What does Pozzo symbolize?

In Waiting for Godot, Pozzo may symbolize the harmful effects of power and greed. Pozzo is a materialistic, petty tyrant who initially enjoys subjugating Lucky. By the play’s end, Pozzo has met his downfall and their roles are reversed.

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One interpretation of the character of Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot views him as a symbol of the wretched excesses of capitalism. When the arrogant desire for money and power go unchecked, Beckett implies, the person afflicted with those vices will ultimately suffer, not just the people...

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One interpretation of the character of Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot views him as a symbol of the wretched excesses of capitalism. When the arrogant desire for money and power go unchecked, Beckett implies, the person afflicted with those vices will ultimately suffer, not just the people they dominate.

In the early parts of the play, the wealthy owner Pozzo relishes his control over Lucky. Physically subjugating and even humiliating another person seem to bring Pozzo satisfaction, and he shows no remorse over his inhumane treatment of the other man. This dehumanization also corresponds to the effects of enslavement. By the end, however, their roles are reversed. Having lost the things he once valued, Pozzo is dependent on Lucky, who silently guides his former master.

When the pair first appears on stage, Pozzo is holding a rope that is tied around Lucky’s neck. The fact that Lucky is carrying the other man’s goods suggests the inequality in their relationship, as Lucky resembles an animal. Both Pozzo’s whipping him and their dialogue reveal the enjoyment that Pozzo derives from believing he has total control over Lucky. Referring to the other man as a “pig,” Pozzo mostly barks commands but sometimes praises Lucky in a patronizing way.

Pozzo’s downfall, which is revealed near the play’s end, may be understood as an allusion to classical Greek tragedy. Although Pozzo is not heroic, he suffers a reversal of fortune. Pozzo is blinded, echoing the fate of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex. Thus, the audience can also see the consequences of hubris, or excessive pride.

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