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Waiting for Godot (Extract)

Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's premiere. It has been voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century".

ESTRAGON:

(violently). I'm hungry!

VLADIMIR:

Do you want a carrot?

ESTRAGON:

Is that all there is?

VLADIMIR:

I might have some turnips.

ESTRAGON:

Give me a carrot. (Vladimir rummages in his pockets, takes out a turnip and gives it to Estragon who takes a bite out of it. Angrily.) It's a turnip!

VLADIMIR:

Oh pardon! I could have sworn it was a carrot. (He rummages again in his pockets, finds nothing but turnips.) All that's turnips. (He rummages.) You must have eaten the last. (He rummages.) Wait, I have it. (He brings out a carrot and gives it to Estragon.) There, dear fellow. #

 

(Estragon wipes the carrot on his sleeve and begins to eat it.) Make it last, that's the end of them.

ESTRAGON:

(chewing). I asked you a question.

VLADIMIR:

Ah.

ESTRAGON:

Did you reply?

VLADIMIR:

How's the carrot?

ESTRAGON:

It's a carrot.

VLADIMIR:

So much the better, so much the better. (Pause.) What was it you wanted to know?

ESTRAGON:

I've forgotten. (Chews.) That's what annoys me. (He looks at the carrot appreciatively, dangles it between finger and thumb.) I'll never forget this carrot. (He sucks the end of it meditatively.) Ah yes, now I remember.

VLADIMIR:

Well?

ESTRAGON:

(his mouth full, vacuously). We're not tied?

VLADIMIR:

I don't hear a word you're saying.

ESTRAGON:

(chews, swallows). I'm asking you if we're tied.

VLADIMIR:

Tied?

ESTRAGON:

Ti-ed.

VLADIMIR:

How do you mean tied?

ESTRAGON:

Down.

VLADIMIR:

But to whom? By whom?

ESTRAGON:

To your man.

VLADIMIR:

To Godot? Tied to Godot! What an idea! No question of it. (Pause.) For the moment.

ESTRAGON:

His name is Godot?

VLADIMIR:

I think so.

ESTRAGON:

Fancy that. (He raises what remains of the carrot by the stub of leaf, twirls it before his eyes.) Funny, the more you eat the worse it gets.

VLADIMIR:

With me it's just the opposite.

ESTRAGON:

In other words?

VLADIMIR:

I get used to the muck as I go along.

ESTRAGON:

(after prolonged reflection). Is that the opposite?

VLADIMIR:

Question of temperament.

ESTRAGON:

Of character.

VLADIMIR:

Nothing you can do about it.

ESTRAGON:

No use struggling.

VLADIMIR:

One is what one is.

ESTRAGON:

No use wriggling.

VLADIMIR:

The essential doesn't change.

ESTRAGON:

Nothing to be done. (He proffers the remains of the carrot to Vladimir.) Like to finish it?

A terrible cry, close at hand. Estragon drops the carrot. They remain motionless, then together make a sudden rush towards the wings. Estragon stops halfway, runs back, picks up the carrot, stuffs it in his pocket, runs to rejoin Vladimir who is waiting for him, stops again, runs back, picks up his boot, runs to rejoin Vladimir. Huddled together, shoulders hunched, cringing away from the menace, they wait. #

 

Enter Pozzo and Lucky. Pozzo drives Lucky by means of a rope passed round his neck, so that Lucky is the first to enter, followed by the rope which is long enough to let him reach the middle of the stage before Pozzo appears. Lucky carries a heavy bag, a folding stool, a picnic basket and a greatcoat, Pozzo a whip.

POZZO:

(off). On! (Crack of whip. Pozzo appears. They cross the stage. Lucky passes before Vladimir and Estragon and exit. Pozzo at the sight of Vladimir and Estragon stops short. The rope tautens. Pozzo jerks at it violently.) Back!

Noise of Lucky falling with all his baggage. Vladimir and Estragon turn towards him, half wishing half fearing to go to his assistance. Vladimir takes a step towards Lucky, Estragon holds him back by the sleeve.

 


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