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As it can be understood from the title “Waiting for Godot”, Beckett‟s famous play takes place around waiting

for Godot. In the play, main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, insistently wait for a mysterious Godot who is always expected to show up at some point but who never appears – only sending messengers to inform Vladimir and Estragon that he would not come for that particular night but surely the next day. For the main characters, waiting for Godot is almost a religious command. They never sufficiently question why they have to wait for him. They think that Godot would come and save them, but it is very ambiguous what Godot has to offer them and precisely from what Godot would save them, for saving always entails a present threat. They do not know what Godot looks like, they take everyone for him, and they do not know why they are waiting for him. The only thing they know is that they have to wait. This “have to” functions like a law that governs their entire world, at the centre of which lies the act of waiting for Godot. This law can be compared to a categorical imperative applicable to their world, to which we are introduced in the play. In this Godot-centric universe, this imperative can even be formulated in such a way: „Wait for Godot in such a manner that even Godot‟s not coming would not affect your act of waiting.‟ I prefer to use “act of waiting” rather than mere “waiting” because Vladimir‟s and Estragon‟s waiting for Godot cannot be described as complete passivity despite the obvious inertia they display quite frequently. This act of waiting lies somewhere in between activitiy and passivity, as if moving towards both extremes on a scale, arriving at none. Because, as we would see in the detailed account of the play below, Vladimir and Estragon, albeit sometimes ridiculuously, constantly respond to the happenings around them in accordance with their natural capacities. In the opening scene, we see Estragon in a fruitless struggle for taking off his boots. After a short while, Vladimir enters the scene and encourages him for not to give up without having tried hard enough. It can be inferred from their conversation that they were – at least in the past – fighting for a cause. But this cause is a complete mystery, even more inaccessible than Godot himself. Just like we know nothing about Godot, the play says nothing about the nature of their cause; it is impossible to know whether it is of a political struggle or something that pertains to more private and personal conflicts. But it is presented in such a way that one can understand that they had found each other within this cause and this cause seems to be somehow related to their waiting for Godot and to Estragon‟s being beaten regularly.

as something that contains the possibility of being not „committed‟ by the one who is already born. In fact. this is an act coming from the outside. which is the “Saviour”. the first idea that comes to Estragon is their being born. that is. and arbitrary act. For instance.13) Estragon does not understand what would they repent. This points out to the flexibility of language outside of which there is no separate reality. Such a flexibility allows an economy inside language. at some point. he asks for Vladimir‟s help. and in a despising manner tells Estragon that he wondered what he would do if he had what Vladimir has. We have no evidence regarding why of the two thieves one is saved. the cardinal event in one‟s life upon which one has no control at all – for one can never decide to be born or not – is seen as something among those deeds which require repenting. in turn. and it does not matter.12). grammatical rules become modified according to the internal necessities.The play contains a considerable number of repetitions that should not be overlooked. dynamics. naturalizes itself. Though Vladimir questions the reliability . Then.14). Upon this. regards human existence as bearing the mark of eternal sin. Vladimir gets angry. Some connections are abandoned. new connections are established. Upon this. he finds himself compelled to search for a contrary for “saved” and for this. and capacities of a language. as Estragon tries to take off his boots. In Saussurean terms. an extraordinary. finds “damned” (p. in the course of their conversation. As he was telling to Estragon the biblical story about two thieves and four Evangelists. Vladimir asks Estragon what if they repented (p. This being “saved” is supposed to be realized by an agent. same signifiers can signify different signifieds on the level of the signified. once. We see another instance of such a perspective in Vladimir as well. which is closely related with the notion of eternal sin in Christianity and which is not reducible to Estragon‟s naïvity. 12). they signify different signifieds. and Vladimir gives no explanation regarding what he means. Though the second utterance is composed of the same signifiers with the same order. “it hurts?” and Vladimir. Estragon repeats Vladimir‟s former question. Vladimir asks “it hurts?” and Estragon replies “Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!” (p. In that case. That is. natality. replies with the same words: “It hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!” (p. which imposes a burden of responsibility and regret upon happenings over which human beings can exercise no control. Being born. the happening of signification and particular connections between signifiers and signifieds are always subject to change. This very thought. Estragon‟s naïve utterance “Our being born?” can be seen as an instance of how such a mode of thinking. there are no one-to-one correspondence in language that would fix the connection between the signifier and the signified.

correspondents. according to Vladimir and Estragon. agents. to happen on the Day of Judgement. at this point it would be appropriate to introduce other two characters in the play: Pozzo and Lucky. Since the act of grace depends on the will of this so-called “Saviour”. Like the notion of Second Coming in Christianity. the status of human beings. God does not consult any other being while exercising its will. We learn from Vladimir that Godot told him that he could not promise for anything (p. Though Vladimir refuses to think about Estragon‟s question. Godot needs to think over. it is not to claim that there is a one-to-one correspondence with the themes of this play and the themes of Christianity. That is why they constantly wait for him and organize all their affairs around the possible but improbable moment at which Godot would show up. as I see it. it can be said this relationship is one of faith. Estragon and Vladimir display a strong faith in Godot‟s showing up.20). Though there is still the possibility that Godot might have told this to Vladimir in order to get rid of him. has to be „saved‟ by a “Saviour”. they are both aware of it and at the . Regarding the relationship of Estragon and Vladimir with Godot. They enter the scene right after the conversation between Estragon and Vladimir.of this biblical story since he finds some gaps in it. In the context of this story. the “Saviour”. consult his family.22). like the “Saviour”. in which Estragon asks whether they are tied to Godot (p. who is the only one entitled to carry out this act. it can be inferred that Godot is not an absolutely autonomous being. books. Second non-correspondence is the matter of promising. because. and bank accounts before taking a decision (p. But in the play. one has to wait for it to happen if it is to happen at all. whose natural place is seen within the flames of eternal damnation. 20). God‟s will does not depend on any other agency than God itself. For instance. never forgetting his possible but improbable coming. There are also some elements which fall outside the Christian themes. which follows from a sinful nature attributed to them. there is a connection with this notion of Christian “Saviour” and Godot. is being waited for without being questioned as such. But the Saviour‟s coming is something that is promised by himself. in the meantime passing the time. Godot. Human being. In this understanding. is “damned”. which presents an absolute faith in the second coming of the Christ. That is. However. The rope that ties them to Godot is a pre-conscious one. The fact that the oppositional notion he finds for “saved” is “damned” reveals another aspect of the aforementioned Christian notion of eternal sin. not attaching oneself to the mundane affairs. he never questions the notion of a “Saviour”. Having discussed what Godot and waiting for Godot means. in Christianity. one can say that they are tied to Godot on a pre-conscious level.

or levels. Vladimir desperately searches for the words that are close to Pozzo and says that he once knew a family called Gozzo. Then. At first sight. One of the most important points of Sausserean understanding of language is that particular connections between signifiers and signifieds are purely conventional and arbitrary. London: Fontana. and Pozzo drives Lucky before himself. p. are in themselves continuous. tr.1 Both streams. It is as if they are tied to the place. he carries Pozzo‟s bags. the proximity on the level of signifiers and of signifieds does not necessarily mean that this proximity would be observed to the same extent on the level of the signifieds. That is. But we see a material rope connecting Lucky and Pozzo. they try to exert a meaning through a play on the level of signifiers.same time. but they do not recognize him. A particular signifier is generated out of the difference with other terms and is connected to a signified which is again what it is only because it is not others. there are streams of signifiers and signifieds. the proximity of „oil‟ and „owl‟ as signifiers does not necessitate any semantical proximity. Lucky is Pozzo‟s slave. In addition. as can be observed from his fruitless efforts to find a signified for the signifier Pozzo. This is why Vladimir‟s efforts for recognizing Pozzo through a blind search on the level of signifiers remain empty. It is due to the differential nature of language. selections from Course on General Linguistics. Pozzo introduces himself to them. making him obey by means of a whip. though there is no physical attachment. According to Saussure. However. 1 Ferdinand de Saussure. this is not the case. 1981. they cannot leave the place at which Godot is supposed to show up.112 (Hereafter CGL) . Wade Baskin. Vladimir and Estragon takes Pozzo for Godot. as if the proximity on the level of the signifiers would necessitate a similarity on the level of the signifieds.

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