Is there a place for hope and God in this world? How to interpret the title Waiting for Godot? Why does Godot never come?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the absurdist play Waiting for Godot there is indeed a place for hope and God.  The question is, to what point is religion a good or a bad thing in the play. We find that the topic of religion is important enough to get mentioned often but, as with other abstract things which are the constructs of men, it is open to interpretation and personal meaning. 

The fact remains that the characters are unable to move, change or  make any other choice but.....wait for Godot. And who exactly is Godot? 

While it/he never shows up, Vlad and Estragon have placed a semi-divine value upon him. Even Samuel Becket specifies that the proper pronunciation of the name of Godot should emphasize on the GOD syllable regardless of the common mispronunciation of the name that emphasizes on the last syllable. That is a telling factor for a double entendre. 

Moreover, this Godot has a lot of influence in the main characters. The two men are waiting for Godot to "save" them, "help" them, "come for" them. In the same token, they mention having fear of him punishing them, and they make also a mention of having prayed to Godot.

ESTRAGON 
What exactly did we ask him [Godot] for?
VLADIMIR 
Were you not there?
ESTRAGON 
I can't have been listening.
VLADIMIR 
Oh . . . Nothing very definite.
ESTRAGON 
A kind of prayer.
VLADIMIR 
Precisely.
ESTRAGON 
A vague supplication.

All this being said, isn't the act of waiting for a deity, complete with its powers, and consequences what every religion is based upon? That "wait" for that "something" that will change and influence everywhere is no different than what Vladimir and Estragon are doing. 

And why does Godot not show up? That is also a matter of interpretation. The only evidence of its existence is the word of two men of questionable mental sanity.  The essence of Vladimir and Estragon is the wait alone, after all, as an existentialist play there is a void of a central problem. Therefore, Vlad and E are meant to wait. And, perhaps, so are we all. 

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