Sunday, August 31, 2008

Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett (1949)

A play that can be interpreted at many levels, I've always favoured the existentialist interpretation which deals with the meaning of human existence and the onus of each man to carry his own burden and make of his life what he can, however difficult it might be...
An excerpt I once knew by heart and could recite at the drop of a hat and to me, perhaps the most important part of the text...
VLADIMIR: But that is not the question. What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come–
POZZO: Help!
VLADIMIR: Or for night to fall.
(Pause.) We have kept our appointment and that's an end to that. We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?
ESTRAGON: Billions.
VLADIMIR: You think so?
ESTRAGON: I don't know.
VLADIMIR: You may be right.
POZZO: Help!
VLADIMIR: All I know is
that the hours are long, under these conditions, and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which —how shall I say— which may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit. You may say it is to prevent our reason from foundering. No doubt. But has it not long been straying in the night without end of the abysmal depths? That's what I sometimes wonder. You follow my reasoning?
ESTRAGON: (aphoristic for once). We are all born mad. Some remain so.
POZZO: Help! I'll pay you!
ESTRAGON: How much?
POZZO: One hundred francs!
ESTRAGON: It's not enough.
VLADIMIR: I wouldn't go so far as that.
ESTRAGON: You think it's enough?
VLADIMIR: No, I mean so far as to assert that I was weak in the head when I came into the world. But that is not the question.
POZZO: Two hundred!
VLADIMIR: We wait. We are bored. (He throws up his hand.) No, don't protest, we are bored to death, there's no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste. Come, let's get to work! (He advances towards the heap, stops in his stride.) In an instant all will vanish and we'll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness!

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