SUMMARY OF "WAITING FOR GODOT"

        Two tramps , Vladmir and Estragon, are waiting for a certain Godot under a tree near a road. They are visibly in a desperate position: they are hungry (all they have for food is a carrot and a turnip), they are shabbily and uncomfortably dressed (Estragon's boots, which are too small for his feet, hurt him, and his pants are so large that they sometimes fall off without him realizing), they have no shelter (at night they sleep in a ditch), and at one time they contemplate committing suicide (they only decide against it because they are afraid one of them might survive the attempt). Indeed, their sight on stage, one can imagine, is pitiful. A stage direction in one instance describes them as being "motionless, arms dangling, heads sunk, sagging at the knees" (9). Their only salvation from this condition of despair, they hope, lies in the coming of Godot, of which they are uncertain; and even if he were to come, they are not sure of what he would offer them. Both acts one and two, which comprise the play, end with the messenger from Godot informing them that he is not coming that day, but that he would "certainly" come the next day.

 

"WAITING FOR GODOT" AS AN ANTI--CHRISTIAN TEXT     

 

        That WAITING FOR GODOT is an anti--Christian text is evident from the very beginning of the play.  Vladmir, the more reflective and philosophical of the pair, has closely read and rigorously analyzed the gospels on the subject of salvation, probably to see if he and Estragon have any chance of being saved from the drudgery of their lives by the coming of Godot. His focus of study is the two thieves who were crucified with Christ. One of the thieves, Vladmir tells Estragon, "is supposed to have been saved and the other damned" (9). By mathematical logic, this gives the two characters fifty percent chance of being saved, a percentage which is abundant for the skeptical Vladmir. His skepticism is however aggravated by more mathematical logic: "How is it that of the four evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there ---- or thereabout ---- and only one speaks of the thief being saved.... One out of four" (9). This logic then further reduces the percentage of the chance of salvation to twenty five. Even worse, however, Vladmir says that "of the other three two don't mention any. thieves at all and the third says that both of them abused him" (9). This, for Vladmir, dashes any hope of salvation, for the percentage has been reduced to almost null.
        Clearly, Vladmir does not approach the Bible from a Christian world view, which holds the Bible to be "inspired, inerrant, and authoritative" (Bruce L. Edwards and Branson L. Woodward, Jr. 303). Rather, for Vladmir, the Bible is just like any other text whose "truth " must be tested by logic. In this case, Vladmir has found the "truth" of the Bible to be fallible, hence the anti--Christian stance of the play.

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