Friday, 19 June 2015

Book Review & Favourite Quotes | Waiting for Godot

Some time ago I had a phase, when I would write out, underline and highlight every interesting or inspiring line in a book I’d be reading at the moment. So I ended up with quite a collection of quotes and nowhere to put them, until now.

I’ll try to sort everything out and use these amazing quotes in my blog posts. Maybe they’ll be in book reviews, or maybe I’ll just post a random assortment of quotes from all the different books I’ve ever read. I’ll figure it out as I go. And sorry in advance if some of the quotes are not accurate. A lot of the books I read, are in translation, but I’ll try to find the right English versions of the quotes.

So today I’ll share with you some of the precious words, I’ve picked up from an absurdist play Waiting for Godot written by Samuel Beckett (on Goodreads).This is a truly amazing work of literature. It seems like it has been written ages ago. In fact, I’ve tried looking it up on the Gutenberg Project website, not realising that this play wasn’t even in the public domain, as it was written somewhere in the late 1940s (first premiered in 1953). But the wisdom of this play gives the feeling of something I might read in ancient texts.

He who can do more, can do less.

The first quote is actually an English saying, but I’ve first read it in the play Waiting for Godot.

Three or four years ago I saw this play performed at a local youth theatre. It was so bizarre and thought provoking. Most of the time it seemed like nothing was going on, yet the characters would startle you every time they spoke. Each line of this play is a quote of its own. As I’ve read in the synopsis, Waiting for Godot is a play, where nothing happens twice.

Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!

It might sound boring, but the suspense of the play made me hold my breath till the end of the performance. I’ve heard people say, that it’s hard to read plays, because you can’t really follow the story with all the characters. And partly it’s true, because you just read the dialogue, and all the action is supposed to be acted out on stage. But that’s not the case with Waiting for Godot. First of all, because there are only four or five very distinct characters, so it’s impossible to mix them up. And the second reason you might guess yourselves.

In the meantime, nothing happens.

Still the dialogues are so dense with thoughts and ideas. It’s been awhile, since I’ve read it, and watched the play on stage, so I might not remember the exact thoughts that it brought up in me, but I do remember, how it made me feel.

We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?

On Goodreads I’ve found a lot of other interesting quotes, that didn’t catch my eye, while I was reading, so maybe this play is asking for a re-read? I don’t know. It might be.

The whole point of the story is, that there are two men, Vladimir and Estragon, standing at the side of a road and waiting for a guy named Godot. Then two other men appear, Pozzo and Lucky, who seem to be a master and his servant. They talk about seemingly random things, but all their little remarks add some deeper meaning to the conversation, as if they aren’t really talking to each other.

Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. (Pause.) Let us not speak well of it either.

There’s a lot of waiting in this play.

Pozzo: I don't seem to be able… (long hesitation) to depart.
Estragon: Such is life.

The first act ends with a boy showing up and telling the men, that Godot is not coming today, but he is sure to come the next day. So they decide to come and wait for him again, but stay motionless as the lights fade.

The next act partly repeats itself, the characters and situation are the same, yet the details are different. And they once again are waiting for Godot.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is an absurdist play, so it doesn’t really have to make any sense. But there are many different interpretations of the meaning, so maybe everyone is free to decide for himself, and Beckett does give you a lot of space for though wandering. So you can think whatever you want to think - it’s all there.

What is my interpretation of this play? I can’t say, what were my initial impressions, I don’t remember anymore. But judging by my favourite quotes, it’s about life and existence. Why are we here? What are we doing? What is the whole meaning of this? It all makes no sense, never did, never will. But this meaningless has its own beauty.

The same way as chaos has its own spontaneous order. But that, I think, is from a completely different play.


  1. I saw the play years ago at our local theatre and kept alert until the very end. I love it when there is room for interpretation.

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  2. Wow you are really good at book reviews! This is great!