Abstract illustration of two hats under a leafless tree in black and white

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

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Act I, Section A-1
1. Estragon opens the play with the statement: “Nothing to be done.” What supports that statement in this section? What contradicts it?

2. What is the status of these men in society? How does Beckett convey this?

Act I, Section A-2
1. How does Beckett use language to define his characters and their relationship to each other?

2. Who does Godot seem to be at this point in the play? What could he possibly offer Estragon and Vladimir to improve their lives? Is there any suggestion that he might not appear?

Act I, Section A-3
1. Describe Pozzo and Lucky and their relationship to each other.

2. Compare the relationship between Vladimir and Estragon to the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky.

Act I, Section A-4
1. Does Pozzo’s character change during this section of the play? Does he seem to be the same character who entered at the beginning of Section A-3?

2. What evidence is there, in this section, that Pozzo and Lucky become part of a “play within a play?”

Act I, Section A-5
1. Estragon wants Lucky to dance; Vladimir wants him to think. How do their choices fit in with their general characters?

2. Lucky’s speech has been called gibberish or the “word-salad” of schizophrenics. What elements of it make sense?

Act I, Section A-6
1. How does the theme of “silence” tie in with the theme of “waiting” in this section?

2. By the end of this section, there is evidence of the “pseudocouple” or pairing of characters in Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky, and the boy and Godot. Describe and contrast each couple.

Act II, Section B-1
1. How does the theme of “circularity” define this section?

2. Compare and contrast the ways Vladimir and Estragon deal with “time” and the past.

Act II , Section B-2
1. Describe the ways Vladimir and Estragon pass the time in this section.

2. What indications are there that time has passed? Have the characters changed in any way?

Act II, Section B-3
1. Compare the contrast Pozzo in A-3 with Pozzo in B-3.

2. How would critics justify that the play never reaches a “peak” but, rather, a “nadir.” Include definitions of each term in your answer.

Act II, Section B-4
1. Show how the biblical reference to Cain and Abel might apply to any or all of these characters.

2. Compare and contrast the ways in which all of these characters have been affected by the passage of time

Act II, Section B-5
1. Estragon wants to tell Vladimir about his dream, but Vladimir does not want to hear about it. What does this indicate about each character?

2. What evidence is there that Godot might bring salvation? What evidence is there that he might not?

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