Vladimir and Estragon are two tramps waiting for someone who is never going to come around. We all may find ourselves waiting at one point in time may it are at the grocery store or simply waiting outside of my English class. One may come to find that these two characters are a picturesque example of the futility of human life. “They talk, they walk, they play different games, they abuse and rebuke each other, even they try to attempt suicide to free themselves from the agonies of life but this remains just an abortive attempt” (Shabnum 1).
This inability to free themselves from the shackles of their average day to day monotony makes for a repetitive and predictable play. This repetitiveness only furthers the idea that the pair will be waiting for Godot eternally. The pair seems to be drawn to Godot for one reason or another and cannot bring themselves to leave before they meet Godot.
“As Vladimir and Estragon are already condemned to endless suffering in the form of ceaseless waiting, the spectator might expect them to focus their game on a more optimistic issue” (Karic 2).
As Vladimir and Estragon wait on Godot they exemplify the senselessness of human life. Vladimir who can be characterized as the alpha male of the group constantly states that he would like to leave, but the drive to stay put precedes his desire to leave. Knowing this one could assume that Vladimir is extremely discontent with himself. His alpha male persona he portrays is simply a façade to hide his inner feelings of boredom and loneliness. The exchanging of hats between Vladimir and Pozzo show that, Vladimir is yearning for outside stimulus. This give-and-take of hats can be looked at as an interchange of Vladimir’s and Pozzo’s thoughts. This longing for an external source of sensory information is what keeps Vladimir endlessly waiting.
Estragon is a sharp contrast from the boldness of Vladimir. Estragon seems to be sitting throughout the entire play which shows his submissiveness to Vladimir. This submissiveness not only defines Estragon’s personality but his viewpoint on life as well. As the play begins to unwind Estragon’s mental continuity begins to deteriorate. This mental deterioration is caused by the endless waiting on Godot. “In Waiting for Godot, the gradual dilapidation of every character can be felt through different forms of depravity, for depravity exists in all its form – mental, physical, spiritual”(Shabnum 1). This decline is exemplified when Estragon cannot recognize Pozzo and Lucky. Estragon is stuck waiting for Godot for many of the aforementioned reasons stated above. Foremost, Estragon can never seem to make decisions on his own which in turn will keep him waiting for Godot. This lack of decision making on Estragon’s part shows that his real reason why he waits for Godot, is that he is seeking some sort of guidance which Godot can provide.
If one can view Godot as a heavenly figure then a religious aspect is added onto why the pair continues to wait for Godot. “In any case, the tramps expect that when Godot will at last come, they will sleep in a warm and secure shelter, in dry straw, their stomachs filled, and this is why one of them exclaims, “We shall be saved” (Terrian 7). This idea that Godot is a god figure coming to provide the pair with salvation from death is what keeps them waiting. While the pair continues to wait on Godot they are inevitably coming closer and closer to their death. Although, Vladimir and Estragon could be waiting for a savior they are at the same time killing themselves. In both of the characters minds there is something that Godot can provide for them that they themselves cannot obtain. This only further reinforces the idea that Godot is either some sort of angelical or extraterrestrial being. Why would the pair continue to wait for Godot if they could achieve what they wanted without Godot? The possibility of Godot bestowing the pair with something unworldly is clearly a prospect for thought.
Each character also brings to the table many characteristics both innate and learned. First, Vladimir easily draws us into his persona by showing us that he is the most assertive of the pair. In most cases people are drawn to figures of authority. Vladimir perfectly takes on this role of authority over Estragon and this is what first draws the reader into his persona. As one delves deeper into Vladimir’s actions and persona it is easily seen that Vladimir cannot make decisions easily.
This is a stern contradiction with his commanding relationship over Estragon. This distinction between being a leader and being unable to make decisions is what makes the pair extremely magnetic. Almost like a married couple, the pair has become so used to bickering and fighting that they need that in their lives to survive. This reliance on one another is also what draws the pair together. The reliance that each of these characters has on one another is not a true friendship as neither of their actions show any deeper relationship between the two. Many times throughout the play Vladimir and Estragon both suggest that they would be better off alone but the pair is extremely hesitant to separate from one another.
The setting in which the pair are stuck waiting for Godot is extremely desolate. This lack of anything else to rely on for entertainment or sustenance is what drives the two characters to come together and form a mutual relationship. This sense of nothingness and desolation of the location they are currently in is only combatted by the presence of one another. Vladimir seems to have either had a severe sleeping problem or that he does not want to be lonely when Estragon falls asleep. Constantly trying to wake Estragon up, Vladimir shows us that he does not like to be alone with his thoughts.