(specially adapted for the Cheating The Ferryman Blog)
Samuel Beckett’s seminal masterpiece “Waiting For Godot” has been disseminated, deconstructed and dissected many times owing to its deeply metaphoric content, working on a multitude of levels.
In recent discussions with Tony I have spoken to him of my own psychological and Daemonological interpretation of “Godot” and indeed several other of Beckett’s dramatical works – indeed I am currently writing a thesis on a particularly ITLADian psychological connection within Beckett that, as far as I am aware, has not been previously suggested.
So, for now, I shall keep that particular angle under wraps *smile* and shall address merely the Nietzschean Eternal Return elements of Godot alongside that of my Peakeian Daemonology.
The play itself is a prodigy of sorts. Easily one of the most profound and suggestive plays of the 20th century, it's also among the most profound and suggestive ever written; its plentiful vaudevillian comedy notwithstanding. The dialogue is a marvel as well, and contains many worlds in its concise, tightly coiled lines; lines that pierce my heart, mind, and soul as with daggers even as they entertain.
Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (GoGo) are simply waiting for a gentleman by the name of Godot - I must stress at this point that Beckett intended absolutely no connection with the nature of God within Godot; Beckett wrote the play in French as “En Attendant Godot” and in the original French "Godot" has no phonetic connection with God.
They play consists of two acts which take place on consecutive days, Act II mirroring Act I to a degree but with minor subtle alterations and Vladimir becoming more aware of the recurrence whereas Estragon remains very much with the feeling that there is "Nothing to be done."
To me, the other two characters in the play, Pozzo and Lucky seem a potential epiphanic vision to Vladimir and Estragon by Daemonic communication; a vision of the reality of what they're waiting for as it really is [guidance in my opinion], as opposed to what they but dimly imagine it might be. Pozzo is Godot incarnate, and Lucky is the incarnate whole of mankind that is Vladimir and Estragon — and us. Part (but only part) of my reason for being driven to that view is that Beckett puts into the mouth of Pozzo (in Act II) the most profound and searing lines in all of Godot, and perhaps the most ITLADian ever uttered by any character in any play whatsoever:
Pozzo: (Spoken to Vladimir in a fury) Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he [Lucky] went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? (Calmer, and more to himself) They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.
That simultaneously searing and chilling speech is towards the play's climax, its crisis, after which Pozzo and Lucky exit the tragicomedy, and it's left to Vladimir to musingly, all the while feeling the full weight of it, round off the horrific image while Estragon sleeps:
Vladimir: (Looking at Estragon sleeping) He'll know nothing. He'll tell me about the blows he received and I'll give him a carrot. (Pause) Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. (He listens) But habit is a great deadener. (He looks again at the sleeping Estragon) At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on. (Pause) I can't go on!
But he will go on. He's seen a glimmer of the truth; more than is seen by most of humanity, and certainly more than is even imagined by his sleeping-even-when-awake soul mate. He will go on, as will Estragon but Vladimir is becoming awakened to reality as in one of the many quips in the play:
Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.
Vladimir is becoming aware of the Eternal Recurrence and Godot may well be the direction and guidance of the Daemon. He sees the manifestations of Pozzo to be the pathway to escaping the wait and Lucky's "think" monologue in Act I is symbolic of the stream of waking consciousness within us all. This post is merely the tip of a titanic iceberg (pun very much intended) which will form a mere fraction of my Beckett thesis (and hopefully, one day, lecture. With gags obviously!)
A Dark Philosopher
Karl Le Marcs