Describe the symbolic meaning of waiting in the drama Waiting for Godot?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that one of the basic elements that helps to bring out the symbolic meaning of waiting is the condition of paralysis that results as a part of it.  The characters who "wait" demonstrate a type of paralysis that precludes them from actually being able to take action when it might be warranted.  At the end, when it is present that Godot is not coming, Vladimir and Estragon can only wait. It is the only thing they know how to do.  While they go through it together, they have lost the ability to take action.  It is here where the full force of the symbolic meaning of waiting is brought out.  Beckett draws out a human condition whereby the true problem of waiting is one where individuals become accustomed to it, no longer understanding what it means to take action.  This human  condition becomes fully evident when it is evident that the only thing the characters in the drama know how to do is wait.  Even when it is evident that nothing is going to be gained from waiting, the sense of paralysis that results from waiting is one whereby individuals lose the understanding and the capacity to take action.  It is here where the true meaning of waiting can be fully seen.

unknowngirl08's profile pic

unknowngirl08 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

There are many interpretation of the play. One of them is that,"Waiting for Godot" is a paradigmatic play of the absurd theory. I think that the symbolic meaning of waiting is about the uselessness of human life. The characters who wait for the mysterious character Godot keeps on waiting but ultimately they are unable to meet him. Beckett wants to bring out the fact that all we humans consider many questions(death, the meaning of human existence and the place of,or lack of God in that existence and many others) very gravely, but ultimately our serious searching and waiting leds us to the mysterious death. In the end all our chase for power & wealth,our contemplations turns futile when death overpowers us.

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