Waiting for Godot Character Analysis | Detailed and Critical
Characterization is very important, especially for a playwright. A dramatist has to express everything through his characters as he has no other choice like a novelist. He can’t say anything directly. If he wants to opine on something he has to use his characters for this purpose. So, characters have more than usual significance in a play. Similarly, a deep analysis of every character of “Waiting for Godot”, especially of Vladimir, reveals that all characters have importance of their own. Needless to mention that everything in this play is dependent on its characters because it lacks any plot. If the “Waiting for Godot” is famous even today then the main reason behind it is its themes that are presented through its smaller yet important characters.
Character Analysis of “Waiting for Godot”:
There are six characters in “Waiting for Godot”. One of them is just a messenger, who is not as important as other characters. Remaining every character of the play is very necessary to understand purpose of playwright behind “Waiting for Godot”, which are:
- Boy (Messenger)
Vladimir Waiting for Godot Character Analysis:
We already know that Samuel Becket has presented two types of relationships in the play. One in the form of Vladimir and Estragon whereas the second is of Pozzo and Lucky. No one can understand the character of Vladimir without comparing it with Estragon. Hence, Estragon is necessary to be discussed along with this major character of the play.
Vladimir thinks logically and takes the decision on the basis of reasoning, hence, we may say that he is the strongest of all. Despite his odd nature, he is loved by the audience as he thinks more than any other character of the play. He has more knowledge than Estragon that makes him a sober and intellectual personality. He time and again tells Estragon that they should wait until Godot arrives. Vladimir also reveals that he once met Godot still he does not remember how exactly Godot lookalike. He also gives hope to Estragon and boosts his moral due to which Estragon agrees to wait for Godot.
Vladimir is not selfish at all. He does not want that Pozzo should sell Lucky. When he realizes that Pozzo is going to sell Lucky, he expresses his deep condolence with him and advises Pozzo not do so. Not only he expresses his sympathy with Lucky but also expresses sharp disapproval and suggests that Lucky should not leave his good master.
No matter what may be the situation, Vladimir does not leave hope. He is an optimist still he is in anguish because of his habit of deep analysis of every other character of “Waiting for Godot”. He thinks about life, about people, about their situation and also consistently tries to find meaning in his life. Vladimir is among those psychological characters of Waiting for Godot, who make an opinion of other characters in mind. He does not only think about himself but also about other people, who are residing around him. While forgetting his own pains, he gives more time to the pains of other people.
Vladimir reads the Bible and gets instructions from it. He has thirst for knowledge. He does not physically suffer but mentally. There is no cavil in the proposition that each and every problem of Vladimir is psychological in nature. His sufferings are inner and emotional.
Vladimir’s Hat is his Problem:
He has problems with his hat as Estragon has with his boots. It symbolizes that his overthinking is the main problem of his life. He has a God gifted habit of thinking and opining about the matter. He time and again peers into his hate as he looks for something in it. It means that whenever this major character (Vladimir) of “Waiting for Godot” starts a discussion he does an analysis of it and then explains it to Estragon. His mind never remains free nor does it stop thinking. Overthinking is one of the most discussed psychological problems of the modern era and so as of Vladimir. He creates problems with the help of his mind, hence, his head has been named “Charnel House”.
It cannot be disputed that Vladimir is a better friend than any other character in “Waiting for Godot” no matter how much analysis we do. He helps Estragon on every occasion and also considers it his duty. As compared to Estragon, he is calm like a child which is a symbol that knowledge always forces a person to think calmly.
Character Analysis of Estragon in “Waiting for Godot”:
The playwright has put Estragon in juxtaposition to Vladimir. Only one thing is common between them; they are “Waiting for Godot”, whom about they do not know anything. As Vladimir cannot be judged without Estragon similarly, analysis of Estragon is not possible without judging the character of Vladimir in “Waiting for Godot”.
We hardly find any logic in Estragon’s actions and dialogues. However, whenever he talks, the audience finds a chance of laughing. He is the most stupid character in this play. He can’t think and lacks the skill of making decisions. Estragon is alive only because he is living with Vladimir otherwise, he would have died. He repeatedly asks a question that what are they doing here and Vladimir tells him that they have to wait until the arrival of Godot.
Estragon insists that they should go but he does not know where the symbolic analysis of which is that he does not know his destination like everyone in the world is unknown about his objective. He can’t control himself and leaves hope again and again. His moral decreases every single second pass. He has no concern whatsoever with the life of any other person because he is selfish. When Vladimir takes time to advise Pozzo and Lucky, he tries his best to find food for himself. It is also a symbol that selfishness prevails kindness when hunger knocks the stomach.
Like Vladimir, he also reads the bible but not for obtaining instructions from it but to see maps of the Holy Land. He suffers physically but not mentally. He is beaten by unknown persons every night about whom he knows nothing. Hence, it can’t be denied that his struggle is real and his problems are physical as he is tortured physically every time.
Estragon’s Boots are his Problem:
Estragon struggles with his boots, analysis of which is that “Waiting for Godot” is not the only problem of this second important character of the play. The dramatist shows that everyone like Estragon struggles with his life every day but in the end, it makes no difference at all. It is useless.
It has already been made clear that these two main characters of Waiting for Godot are are opposite to each other. One is calm; the other is restless. One’s problems are mental; other’s are physical. One is kind; other is selfish. One is optimistic other pessimistic. One is a best friend; other just needs him. One tries to give his life meaning; other just don’t know what is he doing.
In spite of all these differences, both of them are good friends. Vladimir tries his best to give hope to Estragon even at that time when Estragon completely forgets for whom they are waiting. He even sings a song for Estragon so that he may fall asleep. Vladimir does not like funny stories whereas Estragon forcibly tells him but despite so much contrast, they are best friends of all time.
Character Analysis of Pozzo in “Waiting for Godot”:
The dramatist has shown characters of Pozzo and Lucky as master and his slave respectively in “Waiting for Godot”. Pozzo is totally dependent on his slave. He is physically blind but not mentally, however, his nature is somewhat arrogant. He is the one who controls Lucky. It is not wrong to say that the playwright in Waiting for Godot has illustrated that both these characters cannot live independent though Pozzo repeatedly says that he wants to sell Lucky. Vladimir and Estragon are living together with the freewill but Pozzo and Lucky have no other choice.
Pozzo and lucky appear twice in the “Waiting for Godot”; firstly in Act-I and in Act-II for the second time, however, they do not remember that they ever met with Vladimir and Estragon. They react as they are meeting for the first time in their lives perhaps due to the lacking of the unity of time and place in the play.
From the analysis of the character of Pozzo in “Waiting for Godot”, it is noticeable that the playwright has used him as a symbol in this play. First thing first, he is symbolized as a God because of his attitude towards Lucky and the remaining characters of Waiting for Godot. Samuel Becket has also shown him the cruellest human being. In spite of such good behaviour of Lucky, he does not like him. He also symbolizes feudalism. It is often said that Pozzo is a colonizer whereas Lucky is colonized. In addition, Pozzo and Lucky are in fact two common human races. There are two types of human races in every country. We may call it establishment or demolition; feudalism and serfdom; rich and poor; bad and good, whatever we call it, we are obvious that Pozzo and Lucky are two distinct characters of Waiting for Godot.
Character Analysis of Lucky in “Waiting for Godot”:
Lucky is just like a human being living in the Greek’s era. It is believed that gods in that era were much cruel. They controlled humans and punished them without giving them any freewill. Lucky is just a puppet in the hands of Pozzo despite the fact that Pozzo cannot go anywhere without him. It is also astonishing that Pozzo is entirely dependent on Lucky yet he hates him and calls him a “pig”. The dramatist has shown Lucky’s condition much miserable. The most important symbol in “Waiting for Godot”, which is evident from the analysis of Lucky ‘s character is “Colonization”. We are well aware of the fact that colonizer countries expanded their territory through colonization, which was apparently for the welfare of humanity yet it was the result of greed and gaining more and more wealth from poor countries.
Besides, Lucky symbolizes a race of human being which has no fault of his own still it is living a life worse than animals. Lucky carries Pozzo’s luggage even the whim, with whom Pozzo beats him. It means that how feudalism is controlling the labour, enjoying fruits of their hard work but hates them due to the reason unknown to us.
It is also argued that Lucky and Pozzo are like body and minds. Pozzo is the mind that controls the body and no matter how good or bad is the body, it has to follow the brain. It is a universal truth, which should be acknowledged by everyone that without mind, the body is useless. A disease of paralysis is an example of it. If a sound body loses contact with the mind, it becomes useless.
Lucky is intellectual as compared to Pozzo. His speeches are very much important and often interpreted on various occasions in English literature, however, like every other character of “Waiting for Godot”, Lucky does an analysis of life and tries to find meanings of it. Nevertheless, In form of Lucky’s character, the dramatist has shown a human race that no one can dare to show.
Character Analysis of Godot in “Waiting for Godot”:
Godot remains a discussion for years between critics. Once, Samuel Beckett was asked, “Who is Godot”. He answered, “If I knew, I would have told it in the play”. No matter how much time we watch this play, we can’t find who Godot is because he never appears on stage not even for a single second. Only a message comes through a boy (messenger) that Godot is unable to come today, however, his visit is expected tomorrow. Both the acts end in the same manner. Nonetheless, there are some interpretation which can be easily perceived to know about the character of Godot in “Waiting for Godot” if we do a deep analysis of the play.
Many eminent critics have defined Godot as hope. Estragon and Vladimir come every day with an optimistic approach and think that someone would come and give meaning to their lives. The second act is a copy of the first act with minute changes. We do not remember the time between the first act and the second act. It may be true that Estragon and Vladimir are waiting for Godot since long. Every day they come at that place and wait for him but he does not appear. Perhaps there is a difference of many months between the first act and the second act. It is, therefore, Pozzo does not remember meeting them. They continue their exercise every day, however, it is shown to us only two times. Hence, it seems definite that both these persons are hoping for something better in their lives.
It has often been discussed that Godot symbolizes death. Both the tramps Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for death, which does not approach them as their time has not come yet, therefore, they wait for it every day. They may do efforts of committing suicide but they have to wait for death in order to escape from the hardships of life. We know that the play is all about life and life is the second name of nothingness. Characters in Waiting for Godot do nothing still they are doing something and that is “wait”.
Every day, they come and wait for something but their wait is useless. Life is all about the wait. It is true that not every single time everyone waits for death, however, at least once in a day our mind reminds us about death. It is totally wrong if someone says that he has never thought about death in his life. No doubt, like Estragon and Vladimir we forget it for the time being but after a few seconds, we ask ourselves “what we are doing here”? and an answer comes: Waiting for Godot.
Another symbol of Godot is Christ or God. It would be easier for us if Godot has been shown on stage to the audience but the dramatist has willfully not shown it. It is on our minds how we perceive Godot. Critics have given Godot two other names “Christ” and “God”. Analysis of critics’ views about Godot is that every character is waiting for God and Christ’s help.
Suffice is to say that even deeper analysis of Godot’s character remained failed to point out the exact purpose of the dramatist portraying this invisible character in “Waiting for Godot”.