Read Waiting for Godot Online

Authors: Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

A tragicomedy in 2 acts

By

Samuel Beckett

Estragon

Vladimir

Lucky

Pozzo

a boy

ACT I

A country road. A tree.

Evening.

Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. #

He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again.

As before.

Enter Vladimir.

ESTRAGON:

(
giving up again
)
.
Nothing to be done.

VLADIMIR:

(
advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart
)
.
I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. (
He broods, musing on the
struggle. Turning to Estragon.
) So there you are again.

ESTRAGON:

Am I?

VLADIMIR:

I'm glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.

ESTRAGON:

Me too.

VLADIMIR:

Together again at last! We'll have to celebrate this. But how? (
He reflects.
) Get up till I embrace you.

ESTRAGON:

(
irritably
)
.
Not now, not now.

VLADIMIR:

(
hurt, coldly
)
.
May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?

ESTRAGON:

In a ditch.

VLADIMIR:

(
admiringly
)
.
A ditch! Where?

ESTRAGON:

(
without gesture
)
.
Over there.

VLADIMIR:

And they didn't beat you?

ESTRAGON:

Beat me? Certainly they beat me.

VLADIMIR:

The same lot as usual?

ESTRAGON:

The same? I don't know.

VLADIMIR:

When I think of it . . . all these years . . . but for me . . . where would you be . . . (
Decisively.
) You'd be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.

ESTRAGON:

And what of it?

VLADIMIR:

(
gloomily
)
.
It's too much for one man. (
Pause. Cheerfully.
) On the other hand what's the good of losing heart now, that's what I say. We should have thought of it a million years ago, in the nineties.

ESTRAGON:

Ah stop blathering and help me off with this bloody thing.

VLADIMIR:

Hand in hand from the top of the Eiffel Tower, among the first. We were respectable in those days. Now it's too late. They wouldn't even let us up. (
Estragon tears at his boot.
) What are you doing?

ESTRAGON:

Taking off my boot. Did that never happen to you?

VLADIMIR:

Boots must be taken off every day, I'm tired telling you that. Why don't you listen to me?

ESTRAGON:

(
feebly
)
.
Help me!

VLADIMIR:

It hurts?

ESTRAGON:

(
angrily
)
.
Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!

VLADIMIR:

(
angrily
)
.
No one ever suffers but you. I don't count. I'd like to hear what you'd say if you had what I have.

ESTRAGON:

It hurts?

VLADIMIR:

(
angrily
)
.
Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!

ESTRAGON:

(
pointing
)
.
You might button it all the same.

VLADIMIR:

(
stooping
)
.
True. (
He buttons his fly.
) Never neglect the little things of life.

ESTRAGON:

What do you expect, you always wait till the last moment.

VLADIMIR:

(
musingly
)
.
The last moment . . . (
He meditates.
) Hope deferred maketh the something sick, who said that?

ESTRAGON:

Why don't you help me?

VLADIMIR:

Sometimes I feel it coming all the same. Then I go all queer. (
He takes off his hat, peers inside it, feels about inside it, shakes it, puts it on again.
) How shall I say? Relieved and at the same time . . . (
he searches for the word
) . . . appalled. (
With emphasis.
) AP-PALLED. (
He takes off his hat again, peers inside it.
) Funny. (
He knocks on the crown as though to dislodge a foreign body, peers into it again, puts it on again.
) Nothing to be done. (
Estragon with a supreme effort succeeds in pulling off his boot. He
peers inside it, feels about inside it, turns it upside down, shakes it, looks on the ground to see if anything has fallen out, finds nothing, feels inside it again, staring sightlessly before him.
) Well?

ESTRAGON:

Nothing.

VLADIMIR:

Show me.

ESTRAGON:

There's nothing to show.

VLADIMIR:

Try and put it on again.

ESTRAGON:

(
examining his foot
)
.
I'll air it for a bit.

VLADIMIR:

There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet. (
He takes off his hat again, peers inside it, feels about inside it, knocks on the crown, blows into it, puts it on again.
) This is getting alarming. (
Silence. Vladimir deep in thought, Estragon
pulling at his toes.
) One of the thieves was saved. (
Pause.
) It's a reasonable percentage. (
Pause.
) Gogo.

ESTRAGON:

What?

VLADIMIR:

Suppose we repented.

ESTRAGON:

Repented what?

VLADIMIR:

Oh . . . (
He reflects.
) We wouldn't have to go into the details.

ESTRAGON:

Our being born?

Vladimir breaks into a hearty laugh which he immediately stifles, his hand pressed to his pubis, his face contorted.

VLADIMIR:

One daren't even laugh any more.

ESTRAGON:

Dreadful privation.

VLADIMIR:

Merely smile. (
He smiles suddenly from ear to ear, keeps smiling, ceases as suddenly.
) It's not the same thing. Nothing to be done. (
Pause.
) Gogo.

ESTRAGON:

(
irritably
)
.
What is it?

VLADIMIR:

Did you ever read the Bible?

ESTRAGON:

The Bible . . . (
He reflects.
) I must have taken a look at it.

VLADIMIR:

Do you remember the Gospels?

ESTRAGON:

I remember the maps of the Holy Land. Coloured they were. Very pretty. The Dead Sea was pale blue. The very look of it made me thirsty. That's where we'll go, I used to say, that's where we'll go for our honeymoon. We'll swim. We'll be happy.

VLADIMIR:

You should have been a poet.

ESTRAGON:

I was. (
Gesture towards his rags.
) Isn't that obvious?

Silence.

VLADIMIR:

Where was I . . . How's your foot?

ESTRAGON:

Swelling visibly.

VLADIMIR:

Ah yes, the two thieves. Do you remember the story?

ESTRAGON:

No.

VLADIMIR:

Shall I tell it to you?

ESTRAGON:

No.

VLADIMIR:

It'll pass the time. (
Pause.
) Two thieves, crucified at the same time as our Saviour. One—

ESTRAGON:

Our what?

VLADIMIR:

Our Saviour. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other . . . (
he searches for the contrary of saved
) . . . damned.

ESTRAGON:

Saved from what?

VLADIMIR:

Hell.

ESTRAGON:

I'm going.

He does not move.

VLADIMIR:

And yet . . . (
pause
) . . . how is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four Evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a thief being saved. (
Pause.
) Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you, once in a way?

ESTRAGON:

(
with exaggerated enthusiasm
)
.
I find this really most extraordinarily interesting.

VLADIMIR:

One out of four. Of the other three, two don't mention any thieves at all and the third says that both of them abused him.

ESTRAGON:

Who?

VLADIMIR:

What?

ESTRAGON:

What's all this about? Abused who?

VLADIMIR:

The Saviour.

ESTRAGON:

Why?

VLADIMIR:

Because he wouldn't save them.

ESTRAGON:

From hell?

VLADIMIR:

Imbecile! From death.

ESTRAGON:

I thought you said hell.

VLADIMIR:

From death, from death.

ESTRAGON:

Well what of it?

VLADIMIR:

Then the two of them must have been damned.

ESTRAGON:

And why not?

VLADIMIR:

But one of the four says that one of the two was saved.

ESTRAGON:

Well? They don't agree and that's all there is to it.

VLADIMIR:

But all four were there. And only one speaks of a thief being saved. Why believe him rather than the others?

ESTRAGON:

Who believes him?

VLADIMIR:

Everybody. It's the only version they know.

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