It is common knowledge that in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot nothing happens. Twice.
One evening, two vagrant men meet on a country road near a tree. They’re both waiting for a man named Godot. They pass the time. Two other men pass by. Godot sends word that he won’t be coming tonight, but that he’ll be there the next evening for sure.
That second night, the same two vagrant men meet on the same country road near the same tree. They’re both still waiting for a man named Godot. Again, they pass the time. The same two other men pass by. Inevitably, Godot sends word that he won’t be coming tonight, but that he’ll be there the next evening for sure.
The famous assertion that in Waiting for Godot nothing happens, twice, is absolutely true. Two men wait for Godot. They don’t know Godot, they only know his reputation. They kill time. They philosophize, sleep, argue, sing, exercise, swap hats, consider suicide—anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay”.
“So,” one might ask, “why would anyone in their right mind go watch—or read, for that matter—a play in which nothing happens. Twice, even?” And I would probably answer, “Because it might be interesting to see if an author can hold the audience’s attention when nothing happens.”
And Beckett succeeded. I might just go and see in the theater, one day.
- Book read
- Samuel Beckett — Waiting for Godot: A tragicomedy in two acts
- First Line
- A country road. A tree. Evening.
Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before.
Estragon: [Giving up again.] Nothing to be done.