Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Vladimir (vla-dee-MEER), also called Didi (dee-DEE), and
Estragon (ehs-tra-GOH[N]), also called Gogo (goh-GOH), two tramps. In this play, action is unimportant; the characters remain undeveloped as they wait impatiently for Godot, who remains a mysterious entity, possibly a local landowner but also a symbol of spiritual seeking. They gnaw carrots, rest their tired feet, and engage in other simple activities while their conversations reveal the helplessness of their situation. Throughout the play, there is every suggestion that the two live estranged from a state of grace that is hoped for but never realized. Often considering suicide, they are caught in a calm of inactivity between hope and despair in their longing for salvation, which is linked somehow with Godot. When the play ends, the two are still waiting for the promised appearance of Godot.
Pozzo (poh-ZOH), a materialist. A rich, boisterous tyrant, he is obviously an expounder of Nietzschean doctrines and materialistic concepts. Pozzo admits that Lucky has taught him all the beautiful things he knows, but now his servant has become unbearable and is driving him mad. At first, he drives his servant with a rope. Later, when Pozzo reappears, blinded in symbolic...
(The entire section is 296 words.)
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The messenger who arrives near the end of each act to inform Vladimir and Estragon that Mr. Godot will not arrive is simply called "boy." Timid and fearful, he addresses Vladimir as Mr. Albert and admits in the first act that Pozzo and his whip had frightened him and kept him from entering sooner. He claims that he tends goats for Mr. Godot and that Godot is good to him, though he admits that Godot beats the boy's brother. On each visit the boy claims to have not seen Vladimir and Estragon before. In the second act the boy reports that he thinks Godot has a white beard.
Estragon is one of the two men (often referred to as "tramps") who are waiting for Mr. Godot. He is the first to appear in the play and is more docile and timid than his friend Vladimir; Estragon usually follows Vladimir's lead. At times assertive, Estragon is more emotional and volatile than Vladimir but less engaged—he gives up more easily, does a lot of sleeping, likes to dream, and forgets more easily. He even forgets Godot's name at one point. He is confused more frequently than Vladimir and is more frequently afraid—perhaps because he is the one more often beaten and physically abused by others. He has bad feet, which hurt him in his too-small boots and which smell when he has his boots off. He is more skeptical and questions more than...
(The entire section is 747 words.)