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Waiting for Godot - English: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts [Paperback]

Samuel Beckett
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 18 1994 0802130348 978-0802130341 1
A classic of modern theatre and perennial favorite of colleges and high schools. "One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation . . . suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity . . . like a sharp stab of beauty and pain."--The London Times.

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"One of the true masterpieces of the century." --Clive Barnes, "The New York Times""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"[Godot is ] among the most studied, monographed, celebrated and sent-up works of modern art, and perhaps as influential as any from the last century. The nonstory of two tramps at loose ends in a landscape barren of all but a single tree, amusing or distracting themselves from oppressive boredom while they wait for a mysterious figure who never arrives, the play became the ur-text for theatrical innovation and existential thought in the latter half of 20th century." --Christopher Isherwood, "The New York Times" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906, in Ireland. Best known for the classic <I>Waiting for Godot</I>, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. He spent most of his life in Paris and died there in 1989.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never decided to leave while reading this play April 13 2004
Apparently, people have made much of the "fact" that Godot is god. While hardly being a fact (and in fact, being outwardly denied by Beckett himself), people who search too desperately for the specific personage Godot represents miss the point. One can say that Godot is god, especially if one is a New Critic and therefore ignores whatever the author may have said about his work. And while at one point Vladimir exclaims (and I'm just paraphrasing): "Godot is here! We are saved," this does not explicitly explain who Godot is. He could just as easily be bringing money to Vladimir and Estragon as he could be bearing salvation for them. The point is, that Beckett was an essentially existential writer, and saw that all of life was just waiting for the terminal breath. Furthermore, in the act of waiting for an ending, Vladimir and Estragon constantly make the existential choice: whether or not to keep on waiting. Several times they contemplate committing suicide; several times Estragon threatens to leave. In the end, they confirm their existence (yes, only one existence--they seem to be as one person in the dialogue: this is no mistake) by deciding, if offhandishly, to remain living; living, and waiting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Waiting for Godot centers around two bums: Estragon and Vladimir. Estragon has an incredibly short memory and relies on Vladimir to remember for him. As a result, Estragon is extremely impatient and constantly suggests that the two would be better off if they parted. However, Estragon needs Vladimir and Vladimir needs Estragon, so they never do part. Vladimir, due to Estragon's lack of memory, is unsure of his own memory. Vladimir enjoys the company of Estragon, for it allows him to recall past events. Together, they spend their time devising ways to pass the time until 'Godot' arrives. Neither Estragon and Vladimir or the reader surely know what Godot is or looks like or whether he will ever arrive. On two occasions, they meet Pozzo and Lucky. Pozzo is Lucky's master and decides to stop and talk to Estragon and Vladimir for a bit of company. Pozzo hardly listens to what the other characters in the play say and frequently launches into melodramatic prose. Lucky is Pozzo's slave, tied to Pozzo via a rope around his neck. Lucky only speaks twice during the entire play. His monologue, which is delivered upon Pozzo's order of 'Think', is completely incoherent - a mix of half-finished words and sentences. Lucky is very obedient to Pozzo and rather violent and hostile to strangers, especially Estragon, who he bites. In the second act, Pozzo and Lucky return again, this time Pozzo is blind and Lucky is mute. They have no memory of ever having met Estragon and Vladimir. The play ends in the same way Act One ends - Estragon and Vladimir are still dependent on eachother and remain waiting for Godot.
Waiting for Godot is a classic text of existentialism and Absurdist literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The epitome of Existentialist Literature Oct. 5 2003
An existentialist tragicomedy in two acts. I loved this play-- definitely the epitome of a tragicomedy. I laughed out loud at many of the lines from Vladimir and Estragon, the main characters, as well as Pozzo, a man that happens by as they wait for Godot. The deeper themes of the play got me thinking too.
Who is Godot and why are these two men waiting for him? Good question. It's not important though-- not as important as their waiting to be saved by Godot at least. The way the characters passed away the time of their waiting made the pages fly by for me-- it seemed I had scarcely started when I was at the end!
Highly recommended. Waiting for Godot is a great, quick read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is there to get from Waiting for Godot June 9 2004
By A Customer
I thought the play beautifully expressed in laconic dialogue how some individuals deny reality, the human condition, and mortality by distracting themselves with meaningless activies. I don't know if Beckett saw life as meaningless. The mystery of life makes all of us story tellers. It's our responsiblity to find a story, activity, purpose, gift, belief that gives our lives fullness as opposed to emptyness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Nothing happens, twice" Jan. 10 2007
By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"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.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not proofread at ALL
Only buy this book if you are totally immune to typos and misspellings. Things like the letter "I" being substituted with a lowercase "L", or the word... Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Swiatczak
3.0 out of 5 stars Shmeh
I did a lot of waiting for Godot myself, and was unimpressed. A little too abstract for my personal taste, but it's a classic apparently.
Published 6 months ago by Ron
4.0 out of 5 stars I really love this book but it wouldn't be for everyone
This book is a classic in existential play. If you don't know anything about this play I would highly suggest doing a bit of research before buying it as it is unlike most plays/... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stacey Cann
2.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Godot??? Still Waiting
I was very disappointed in this purchase. It was a very slim volume for the price. The font was too small making the text almost illegible. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anne H Pollett
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless futility for the Irish
The amazing thing about Waiting for Godot is that it has always engendered confusion, uncertainty and half-formed theories. It's puzzling to most viewers and reviewers. Read more
Published 20 months ago by David Wineberg
5.0 out of 5 stars A Metaphor for Life
What a fabulous play. I read it over an over again and every time I discover new meaning. Admittedly, the first time I read it, I hated it. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading this play without fitting it into boxes
I believe all you need to know is that the characters all wear melon hats and suits... And that the play is written originally in French (Beckett's first play in French, and a... Read more
Published on May 24 2004 by listost
5.0 out of 5 stars The Absurdist Drama
Along with Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," this play is very likely the best play ever written. Like the one mentioned above, it is not the most dinamic thing you'll ever... Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Vladimir Miletic
5.0 out of 5 stars Godot is not God
Beckett wrote this play in French, and it was first staged in Paris. The name Godot is an actual surname in France, and Beckett may have gotten the name from a series of novels... Read more
Published on March 9 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's go. We can't. Why? We're waiting for Godot.
"Waiting for Godot" is a very interesting play indeed. Throughout the play, there are only five characters: Vladimir, Estragon(the two main characters), Pozzo, Lucky and... Read more
Published on March 1 2004
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