“But behind this veil of gentleness and peace, night is charging…and will burst upon us. Pop! Like that! Just when we least expect it. That’s how it is on this bitch of an earth. ” This is a quote from one of the most prominent works of the “Theatre of the Absurd” category, Samuel Becketts’ ‘Waiting For Godot’. In Queensland Theatre Company’s version, the play is about two characters named Vladimir and Estragon, who are waiting expectantly for a man named Godot, although he never comes. This play is set in a wide plain of bush, with a single dead tree in the middle.
It is based around false hope and deceit, like a cruel game, involving these men amongst other characters. Over the duration of the play, Vladimir and Estragon watch their hopes crash down in front of them, over and over again. Despite not knowing what Godot looks like, and if he will ever show up, they wait, through the cold night and into the early hours of morning. The contrasts in this play were very interesting, such as Movement and stillness, Dark and Light, and Hope and Hopelessness. Darkness plays a very important part in this play.
Vladimir and Estragon long for the night, as it decides their fate, and wether or not Godot will come. For example, in act 1 Estragon and Vladimir consider the fact that if they don’t like Godot’s idea, or if he doesn’t show, they will hang themselves on the remainder of the tree. Also, dark is represented as a violent matter in this play, because Estragon seems to get beaten at night. At the start of the play, Estragon and Vladimir seem to be happy, joking and happily talking, but by the end of the act, conversing seems to be a struggle, very tensioned and hardly existent in the act following.
They seem to be further away from each other at night, like they are sick of one another. These contrasts highlight the tension of this play. It is tension of the task, as they are waiting for a specific person religiously, and are repeatively assuring themselves on what they are waiting for. For example, in act 1 they converse, “Let’s go” “We can’t” “Why not? ” “ We’re waiting for Godot” Hopelessness has a big impact on all the characters, especially Vladimir and Estragon, considering they seem to have nothing, Each and every character is lowly deteriorating into the despair of nothingness. In the middle of act 1, an estranged traveller named Pozzo and his slave Lucky come across the pair. Pozzo is dressed in all white, while his slave is dressed in rags. Lucky doesn’t seem to be so lucky, like his name says, as he is pulling around Pozzo with just rope around his neck. In act 1, Pozzo seems to be better off then Vladimir and Estragon, but in act 2, Pozzo is suddenly blind, hopeless and is forced to be dependant on Lucky. Also, near the end of act 1, Lucky speaks an incredibly large monologue.
Although very intellectual, it seems to be gibberish, as if he has lost his mind. But in act 2, Lucky seems to go dumb. He is merely a slave. Meanwhile, Vladimir and Estragon seem less hopeful towards Godot. Vladimir’s philosophy turns sour and darkens towards giving up, and possibly committing suicide. Vladimir and Estragon are trying to hold onto hope, but they can’t seem to see the bad side of their situation. In conclusion, Dark and Light are very relevant in the dramatic meaning and symbols of this play, as well as Hope and Hopelessness.