In Waiting for Godot, why do Vladimir and Estragon stay together, despite frequently suggesting to part?

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It is important to realise the way in which Beckett presents the friendship between Vladmir and Estragon, even though the depth of this friendship is masked by the banter that characterises their dialogue. From the very beginning of the play, when Vladimir says to Estragon, "I'm glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever," it is clear that their apparent nonchalance towards each other masks a deep and abiding commitment to their friendship that seems to hold them together in a world that has little to offer. 

This is often represented obliquely, such as when Estragon manages to finally, "with a supreme effort" take off his boot only when Vladimir and he are together. Even though Vladimir says "Boots must be taken off every day," it is clear that Estragon's achievement is in part spurred on by the presence of his friend and the strength that this friendship gives him. In a bleak world where we have to carry out such routine tasks every day we either must carry them out alone without encouragement or support or with other friends who struggle with such routine tasks just as we do. Vladimir and Estragon are never serious about leaving each other, and Beckett seems to offer one consolation in this play that is otherwise so bleak: the strength of friendship. 


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