What is the importance of time in Waiting for Godot?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It is ironic that the importance of Time in this play is that Time has no importance.  Other than the rhythms of a day (each day, in fact)—waking in a ditch, vaguely remembering having been beaten, foraging in their pockets for a bit of carrot or turnip for “breakfast,” and beginning their “waiting,” until it is dark once more--the two tramps have no recollection or remembrance of “time” because few events punctuate their day.  The coming and going of Pozzo and his minion Lucky does not alleviate their waiting, nor does the boy with a message.  But nevertheless, Didi and Gogo keep repeating the phrase “That passed the time” whenever one of their word-games (which, ironically, can be called “pastimes”) distracts them from their waiting.  That is the central idea of Beckett’s philosophical statement about life: it is waiting, in a universe of meaningless activities that “pass the time,” for Godot to come.  The leaf on the tree in Act II is an ironic time message also: what appears as “seasons,” the passage of the year’s time, is in fact merely slight variations in an endless cycle of nothingness; “We give birth astride a grave; the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”

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