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The so-called “unities” of drama are a concept from the “rules” of tragedy put forth by Aristotle. They are the unities of time (one day), space (one location), and “action” (one conflict). Modern drama since Ibsen and Chekhov have long ago abandoned those ideas, along with “tragedy” itself. Beckett’s play is a deviation from other expectations of the audience toward the dramatic unfolding of plot and character. The unity of time is, of course, mocked throughout the entire play, with such remarks as “Or was it yesterday?” The very fact that the two main characters cannot tell what day it is is a violation of this unity, unless all the action actually “takes place” in the same day, despite Gogo and Didi’s perceptions. (Note also the putative changing of the seasons, signified by the leaf on the tree.) The unity of space is also mocked, whenever the characters discuss whether they are in the same location, or whether “Godot” told them to be exactly there, etc. As for dramatic action, there is none, except for their waiting and their immobility. In other words, just because the question can be posed does not mean that it bears any relevance to unraveling the play’s philosophical meaning. Suffice it to say that the play is a parody, a “send-up” of the audience’s dramatic expectations of the unities. The one major comparison to Greek tragedy is the catharsis the audience feel s at the play’s end – we are all waiting, for a “calling,” for a function, in this existential world.
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