January 19, 1999
Vladimir and Estragon: A Symbol of Man
together they represent man as a whole.
physical and mental state. Estragon represents the physical side of man, while Vladimir
represents the intellectual side of man. In each way these two look for answers shows
their side of man. Estragon has his shoes. Vladimir has his hat.
When Estragon takes off his shoes ?he peers inside it, feels about inside it, turns it
into his hat. Vladirmir constantly ?Takes off his hat, peers inside it, feels about inside it,
shakes it, puts it on again?2. Through this action Vladimir is shown to be searching for
for solving problems. Both Estragon and Vladimir are searching for what the reader
assumes to be the key to life?s problems. When they continue to do this throughout the
drama, it expresses the fact that they are searching and will continue to search until they
find what they are looking for.
Vladimir is more practical, and Estragon is more of a romantic. In the drama,
hear about the dreams that Estragon has. When Estragon wakes up from falling asleep he
Estragon often forgets events as soon as they happen or within a day, while Vladimir, on
the other hand, remember past events4. This is shown when Pozzo and Lucky enter into
the scene in the second act. Estragon and Vladimir see two men coming. Vladimir
recognizes it as Pozzo, from the day before, but Estragon does not recognize him. The
conversation starts with Vladimir:
I knew it was him
But it?s not Godot.
It?s not Godot?
It?s not Godot.
Then who is it?
This exchange in dialog shows that Estragon does not recognize Pozzo, and Vladimir has
to tell Estragon who it is.
The two of them are dependent on each other. Estragon is beaten every night by
mysterious men. Vladimir acts as his protector. He sings to him, helps him take off his
boots, and covers him with his jacket6. Every night they part, yet they find each other
particle and explains why they can?t hang themselves.
The physical side and the intellectual side is shown through Estragon?s and
intellectual side of man, the physical side would be lost, and visa versa.
2 Beckett 8 left.
3 Beckett 11 left.
5 Beckett 50 right.
6 Esslin 29
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1954.
Esslin, Martin ?The Search for the Self.? Modern Critical Interpretations Waiting for
Godot. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 1987.