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Waiting for Godot

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A seminal work of twentieth-century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater. The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of ...

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Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

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Overview

A seminal work of twentieth-century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater. The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existentialism of post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.

A classic of modern theatre and perennial favorite of colleges and high schools. "One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation . . . suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity . . . like a sharp stab of beauty and pain."--The London Times.

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Editorial Reviews

The London Times
"...one of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope decieved and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802130341
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Samuel Beckett Series
  • Pages: 111
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.11 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906, in Ireland. Best known for the classic Waiting for Godot, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. He spent most of his life in Paris and died there in 1989.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Dare I say... greatest play ever written?

    As a matter of fact, I do dare to state such a claim. Samuel Beckett is such an amazing writer, and in WfG, he has created some of the most memorable characters and dialouge in any medium. A must read for everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2005

    Godot is full of meaning and meaningless at the same time.

    Waiting for Godot is humorous and ironic. It's characters' senility gives the book a similar feel to that of old Charlie Chaplain movies. The characters repetitive conversations add to that feel but also allow the reader to, if he/she wants to, pull out several meanings from the book. The whole book parallels the human experience of waiting for our own Godot, whether it be God or Wealth or family, whatever gives our lives meaning. With each meaning the detail of the book presents different symbols, unique to whatever it is the reader is comparing it to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Reading the bookvin class

    In my drama class we are reading this play, me and my four friemds at my table seem to be the only four-plus the teacher-that enjoy the play. Everyone else doesnt undersyand that the carrot talk is exactly what you and your bestfriemd talk about.. nothing. Its to pass the time. Now we are not finished with the book but im excited to see what happens next so imma buy it so i can re read it and get a better feel for it.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    A must read even if you have seen the play

    To an atheist or to anyone who has any disdain for Christianity, Christians must look like two clowns who waste everyday waiting for God/Jesus to return. The play is brilliant and everyone who has ever waited patiently for someone to keep their promise and only to find disappointment should read this play.

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  • Posted February 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Famously, Waiting for Godot is a play in which nothing happens.

    Famously, Waiting for Godot is a play in which nothing happens. It opens with two characters on stage--Vladimir and Estragon--who are waiting by a tree. They converse about many things, calling each other by different names. Although their conversations are long and winding, we discover that the men are waiting for an enigmatic figure who goes by the name of Godot. While they are waiting for Godot to come, two figures approach--Lucky and Pozzo.

    The author, Samuel Beckett, instills an enormous amount of symbolic complexity into the very foundation of Waiting for Godot. Valdimir and Estragon are comic tramps--straight from the likes of Chaplin or Buster Keaton. They talk like vaudeville comedians, and attempt to perform tricks. But, in an amazing literary feat, Beckett transforms this shtick and color into a discussion about the existential realities of the world.

    Waiting for Godot has a wit, vigor and brilliance that confounded audiences at the time, and astonished everyone who has seen or read it ever since. The play is difficult (and makes no bones about its difficulty), but it also embraces the popular comic medium with which Beckett grew up. Hilariously funny, but also terribly sad, Waiting for Godot is the foremost abstract work in theatre and a work of pure genius.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Don't miss the humor!

    The greatest tragedy with this work is that everyone gets so caught up in debating the philosophy and structure of it that they glide right over the laughs. Godot, when read or performed, should elicit the same breathless laughing as a Neil Simon or a Python sketch. Please don't read it joylessly. Getting the meaning is barely tickling the surface of the fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    Typical existentialism

    Let me warn you right now: this play is not all it's cracked up to be. Number one, it has no central focus. It's just a bunch of meaningless, unrelated little incidents that you're supposed to psychoanalyze. For me, it was torture to have to go back over every little chunk of dialogue and say, Okay, what segment of human nature is this referring to? And number two, I think it only enjoys such a great reputation because a few critics/English majors thought it was this breakthrough, revolutionary work. Don't be fooled. Reading it was tantamount to repeatedly slamming my head into a wall.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2005

    Waiting For Godot

    this is one of the most interesting plays I've read...so unique...so intriguing. A lot of people do become frustrated with this book [literally NOTHING haPPeNs] but it takes quite a philosophical mind to understand the inner workings of an existentialist. I myself is still tyring to grasp its meaning...I suggest Waiting for Godot if you like to contemplate and have quite a patience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    Simple but Deep

    Waiting for Godot is an incredible book. It starts with Estragon and Vladimir start with a humorous ways to pass time as they wait for Godot. Some believe Godot relates to death because of their mentions of suicide. The story moves on to a semi-man lucky who is pushed around by his master Pozzo. I thought the entire book kept a bit of hope through the story because of their optimistic view of life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2005

    I found this very disappointing.

    Before reading this play I was told that most people hate it, or they love it. Personaly, I couldn't stand reading the play, and now I know what my teacher meant when she said that there was no inbetween. I was very interested at first, but as the play continued I grew disappointed because nothing changed. I feel that if they really wanted to see Godot, they would have left that tree and looked for him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2005

    Whos Godot??

    Samuel Beckett's tragicomedy Waiting for Godot is a very strange and somewhat boring play. It repeats the same sequence of events three times but thay change a bit each time. Its strange in the sense that it just seems to end with out really concluding the conflict. It started out very hopeful but that was misleading because the reader is let down when the play ends. My real question/comment is... WHO IS GODOT? Does the author ever reveal this in the play? Knowing this would probably make the play make more sense for me anyway.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2004

    Disregard mindless comments from numskulls

    This play is absolutely fantastic. If you are an individual who has contemplated the meaning of life this play is for you. Despite what this last lame brain had to say, most of the dialouge is quite profound if one is able to put it in the proper context. Beckett had a very artful way of expressing himself, and this style might well throw off certain individuals who must have things spelled out for them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    Hmm...

    As I read Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot', I was not amazed, transfixed, or otherwise impressed with the lack of action and the meaningless dialogue. Just because Beckett wrote a play about absolutely nothing, people hail him as a great writer. I am sure that my nine year old sister could actually produce a better piece of writing than Beckett did with 'Waiting for Godot'. If you are looking for a book to inspire you, do not read this play. If you just picked it up for some light reading, put it back right where you got it from. To be blunt, if you have a choice between watching paint dry and reading this book, choose the paint. It will be far more eventful. Maybe the only people who enjoy this book are cynics on their deathbed. I, for one, could think of scores of better books to read than 'Waiting for Godot'. A book with no substance is merely an idiotic waste of paper and money. Aren't there people dying of starvation and disease all across the world? Well, instead of wasting ten dollars on 'Waiting for Godot', donate ten dollars to a local soup kichen, emergency aid group, or the Salvation Army. There are many better uses for money. Others who rated this book with five stars also recommended Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. What exactly were these people thinking?! 'Waiting for Godot' is like 'The Adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot' in comparison to 'Hamlet'. And Samuel Beckett is not even worthy of compare to Shakespere. Please do yourself a favor and skip 'Waiting fo Godot' on your English reading list. Read Hamlet or something with a plot, developed characters, theme, and a bit of conflict. I know most people like a good story line and some sort of struggle in a play or novel. Even Edith Wharton's novella 'Ethan Frome' is a better choice than 'Waiting for Godot'. At least it has some action- even if it is about some kids crashing into a tree on a sled. Another reason for not reading 'Waiting for Godot' is to be a rebel. Sure, it seems like everyone reads it, falls in love with it, and tries to live by its message. Though it may seem like rebels read the book, the real rebels are the people who refuse to read the literary garbage. Stand up and refuse to follow the opinions of others. Look through the lore and opinions. The truth is that 'Waiting for Godot' is an absolute bore. Does anybody really enjoy listening to mindless gibberish? I know that I don't. Beckett should not be considered an inspiring author because he wrote 'Waiting for Godot'. He should, in fact, be publicly humiliated, laughed at, and sent to a mental hospital. I am sure that the first people to view his play were completely bored or asleep during the production. Perhaps Samuel Beckett thought he could write plays because he wasn't that good at anything else. If he wrote that while he was in high school or college, his teacher or professor would laugh with contempt while he/she read it. I know that my teacher certainly would. After my teacher had a laugh(or a nap), she would stamp a big fat 'F' on top of it and banish me from English class forever. To conclude this lengthy review of 'Waiting for Godot', I want to say that I hope you make your reading experiences enjoyable and fulfilling. So I beg you, do not waste ten dollars on Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'. Simply turn your back on it and forget about it. read William Shakespere's 'Hamlet', Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables', or Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. Remember, just say no to literary trash!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Masterpiece!

    The most profound play ever written. This work by Beckett opens our eyes to the sharp and troubling realization that life has no intrinsic meaning. We all are waiting for the mysterious Godot just beyond the horizon, but the horizon is never reached, we look forward and it is always ahead of us no matter how much we try to reach it. Another work that I feel matches the depths of 'Waiting for Godot' is Paul Omeziri's Descent into Illusion published by PublishAmerica. This novel also deals with the paradoxical condition of human existance, of being thrown into a world without meaning or order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2001

    A True Classic

    Beckett's tragicomedy is an innovation in modern drama and a timeless classic of theater.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2001

    stuff

    i am suprised that everyone found the play to be a picture of the nihilism and absurdity of life... and i think they miss the point. in beckett's moving play 'waiting for godot', he draws a picture of the human condition that not only displays our most base and vilely normal actions but suffuses them with a hope and love for humans... a wonderful play, a journey of beauty and silence and pain.

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    Posted April 17, 2011

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    Posted September 28, 2009

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    Posted October 20, 2010

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    Posted March 21, 2012

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