What is meant by the quote "There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet" in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot?

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In Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, the quote "There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet" means that man, or people, will blame outside factors rather than accept blame themselves. This tendency to blame other people or outside issues usually comes to play in connection with life's failures or shortcomings.

The quotation also points to one's active versus inactive, or passive, engagement in life. For example, the two characters are passively waiting for Godot rather than taking charge of their lives themselves, so they are exhibiting a variation of blaming their boots rather than their feet.

They are not taking responsibility for their own fates. They are essentially waiting for an external force, in this case Godot, to arrive. Presumably, once Godot, or perhaps G-d or the divine power, is there, there will be substantial improvements in their lives.

However, why can't they act to improve their situations? Why can't they take action and take charge of their lives now? The answer is that they can; but they have given up their desire to change the course of their lives. They make no attempt to control their lives, but are content instead to blame their shoes or await an outside force rather than letting their feet (themselves) or their own free will make active changes to alter their destinies. It is easier to blame others and relegate responsibility.

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This quotation from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is essentially another interpretation of the idiom that "a poor workman blames his tools"—that is, when it is the person who is at fault, it is likely that the person will refuse to accept this and will instead blame elements external to his or her person.

This quotation, then, is expressing a similar concept. Beckett is suggesting that it is a fundamental part of human nature that makes us reluctant accept that we are responsible for a significant part of the blame when things go wrong in our lives or in our environments. On the contrary, it is human nature to blame the external elements we are using in order to further our goals—here represented in the form of boots—when we are unable to actually achieve what we would like to. The feet in this quotation, then, represent the human being as a whole. Where a human being has faltered, not prepared well, or is inherently damaged, it is the fault of that human when things do not go to plan. However, according to this quotation, it is likely that human beings will prefer to blame their “boots,” or their tools, for anything that has gone wrong, rather than look internally for a cause.

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This statement comes near the beginning of the play. As Act 1 opens, Estragon is sitting alone trying to take off one of his boots. After Vladimir enters, some of their conversation revolves around Estragon's unsuccessful effort to pull off the boot. Twice he asks for Vladimir's help but is ignored. His stuck foot clearly is causing him pain, but Vladimir mocks his complaint, saying "No one ever suffers but you" and turning the subject to his own pain. He takes off his hat, peers into the empty crown, and says, "Nothing to be done."

At this Estragon finally removes the boot, he examines it closely, turning it upside down, and finds "Nothing," then "There's nothing to show," and does not follow Vladimir's suggestion that he put it back on again.

This is the point where Vladimir comments, "There's man for you. . . ." It is actually a non sequitur, as Estragon has not been blaming anyone. Rather, both of them have seemed apathetic or fatalistic, speaking of "nothing." The tendency to move from interpersonal to abstract is more pronounced in Vladimir, so a general comment on human tendencies fits him. As he also has been staring into an empty garment, he probably includes himself in this statement.

Estragon remains with his boots off through the long scene, as other characters come and go. Critic David Brady notes that later, when Vladimir says he can't go barefoot, Estragon replies, "Christ did."

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As we see in Act 1, Vladimir, or Didi, is commentating on the human condition. When he states, "There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet," what he's saying (between the lines) is that man finds it easy to pass the blame instead of taking responsibility for his actions. Rather than blaming his own ineptitude or inabilities, man is likely to blame his surroundings or particular circumstances. In this case, man is more likely to blame his boots for when he trips or cannot walk straight when the real failure may simply be himself. This line is important to the play in that Didi is providing critical commentary on humanity and the human condition in a way that is both profound and succinct, though he appears to be absurd, especially when in the company of Estragon, or Gogo.

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