Saturday, 30 April 2016

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot is a short play, ‘a tragicomedy in two acts’ written by Samuel Becket. It is basically about two friends, Vladimir and Estragon, who wait for the arrival of a third person, Godot. Godot never comes. For me, Waiting for Godot is among the most profound plays ever written simply because of the wide range of interpretations that could be drawn from it in terms of philosophy, politics, religion, existentialism and so on. I also think it is a great play because there exists the danger (or enjoyment) of given the book meanings that it does not have; for example, there are schools of thought that imagine that by Godot, Samuel Becket was referring to God and religiosity. Samuel Becket has denounced these claims and of the common misunderstanding of the book he had said, ‘why people have to complicate a thing so simple, I can’t make out.’ But that, as far as I am concerned, is the point of fiction. In many of the stories I write, I try to leave some space for interpretations and the best answer I have when I am asked why my story ends so abruptly is ‘look, I am done. Put your own ending to it if you think my ending is horrible; whatever will help you sleep better at night.’
There have been many insinuations and conclusions that have been made as to who or what Godot in Samuel Becket’s play represents, some people, as stated, have imagined Godot as God and the fervency of Christ’s people representing the wait for His second coming by Didi (Vladimir) and Gogo (Estragon). Some others have attached political undertones to the play with the appearance of Pozzo, who is some sought slave master, and his ‘servant’ Lucky towards the end of the first and second Acts, how society’s ruling class is considered to be impassive and inclined to keep the masses beneath them using whichever means is necessary; and then there is the existentialist angle where the whole play may seem to suggest the immense pointlessness and waste of time that human existence is.
However, I see Godot as perfection. Throughout the play these two men who seem to be good for each other, who seem to complement each other wait for this Godot individual because they feel that their existences, both individual existence and group existence would be better for it. They feel that they would become more than they are when Godot arrives. Quite simply, they think they need Godot, but do they really?
Growing up, perhaps even up till this moment, I imagine love and perfection as having a link that is inextricable. Loves comes with perfection and that is that. I imagine that compatibility is something that comes naturally; there is no compatibility once you have to adjust something. Two people being in a relationship, for example, must be compatible – perfect for each other; there can be no abrasion of parts, there can be no removal of parts there can be no change of habits because once there is, it becomes forced-compatibility and forced-compatibility is not compatibility.
I still think this way, though now I know it is not an accurate line of thought because perfection never comes, it is not achievable it is not rational it is false. This is why I think Godot in Samuel Beckets Waiting for Godot is perfection, because he never arrives and his existence, as far as I am concerned, is questionable. The dictionary defines perfection as freedom from fault or defect: flawlessness. Every human is flawed; Vladimir and Estragon are flawed, they bicker on and on about the same things, they contemplate suicide and assure themselves that they would come with a rope with which to hang themselves tomorrow but they never leave and so this tomorrow that they speak of never comes. They laugh at themselves and with themselves they laugh at things that are not funny and gnaw at carrots and turnips and bones. But see, we all do; every single one of us, we are flawed in our own different ways; we are all crooked. W. H. Auden wrote one of my favourite poems called ‘As I Walked Out One Evening’ the penultimate verse goes:
‘O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your Crooked heart.’
Waiting for the perfect person to come is like waiting for Godot and even though I would try to convince myself by saying things like people must be perfect for each other and when there is abrasion or adjustment or change there is no longer compatibility, the truth is compatibility and perfection are just figment of our imaginations.
Till next time, Keep dreaming!
To everyone including myself.