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138 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Nothing happens, twice".
"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...
Published on January 12, 2005 by M. B. Alcat

versus
43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy little classic
This classic of the absurd tragicomedy must be given its due respect though I have to admit, I found it a bit of a sleep-inducer. The story follows a conversation about a character wasting his time awaiting the arrival of his friend. The friend, it seems, is never going to arrive and so the plot is really a roller-coaster ride of emotions from excited anticipation to...
Published on December 17, 2006 by Stratiotes Doxha Theon


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138 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Nothing happens, twice"., January 12, 2005
"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.

Belen Alcat
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, but best for those who dig absurdism, February 5, 2007
Fifty years after its premiere, Samuel Beckett's play WAITING FOR GODOT has achieved classic status, yet it is a play more talked about than read or performed. Many people could tell the vague plot of two hobos waiting on a roadside for a man who never comes, a metaphor for the "waiting for God" that forms the duration of human existence, but much of the play remains unknown. Reading the play shows a different side of the play than popular imagination, though it will not be a rewarding activity for all.

The stage is simple. "A country road. A Tree". So is the casting. The repartee of hobos Vladimir and Estragon forms the bulk of the play's dialogue. Two other men, Pozzo and Lucky, twice stop by. Finally a Boy appears as a messenger from the mysterious Godot. Pozzo and Lucky are left out of most popular references to the play, but they form a vital part of its action. When we first meet Pozzo, he is a rich man, smoking a pipe, feasting on a whole chicken... and leading his servant Lucky around with a rope and barking orders at him. The choreographical duties imposed on Lucky are a tour de force of stage writing.

While drama is written to be performed, the text of WAITING FOR GODOT allows one to pick up on various subtleties missing from performance. One is amusing stage directions. When Vladimir says "I don't understand" and Estragon replies, "Use your intelligence, can't you?", there follows the direction "Vladimir uses his intelligence." In the theatre, many of the play's most profound comments come too quickly to be properly reflected upon and digested by the audience, but reading the play lets one proceed through Beckett's musings at one's own pace. Finally, reading the play lets one spot oddities about Beckett's own translation of the play from the original French, many slightly peculiar turns of phrase in English.

While the play's meagre plot of waiting for a God who never reveals himself is often seen as existentialist, reading the play reveals instead an absurdist perspective. Unlike those writers who felt that the absence of God forces Man to determine his purpose on his own, Beckett sees little possibility of purpose. Because of the lack of hope and the frustrations that fill the dialogue, WAITING FOR GODOT can be depressing and inexplicable to many. One's enjoyment from reading the play is dependent essentially on how comfortable one is with absurdism. Nonetheless, I'd recommend at least trying.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Play of the 20th Century, September 18, 2006
Samuel Beckett's play seems to endlessly perplex reviewers: they want to see in it concrete associations that it generally denies them. Is Godot God? Are Didi and Gogo heroes for their seemingly indefatiguable faith he will arrive, or fools for hinging all their hopes and dreams on a man who never seems to arrive to help alleviate their suffering?

Waiting for Godot, in proper Modernist fashion, strips away all the layers of narrative and form and leaves nothing but the naked husk of a play, which Beckett no doubt felt revealed the human condition at its most basic. But the play's power doesn't really come from that. Rather, what makes Waiting for Godot so compelling is its wide applicability: it's a story about random oppression, brutality, and dreams deferred by harsh realities. It has been performed as an allegory of apartheid South African, the Jim Crow South, the horror of the war in Bosnia and about every other possible situation imaginable. Why? Because as Benjamin Kunkel pointed out in a piece in The New Yorker not so long ago, "[N]ot everyone has a God, but who doesn't have a Godot?"

Beyond the metaphysical implications of the play, though, it's popularity stems from its near-perfection: for all the philosophical meaning people see in it, the action progresses with virtually no direct reference to it, and every line which seems to suggests some sort of grand significance has a very concrete meaning in the action. Take the infamous opening: Estragon, the first of the tramps, struggles to pull off his boot to relieve his swollen foot. Unable to get it off, he gives up and announces "Nothing to be done." Vladimir, wincingly wandering onto the stage and grasping at his crotch (precious few readers and actors for that matter seem to grasp that one of the play's running jokes is Vladimir's venereal disease, which causes him immense pain when urinating), thinks Estragon is commenting on his own ailment, and announces, "I'm beginning to come round to that conclusion myself. All my life I've put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything! And I resumed the struggle."

On the one hand, the lines relate concretely to the action of the play; on the other, they have become representative of modern man's ambivalence towards a cruel and uncaring world, and such clever cynicism has linked Beckett to the French Existentialists in whose circles he moved after the Second World War. But seen merely as declamatory statements of world-weary cynicism, the lines lose all their power; Beckett's achievement comes from his ability to link such nihilistic sentiments to extremely comic moments, and it is the humor that carries the reader or the theatergoer through what would otherwise be an unbearably cynical play. Steve Martin, who played Vladimir in a famous 1982 production at the Lincoln Center in New York, put it best when he said that he sought to serve the humor of the play, because the meaning could carry itself but the humor could not. That's a lesson which, sadly, precious few theater directors seem to grasp, but which the careful reader discovers in Beckett. Definitely a must-read, but read it before seeing it, because few productions do it justice.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave Room In Your Life For The Absurd, October 25, 2006
By 
Most of the reviews that I have written for Amazon are based on the books, the DVDs, and the CDs that I already own. I occasionally buy a new product via Amazon, but I mostly review the stuff that I already own.

I own this book...this play because I read it while in a Humanities course in college. I went to college rather "late" in life...whatever that means...and yet I derived more from the experience than I probably would have had I gone right after High School. I am one of those people who believe that it's not college that makes a "well-rounded" indivividual, but life experience. If colleges and universities handed out degrees based on Life Experience, I'd probably have a doctorate three times over...

We were given the assignment of reading this play and seeing the live production that the college I was attending just so happened to be putting on. With my primary focus being on philosphy, I embraced the Existentialism Unit that we were now focused upon. My best friend, who was/is an "atheist" was less receptive of these Existentialist ideas he considered strange and elusive. You think he, being an atheist, would have been more open to them than I who had already been bitten by the Metaphysics/Spirituality plague. Truth be told I think the only reason he says he's an atheist is because he's a cheapskate and doesn't want to shell out extra money for Christmas gifts.

So we go see this play and people were getting pretty agitated. In this play everything goes round and round but never arrives at any final conclusions and I noticed how we, as a society, love our answers. We are not soothed by questions and proposistions and "what if?" scenarios. We feel the need to latch onto something because something is better than nothing.

Isn't it?

The Existentialists believe that the universe is random, chaotic, and ultimately meaningless and so in a sense they "give" meaning to meaninglessness. Just like an atheist believes in non-belief. You see, the human species cannot not give meaning to his/her life...we cannot not believe...we can "pretend" that life is without meaning and that we don't believe but everything that falls onto the screen of our perception, will take on the shape of our perceptions.

I loved this play. I loved the merry-go-round type dialouge. Isn't this what we all do? We get a belief so engrained in our heads and we think that it is the only way to believe and so we spend a lot of time trying to convince someone who may not be as receptive to our point of view as to why it's valid. What I have learned over the years is that the only reason why a belief is valid is because we are the ones who validate it. It doesn't make us "more right" than the person who doesn't believe it, it just makes us believers of the belief. And contrary to popular opinion, the more people you have who also believe the same way you believe does not prove that it's any more valid than if only one person believed it.

This play did not dissolve me into a puddle of desperation and futileness, in fact it added more meaning to my life which would probably make Samuel Beckett gag. It made me fall in love even more with this crazy life that only I can live. Nobody lives by proxy. Each of us are liberated and imprisoned by our beliefs. The best we can ever hope to be is determined by what we are willing to believe at any given time. This is why it's a good practice to sit down and journal about your beliefs from time to time and question why you still believe what you believe. You may have outgrown certain beliefs, certain ideas, certain ways of being in the world but don't be like the two "bums" in the play, don't keep postponing what it is that you eventually desire to see; see it now, live it now, be it now. If you are going to be an atheist, be the best atheist you can be. If you are going to be a Christian, be the best Christian you can be. If you are going to be an Anarchist, be the best Anarchist you can be. Just don't think that everyone is going to believe exactly as you believe and don't make others wrong simply because they may have another point of view. In the end, none of us truly know what's on the other side. Yes, we've had people with Near Death Experiences, but nobody has ever come back after being completely dead with a report, we just have reports from people who have been "mostly dead".

Take life with a grain of salt and enjoy the ride.

Peace & Blessings.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tragicomedy, October 12, 2006
Waiting for Godot was dubbed a "tragicomedy" and there doesn't seem to be any other word better suited to describe this play. The random and wandering personalities of Vladimir and Estragon, the main characters, lend an amusing air to the entire work. However, their inability to accomplish anything or even grasp what is really going on around them inspires some sympathy (and irritation), though it may be weaker or stronger depending on how strange the book strikes the you. Unless one goes into Waiting for Godot expecting the existentialism it can be somewhat confusing, and may seem a bit more pointless than it is meant to be. Knowing a little bit about Beckett and his beliefs will probably make it more enjoyable, but it is interesting and well written enough to stand on its own. What I love the most about this book is Beckett's ability to make the absurd seem so close to reality. Vladimir and Estragon are most certainly not your average Joe, but a lot of what they say seems familiar and most of the time rather humorous. Waiting for Gogot is really what you make it, because while at its core it is a just a story of two confused homeless men, it is also a meaningful and slightly endearing tale. Go in looking for a meaning, and knowing how Beckett means to get things across, and I think that this play will end up reading much better than if one goes in just cold. A short read, and worthwhile, I would say, at least for its originality and humor.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars keep trying, it's worth it, October 13, 2001
By A Customer
The first time I picked it up I read 20 pages and put it down, unable to understand a thing. The second time I read half the book and gave up. Because I heard so much about it, I tried again and the third time I loved it. It's an incredible mix of sad hopelessness and almost slapstick style humor, at times I laughed aloud. A frighteningly stark look at the human condition. From the first, almost every line of the play can be interpreted on at least 3 levels.
One, on the shallow level of the daily lives of the two main characters, about the banal objects of their existence, their shoes, games, desires, and stories, etc.
Two, on a deeper level, about the deeper meaning of their existence, the search for a frame of reference (Godot), the hopelessness, the hope that is always dangled in front of them, forcing them to stay in the cosmic game, yet never attaining the things hoped for.
And on a third level, as 2 actors on a stage, wasting time, trying to think up lines to fill the time until the end of the play (note the part where one of the actors directs the other off stage to the restroom, to relieve himself), thus forcing the audience (or reader) into the exact position portrayed by the two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, to wait for meaning, for some sort of overall sense that will give rationale to their puzzling existence (or this puzzling play).
Tragic, comic, sad, terrifying, poignant, and at times, oddly enough, hilarious. The best play I've read yet.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and ..., March 24, 2008
Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and ...

Review of Play: Waiting for Godot - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Written in: 1949

Premiere in: 1953

By: Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)

Originally written in French and translated to English by the author himself.

This play takes place on a desolate road next to a barren tree. There are two aimless men loitering and passing the time in discussion. They are soon joined by two others. The first act of the play lasts through one evening. The second act lasts through a second evening almost identical to the first. When ever the subject of leaving their spot arises, we learn that they can't leave because they are "Waiting for Godot" and need to stay at this particular spot on the road.

There is a sense of timelessness. The second evenings (second act) seems to be slightly altered copy of the first evening (first act). The characters are "Waiting for Godot" and for salvation. Their wait for salvation might well be endless since all of them are loath to face their true motives, their real needs, their personal wants and honest desires. They don't seem to know why they are "Waiting for Godot" or what Godot (God?) will bring them. When they mention suicide they flippantly dismiss the subject. One time they say they can not hang themselves because they have no rope when in fact there is a rope lying on the stage as one of the few props.

They appear to have voluntarily subjected themselves to a purgatory and don't have the courage or initiative to even question their situation.

The discussion ranges from an inane account of boots being too tight to sophistic meanderings on the purpose of life. The characters seem to relentlessly keep talking to avoid facing something. We are not privy to any of their pasts or in fact any personal information about any of the characters. They might have been meeting on the desolate road for an endless time, so that any past that they had is lost in the mist of their memories.

The nearly barren tree reminds them of a hanging tree and by implication a crucifixion cross. The tree dominates the stage background just as Godot dominates the lives; free choice and every expression of the four main characters. Does the milieu force the characters to think of salvation to the exclusion of a meaningful life? Could their need for salvation keep them trapped in a purgative existence where escape would be a form of condemnation which none of them could tolerate?

The play "Waiting for Godot" forces the reader to ask questions of himself/herself.

Waiting for Godot

Krapp's Last Tape

Endgame and Act Without Words

I completely enjoyed and highly recommend this book.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lot About Nothing At All, January 20, 2006
By 
Shane M. Snyder "just some banal guy" (Chrono Synclastically Infundibulated) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Some think Waiting for Godot is an argument for existentialism. Others believe it is about man's eternal struggle for the answer to the ultimate question. Neither seem correct.

In short, this is a play for those who prefer to strip everything down to the most basic form of language, to strip life down to a mere game of waiting. That is, in essence, what this is all about. We have two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, who both wait for a man who may or may not ever show up. They don't know why. They don't know exactly when he will be there. Still they wait, eternally, by the tree, by wherever they think he said he would show.

This isn't an absurdist play, although it has been labeled as such. Absurdism, though, seems such an insulting way of labeling such a masterpiece. We oftentimes go thorugh our readings with the idea that everything has to be complex, that there has to be a theme placed deep within a convoluted story, but with Waiting for Godot, we have a simple theme: waiting.

The two characters symbolize nothing. They are, quite simply, not waiting to be analyzed. They become, in effect, victims of Samuel Beckett's own game: they are his quotation, and he only says what needed to be said at the time, and so he wrote it, whether people would catch on or not, whether they would label it absurdism or not.

If you were to take every line of this play and utter it aloud, very slowly, word by word like a robot in a very monotone fashion, you would probably capture the idea. If it's any indication, he wrote everything in French first--his second language--and then translated it in to English, just so it can be simple. I don't assume, of course, that this work should be cherished simply because it's an exercise in simplicity. But I submit that it should be cherished because it's a genuine, themeless--somehow--masterpiece about two people waiting for the most unimportant, unknown thing that may or may not ever come. It is frequently hilarious and constantly frivolous, but somehow, it manages to charm. It is like one of those songs that you can listen to over and over again, and it has no lyrics, and no meaning--as far as you know--but it still makes you feel good under glaring adversity.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and ..., March 24, 2008
Waiting and Waiting and Waiting and ...

Review of Play: Waiting for Godot - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Written in: 1949

Premiere in: 1953

By: Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)

Originally written in French and translated to English by the author himself.

This play takes place on a desolate road next to a barren tree. There are two aimless men loitering and passing the time in discussion. They are soon joined by two others. The first act of the play lasts through one evening. The second act lasts through a second evening almost identical to the first. When ever the subject of leaving their spot arises, we learn that they can't leave because they are "Waiting for Godot" and need to stay at this particular spot on the road.

There is a sense of timelessness. The second evenings (second act) seems to be slightly altered copy of the first evening (first act). The characters are "Waiting for Godot" and for salvation. Their wait for salvation might well be endless since all of them are loath to face their true motives, their real needs, their personal wants and honest desires. They don't seem to know why they are "Waiting for Godot" or what Godot (God?) will bring them. When they mention suicide they flippantly dismiss the subject. One time they say they can not hang themselves because they have no rope when in fact there is a rope lying on the stage as one of the few props.

They appear to have voluntarily subjected themselves to a purgatory and don't have the courage or initiative to even question their situation.

The discussion ranges from an inane account of boots being too tight to sophistic meanderings on the purpose of life. The characters seem to relentlessly keep talking to avoid facing something. We are not privy to any of their pasts or in fact any personal information about any of the characters. They might have been meeting on the desolate road for an endless time, so that any past that they had is lost in the mist of their memories.

The nearly barren tree reminds them of a hanging tree and by implication a crucifixion cross. The tree dominates the stage background just as Godot dominates the lives; free choice and every expression of the four main characters. Does the milieu force the characters to think of salvation to the exclusion of a meaningful life? Could their need for salvation keep them trapped in a purgative existence where escape would be a form of condemnation which none of them could tolerate?

The play "Waiting for Godot" forces the reader to ask questions of himself/herself.

Waiting for Godot

Krapp's Last Tape

Endgame and Act Without Words

I completely enjoyed and highly recommend this book.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully Absurd, December 3, 2006
By 
This play is completely absurd and that is the powerful point that the writer is trying to make about existence and all that comes with it.

highly recommended for those who are interested in Philosophy, theater and the non traditional.
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Waiting for Godot (French Edition)
Waiting for Godot (French Edition) by Samuel Beckett (Spiral-bound - Dec. 1985)
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