a difficult play to complete as, in my opinion, by the time you reach page 128, it's boring...but then, that's part of the point, at least as I interpret the play.
mrpascua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story revolves around two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, who have been told they must wait for Godot, though they aren't sure who he is or what he looks like. They miss many opportunities because they turn them down in anticipation that they might miss Godot. This play has the advantage of simple one line dialog that makes it a good choice for the middle school LMC, but also invites deeper interpretations which makes is suitable for the high school LMC as well. This is a very nice combination of attributes because the work can be used by classes with a wide range of abilities each understanding and interpreting the work at their own level.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I suppose I'll see this one of these days, and that might make a difference, but for me, there simply wasn't much here. I got bored, and waited throughout for more, but found nothing. I'm told (and believe) that that's the point, but I don't see much value in the reading or the lesson by the end.
holdyourspin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't think I really know what to say or think about this. Perhaps if I saw it performed I'd like it better, but as it stands, I wouldn't feel it a loss if I never read it again.
rampaginglibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
has to be seen to be appreciated--like most drama--but can still be understood by being read--to understand Godot is to understand Beckett--ha, ha, ha--and the waiting never ends
LynnLD More than 1 year ago
Mesmerizing! This play touched me this year, just as it did when I read it in college many years ago. It speaks to us today as we face the same concerns, misgivings and questions about our lives. Waiting for Godot is still a great conversation for any mature audience!
dubliner More than 1 year ago
Waiting for Godot is one of those plays that I keep coming back to and finding new layers in. Every few years, I like to reread it to try to understand it better. Perhaps it would be wiser to read an essay or some sort of scholarly text about it, i’m sure there are many, but that would be avoiding the pure joy that reading this play brings me. At first glance, it’s funny, and weird. Bear with me here, there’s a lot of word play, but at its surface you have two seemingly homeless guys waiting for someone - or some thing - that may or may not show up. And they meet a stranger that they may have met before, and there’s a weird interlude about suicide and the whole thing repeats in act two and then you get to the end and it may seem like nothing has happened. But everything has happened? It’s a play you can’t take at face value and even though the stage directions add a lot of detail to what’s going on, I feel like it would be much better seen rather than read. At any rate, you have to delve deep into this - is it about the human experience and existential despair, brought on by waiting for things to happen in life rather than going out and getting them yourself? Is it about waiting for the inevitable end and the futility of life? Or is it just weird and french and minimalist and existential in nature? I’m not really sure, but I want to say yes to all of those? It’s a damn delight, at any rate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my drama class we are reading this play, me and my four friemds at my table seem to be the only four-plus the teacher-that enjoy the play. Everyone else doesnt undersyand that the carrot talk is exactly what you and your bestfriemd talk about.. nothing. Its to pass the time. Now we are not finished with the book but im excited to see what happens next so imma buy it so i can re read it and get a better feel for it.
NooksterMI More than 1 year ago
To an atheist or to anyone who has any disdain for Christianity, Christians must look like two clowns who waste everyday waiting for God/Jesus to return. The play is brilliant and everyone who has ever waited patiently for someone to keep their promise and only to find disappointment should read this play.
appatel555 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago