Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

Godot

 

This was named the “most significant English language play of the 20th century” in a poll of 800 British playwrights, actors, directors and journalists.  Do I agree with that?  Probably not.  I think that Godot’s exalted “significance” stems from the fact that Beckett’s play is open to so many interpretations.  Does the never-seen title character represent God?  Of the four main characters, does one pair represent capitalism and the other socialism?  Is the entire thing an allegory for the Cold War?  Who knows?  Apparently, Beckett didn’t confirm or deny any of those theories.

But that’s part of the charm of this two-act gem – you can read practically anything into it, and probably will.  The story itself struck me as an absurdist Of Mice and Men:  Two vagabonds spend consecutive days waiting on a country road for the mysterious Godot, diverting themselves (and us) with a mixture of fatalistic philosophy, slapstick comedy, and Alice in Wonderland wordplay.

 

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