How can one compare act 1 with act 2 of Waiting for Godot?

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Waiting for Godot is sometimes called "the play in which nothing happens twice." The fact that this is not quite true may be taken as a demonstration that there is no such thing as nothing or, alternatively, that there is no such thing as a perfect reproduction in an imperfect world. The two acts are very similar: much more similar than the first and second halves of most plays, and very much more like each other than either is like any part of any other play. Nonetheless, there are inevitably differences. There is even progress of a kind. The smallness of the differences increases the concentration of the audience. It is an irony applicable throughout life and literature that the smaller the differences are, the more inclined people are to focus on them.

Act 1 opens with a leafless tree, beside which Estragon is struggling to take off his boot. At the beginning of act 2, the boots have been removed and placed center-stage, along with Lucky's hat. The tree has four or five leaves. This,...

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