Home Literature Waiting for Godot Summary & Analysis as an Absurd Play

Waiting for Godot Summary & Analysis as an Absurd Play

by Litinbox

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is a popular absurd drama, a tragi-comedy in two acts. It was first performed in 1953. The play occupies a special place in the 20th century theater. It is worth mentioning that Waiting for Godot is one of the earliest in the theater of the absurd.

Waiting for Godot was originally written in French (“En attendant Godot”). Then Beckett translated into English with a subtitle “a tragi-comedy in two acts”. The protagonists of the play are Vladimir and Estragon. They continuously wait for a man named Godot (the titular character) throughout the play.

The identity of Godot is still under debate among scholars. Some consider that he represents God while others reject the idea, considering him as yet another absurd character.

Waiting For Godot As An Absurd Play

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is an influential work in the Theatre of Absurd. Vladimir and Estragon, the protagonists of the play, constantly waiting for the arrival of Godot, a mysterious character. Okay, let’s see out how Waiting for Godot is an absurd play.

Lacks Traditional Plot

  • Primarily, the play doesn’t follow any traditional narrative or plot.
  • Instead, the scenes and dialogues are frequently repetitive and the conversations and activities are meaningless.
  • waiting-for-godot-by-samuel-beckett

Godot never Appears

  • Though the titular character ‘Godot’ supports taking the plot forward, he has no major roleplay in the plot, and he never appears on stage.
  • Vladimir and Estragon are waiting until the end in absurdity for Godot, but they never meet him.

No Clear Purpose

  • Although Vladimir and Estragon are trapped in a cycle of waiting, the purpose of their waiting for Godot remains unclear, (not only to the audience, even to the characters themselves) or what they expect to happen when Godot arrives.
  • Moreover, the absurdity of waiting lies in the fact that the existence of these characters seems devoid of purpose and meaning.

Meaningless Encounters & Arguments

  • Vladimir and Estragon often encounter Pozzo and Lucky, but it makes no meaning or purpose.
  • The protagonists engage in philosophical discussions, and their encounter with Pozzo and Lucky never provides answer to their questions.
  • Their conversations are filled with wordplay, the dialogues are often nonsensical and fragmented, their arguments don’t logically follow from the previous ones, and most essentially the arguments are logically invalid.

These points are more than enough to prove that the play is absurd in nature. Scholars interpret the act of waiting as a metaphor for the meaninglessness of human existence. Their conversations and arguments reflect the absurdity of human communication.

Waiting For Godot Summary

Waiting for Godot follows two characters, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), as they wait for someone named Godot. The play is divided into two acts, each consisting of several scenes. Here’s a detailed summary of Waiting for Godot:

Act 1

Waiting for Godot begins with the introduction of two people, Vladimir and Estragon, the protagonists of the play. We see them waiting under a tree for the arrival of a man named Godot, an unidentified character who never appears in the plot.

As they wait for him, they engage in idle discussions about various fruitless topics and playfully tease each other. Their discussion include the questions on the meaning of life and why they exist on this earth.

Pozzo and Lucky, the other two main characters of the play, interrupt their conversation. Pozzo is a wealthy landlord and lucky is his slave. The audience can notice a stark contrast between these two pairs: Vladimir and Estragon, and Pozzo and Lucky.

After a short conversation between these two pairs, the next scene reveals the protagonists continue their waiting for Godot and their absurd discussion. They also engage in fun and foolish activities like contemplating suicide and engaging in funny wordplay.

In the next scene, they are again interrupted by Pozzo and Lucky. To the audience’s surprise, there is a notable change in the attitude of Pozzo. The authoritative Pozzo has become blind, while the submissive Lucky is now mute. In spite of all, Pozzo’s dominant demeanor hasn’t changed yet.

Now, these two pairs not able to identify each other and they don’t even remember the previous meeting. After a short conversation, they vaguely remember their previous encounter.

Pozzo and Lucky exit and Vladimir and Estragon continue their conversation and wait for Godot. Their discussion is once again on the purpose of life. They decide to leave as Godot doesn’t arrive for long.

When they are about to leave the place, a boy arrives bringing a message from Godot that he will come tomorrow. So, Vladimir and Estragon decide not to leave until they meet Godot.

There is yet another scene where Pozzo and Lucky return to the place. Pozzo is now completely blind and Lucky guides him. Vladimir and Estragon don’t recognise them at first, then they are vaguely able to recollect their previous encounter. Pozzo and Lucky don’t recognise them either.

Once again they have a conversation, and leave thereafter. Vladimir and Estragon once again left alone, continue their usual conversation about the purpose of their existence and so on.

Act 2

Act 2 opens with Vladimir and Estragon still waiting for Godot in the same place. They engage in tedious and repetitive conversations and activities that we saw in the first act. They again consider leaving the place but don’t move. Some unknown fear stops them move out of the place.

Pozzo and Lucky once again cross the place. But, this time Pozzo is even more week and depend more on Lucky. After they leave, once again Vladimir and Estragon engage in the famous conversations which are repetitive and senseless. They again consider leaving the place but their hope for Godot’s arrival stops them.

The boy comes back once again with a message from Godot that he will come tomorrow for sure. This makes them continue waiting for Godot. They are desperate and uncertain about the arrival of Godot, yet they decide to wait once again.

VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go?

ESTRAGON: Yes, let’s go.

But, they remain in the place, partly because they don’t want to break free from their cycle of waiting. The play ends, leaving the audience with unanswered questions and conveying the message of the absurdity of human life.

Waiting For Godot Characters

Vladimir (Didi)

Vladimir, also referred to as Didi, is one of the two protagonists in Waiting for Godot. He is an intellectual and sensitive person who often discuss the meaning of life and reason for human existence.

Moreover, Vladimir is also a compassionate and caring person. This is evident when we see him constantly looking out for Estragon, another central character and Vladimir’s close companion.

Above all, Vladimir is a responsible person always encouraging Estragon to keep moving forward reminding their important appointment with Godot. He is often indecisive, not able to decide whether to move or stay in the same place waiting for Godot.

Estragon (Gogo)

Estragon, also known as Gogo, is one of the central characters in Waiting for Godot. He embodies existentialism and is frequently prone to forgetfulness that leads to disorientation and confusion about his purpose in life.

Like Vladimir, Estragon also longs for his companionship and he relies on him in many situations. The proper term that suits to explain their relationship is symbiosis.


Pozzo, another important character in Waiting for Godot, represents authority and pomposity. Whenever he appears on the stage, he dominates other characters, and he does it exceptionally well with Lucky, his slave.

Pozzo displays a complete contrast to Vladimir and Estragon in a play characterised by absurdity. When the audience is introduced to Pozzo, he carries a whip in hand  which symbolises his authority. He treats Lucky more than a slave, demonstrating his superiority and self-importance.

In his next appearance on stage, he becomes blind and depends on his slave, Lucky. We see his blindness worsens over time. His interactions with other characters, especially with Lucky, Vladimir and Estragon, shows his domineering nature.

In the hands of Pozzo, Lucky suffers physical and verbal abuse, and Pozzo enjoys asserting his power over others and gaining pleasure from their sufferings. Though he is cruel, Pozzo sometimes displays moments of vulnerability and desperation, especially when he realises he has lost his sight.


Lucky is an unlucky character in Waiting for Godot. Despite his name being Lucky, he is never fortunate in the play. He is Pozzo’s slave and serves as a sort of companion to him.

Lucky suffers a lot in the hands of his master Pozzo and his internal agony cannot be expressed in words. There is a heavy chain around his neck representing his servitude with his master having a whip in his hand, highlighting Lucky’s subservient status further.


Godot is the titular character in Waiting for Godot. He is a mysterious character who never physically appears in the play. Vladimir and Estragon keep their anticipation fresh throughout the play waiting for him with hope, though they are not certain about his arrival.

Godot represents mystery and expectation in the the narrative. Though he never appears physically, his presence in the play takes the plot forward until end.

We are forced to imagine his identity with small clues provided in the plot. The boy who brings his messages to Vladimir and Estragon provides, though not enough, information about Godot that enables the audience to imagine his identity, authoritative attitude, and his affection towards his workers.

Vladimir and Estragon anxiously waiting for his arrival with a strong belief that he has the potential to bring enlightenment into their life. It is evident from their reference to him as “Mister Godot” that both of them have a level of respect to him. Further, they see him as a potential saviour who can ease and reduce their boredom and despair.

These references to him as a saviour, a respectable person, and a potential figure who can bring enlightenment reinforce the notion of scholars to identify him as a representation of God himself. His name itself sounds similar to the word God. However, others tend to deny this claim as they consider him as another absurd character in the play. Such ambiguities surrounding Godot’s identity paves the way for various interpretations.

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