In Waiting for Godot," why does the playwright name a character "Lucky" when he isn't?

Expert Answers
linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Waiting for Godot is absurdist drama, in which nothing is what it seems to be. The world cannot be explained logically. This form of drama was at first a reaction to the atrocities of World War II and the existentialist philosophical movement: Life has no other meaning than we are born and then we die.

"Absurdist Theatre" discards traditional plot, characters, and action to assault its audience with a disorienting experience. Characters often engage in seemingly meaningless dialogue or activities, and, as a result, the audience senses what it is like to live in a universe that doesn't "make sense." Beckett and others who adopted this style felt that this disoriented feeling was a more honest response to the post World War II world than the traditional belief in a rationally ordered universe. Waiting for Godot remains the most famous example of this form of drama.

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lucky is anything but lucky. Many times an author will name his character something that indicates the opposite of the character's circumstances. But we do it in real life. A really big man is sometimes called Tiny. It is ironic because Tiny would indicate someone who is tiny, but instead, it's the opposite. Lucky is the same kind of thing. Instead of being lucky, he's an abused slave who communicates a sadness throughout the play.

duncanc01 | Student

Beckett wrote Lucky on purpose- after all, no playwright writes anything by accident. Lucky is meant to be compared to the likes of Vladimir and Estragon, who are caught in limbo. Because Lucky is out of this limbo, it can be said he is indeed lucky- he does not have to repeat the process of waiting that Vladimir and Estragon have to repeat. Lucky always has a definite role within the text. Even though this role is being a slave and puppet under Pozzo, he always has a task to complete. This is why Beckett named Lucky, well, Lucky, as it draws attention to the fact that Vladimir and Estragon are forever waiting- after all, '"Nothing ever changes, no one ever comes, it's awful!"