Waiting for Godot

August 24, 2007 at 5:48 pm (20th century, act, book, characters, french, german production, moon, paintings, play, samuel beckett, settings, tragicomedy)

Waiting for Godot is one of the best play by Samuel Beckett i have ever read. Voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century ” Waiting for Godot is Beckett’s own translation of En attendant Godot, subtitled (in English only) “a tragicomedy in two acts”. The original French text was written “between 9th October 1948 and 29th January1949 … after Molloy and Malone Meurt but before L’Innommable.

History: It was Beckett’s escape from the increasingly despotic interiority of the fictional trilogy; in Beckett’s own phrasing, ‘I began to write Godot as a relaxation, to get away from the awful prose I was writing at the time. It was inspired, according to Beckett himself, by a painting by Caspar David Friedrich. Ruby Cohn recalls seeing the painting,Man and Woman Observing the Moon of 1824, along with Beckett who “announced unequivocally, ‘This was the source of Waiting for Godot, you know. “He may well have confused two paintings. For, at other times, he drew the attention of friends to Two Men Contemplating the Moon from 1819, in which two men dressed in cloaks and viewed from the rear are looking at a full moon framed by the black branches of a large, leafless tree.” In either case both paintings are similar enough that what he attested to could apply equally to either.

Setting : There is only one scene throughout both acts. Two men are waiting on a country road by a skeletal tree. The script calls for Estragon to sit on a low mound but in practice – as in Beckett’s own 1975 German production – this is usually a stone. In the first act the tree is bare. In the second, although the script specifies it is the next day, a few leaves have appeared. The minimal description calls to mind “the idea of the ‘lieu vague’, a location which should not be particularized”

Characters:

Vladimir & Estragon

Pozzo & Lucky

The Boys

Godot

Synopsis:

Act I & Act II

i say its a must read.


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