Waiting for Godot Questions and Answers
by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot book cover
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Why are there so many stage directions in Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot?

There are so many stage directions in Waiting for Godot because Beckett wants to provide some clues to the mystery of what's happening on stage. The stage directions serve to unlock the key to that mystery, while at the same time ensuring that not too much is given away and that some mystery still remains.

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The numerous stage directions to Waiting for Godot can be seen as providing some possible clues to the often confusing and bewildering actions that take place on stage. This is not to suggest for one moment that if we stare long enough and often enough at the stage directions then we will suddenly “get” what it is that Beckett seems to be driving at. It's simply to say that what's happening on stage—or what's not happening, as is often the case—will become a little less confusing and a little less bewildering if we see the stage directions as somehow connected to the action.

For example, act 2 begins with the very simple, prosaic stage directions “Next Day. Same Time. Same Place.” Time has now clearly passed, but not much has really changed. And in the meaningless, absurd, existentialist universe that Beckett gives us, that's only to be expected. But that's easy for us to say; the original audience would've had very different expectations of what a play should be. And having had...

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