Waiting for Godot is a play where 'nothing happens twice.' Explain.

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wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To understand this witticism, you must be familiar with other “modern” plays, (let us say Ibsen’s or Chekhov’s) enough to realize that they contain, besides character depictions, “plots". That is, a playgoer expects to witness a story acted out, a “drama” in which two or more opposing wills confront each other in a real-life situation, with some sort of resolution, called the “denouement.” While Waiting for Godot starts out looking like two characters in a dilemma beginning to resolve some sort of conflict, Gogo and Didi only talk ("That passed the time”) while waiting for a mysterious "employer" of some sort (Godot) whose character is never discussed or realized on stage. While in a normal realistic play, a certain tentative progress (“development”) toward a “resolution” has been achieved by the close of the first act, in Godot no such progress has been made (it should be noted that before Godot, plays had three acts). When the second act begins, the only sign of change is that the barren tree has sprouted a leaf, implying that a new season has arrived, but nothing else substantial has changed (true, Pozzo and Luck’y situation is altered, but their “story” is no closer to a resolution). This contradiction to the audience’s expectations, and the absence of any resolution (the play ends with “Let’s go…yes, let’s go.” And the stage direction “THEY DO NOT MOVE.”) caused someone to remark “Nothing happens…twice.”

abwa2013 | Student

It is a play where nothing happens twice because of the structure of the play. The two Acts mirror one another and contain subtle differences that set them apart. 

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Waiting for Godot

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