- Series: Beckett, Samuel
- Paperback: 111 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; 9th edition (January 18, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802130348
- ISBN-13: 978-0802130341
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 323 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts 9th Edition
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One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain.”The Times (London)
Beckett is an incomparable spellbinder. He writes with rhetoric and music that . . . make a poet green with envy.”Stephen Spender
Reading Beckett for the first time is an experience like no other in modern literature.”Paul Auster
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Top customer reviews
Waiting for Godot is about two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, who are waiting in what seems like a post apocalyptic world, on a road, near a tree. What are they doing? They are waiting for Godot. We don't meet Godot. We don't really know who Godot is. He could be God. As they wait, they sort of discuss philosophical and biblical themes and ideas. These moments provide interesting insights on both. There is no plot. Nothing happens. And, we begin and end the play with these two characters on the road. However, the journey in Beckett's plays are not made by the characters. It is the viewers who are changed. We, along with these characters, are waiting. Ultimately, we need to decide who or what we are waiting for and if it is worth it.
I love Samuel Beckett. I love Theatre of the Absurd.
The only thing I didn't like was that if you have oily hands or even a little sweaty, the cover gets smudges on it, and they can't come off. Maybe look for another version if you want to have a nice cover.
Too many people forget that this is a PLAY, i.e., something that provides the words for actors on a stage. It is not primarily intended to be read in a book. Unfortunately, this is how most people experience the play, therefore depriving them of most of elements of the performance. Therefore, I am going to make a recommendation for a way of increasing the richness of your performance of the play.
Though an Irishman, Beckett originally wrote the play - as he did with almost all of his works - in French first and then later translated them himself into English (in contrast, Vladimir Nabokov after moving to the United States wrote his books in English, and then translated them into French and Russian, his wife doing the translations into German). The play was originally performed in Paris, while the English-language premiere took place in Ireland. The American debut was not on Broadway, but in Miami, Florida, with Bert Lahr and Tom Ewell.
Instead of merely reading the play, read it while listening to a recording of the original Broadway production of Waiting For Godot, which starred Bert Lahr (best known as the Cowardly Lion in THE WIZARD OF OZ) as Estragon and E. G. Marshall as Vladimir. While you still wouldn't get the visual dimension of the play, hearing the actors bring the characters to life adds new layers to the play that you would never get merely by reading it. Lahr was an unexpected choice to star in the play, given that he wasn't an actor so much as a vaudevillian comedian. His acting style was too over-the-top to be convincing in film (though perfect for the Cowardly Lion); I read somewhere - I don't recall where - that he was more like a cartoon character incarnated than a human. He nonetheless gives a marvelous performance here. Marshall was one of the most distinguished stage actors of his generation and more than holds his own with Lahr while acting as more the straight man.
If you listen to the recording while reading the book, the performance that will most come to life is that of Lucky. I'd read the play 2 or 3 times over the years and seen it once on the stage in which I now realize was a rather tame production, but had not really paid much attention to Lucky. His main contribution was a single, very long speech (not terribly unlike the long speech given by The Fireman in Ionesco's THE BALD SOPRANO in terms of length and its absurdity - a speech that I gave in a college performance of the play). Read on the page it can seem interesting and silly, but hearing the actor (though it wasn't indicated in the recording, Alvin Epstein played Lucky in the original Broadway production and it is almost certainly him here) perform the speech is revelatory. He doesn't say the words so much as shriek, yelp, gasp, bark, and screech them. Hearing Lucky's speech performed by a talented actor transforms your appreciation of both the speech and the play.
This is one of the truly great works of the 20th Century, one of the key plays making up what Martin Esslin dubbed The Theatre of the Absurd, but it is not best experienced by reading it on the page. Try to see it performed instead, or at bare minimum in the Bert Lahr/E. G. Marshall version noted above. You wouldn't think that you had experienced a Bob Dylan song merely by reading the lyrics, and so also you won't experience WAITING FOR GODOT unless you hear or see it performed.
The play itself is one that is at time very hard to comprehend with out prior knowledge of the playwright Samuel Beckett or the style in which the play is written. While the Max Notes study aid did hit on key albeit superficial points of the play as well as give some ideas and guidelines as to what to write about for an essay on the play, it would be in anyone who attempts to review this play to search for a free pdf of the play, as there are many internal directions that have to be followed by the actors. Also it would be in the reviews best interest if they were to read along with the actual script whilst watching a production of the play on a medium such as Youtube.
As I said before I can not really fault the book for not being what I thought it was, however, when used as intended the Max Notes study aid that it is, is best used for high school students and not college students having to review the play.