Waiting for Godot Questions and Answers
by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot book cover
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What is the significance of the tree in "Waiting for Godot"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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With Beckett, it's best not to get tied down to one particular meaning. At certain points, all that you can do is put forward your own interpretations and hope for the best. Having said that, some interpretations have more credibility than others. My own interpretation is intended to point you in a particular direction, but no more. So, what follows is not intended to be in any way definitive.

The tree is a very useful plot device in that it anchors Vladimir and Estragon to a specific place, a place where they are waiting for Godot. We learn that Godot told the two men to wait for him by the willow tree, so here they are. The tree doesn't simply provide a decorous background or a stage prop; it's an integral part of the play.

As mentioned by a previous contributor, the willow tree has great religious significance. In the Judeo-Christian tradition it represents, among other things, the promise of new life as well as chastity. But the willow symbol is even older than that, going way back...

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