Broadly discuss the characteristics of Estragon in Waiting for Godot?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Estragon (also found under the nickname GOGO), is one of the main characters of Samuel Beckett's absurd play Waiting for Godot.

The most salient characteristics of Estragon in the play come from his intellect, rather than his demeanor, or his looks. Almost immediately after the play begins we realize that he is basically the weakest link of the Vladimir-Estragon dyad. For once, he needs much reinforcement and help from Vladimir in terms of taking care of himself, understanding things, and remembering situations.

Estragon does not ponder upon things, but worries about them instead. In the play he is in a consistent state of anxiety and doubt. He wants to leave Vladimir, but never does. He questions the existence of Godot, but keeps waiting for him at Vladimir's request. He is what we could call a simpleton.

This being said, Estragon represents a weaker dimension of society. He is the follower, the one who obeys the order rather than initiate it, and lives in such a cloud that he hardly has time to realize what is happening around him.

Symbolically speaking, Estragon represents living in oblivion. Not knowing what is going on in the world around you, and following whatever others tell you to do. He is every person who does not control life and, contrastingly, allows life to control him (along with Pozzo and who knows how many)

Socially, Estragon represents the typical oppressed citizen that does not question nor fight the current situation: He simply lets everything happen even if it means getting beat up, or talked down to. Contrastingly to Lucky, who has no choice, Estragon very well could change his life if only he weren't so co-dependent on Vladimir.

In conclusion, Estragon is the weaker man between himself and Vladimir. He is also a co-dependent man, a clueless man, a floater, and someone who does not live reality as it should be. He goes with the flow and, since he isn't able to control his life, he worries about what will happen to "it". Like the rest, he waits for Godot endlessly, and for no purpose whatsoever.

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Waiting for Godot

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