Vladimir And Estragon A Symbol Of Man

Vladimir And Estragon: A Symbol Of Man Essay, Research Paper AP English January 19, 1999 Vladimir and Estragon: A Symbol of Man Many Authors use different techniques in their wittings. Samuel Beckett uses

Vladimir And Estragon: A Symbol Of Man Essay, Research Paper

AP English

January 19, 1999

Vladimir and Estragon: A Symbol of Man

Many Authors use different techniques in their wittings. Samuel Beckett uses

allusions and references to characters to help the reader understand what the characters

represent. In his drama Waiting for Godot, Beckett?s two main characters, Estragon and

Vladimir, are symbolized as man. Separate they are two different sides of man, but

together they represent man as a whole.

In Waiting for Godot, Beckett uses Estragon and Vladimir to symbolize man?s

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

upside sown, shakes it…?1. Through this action it is relevant that Estragon is searching

for something from his boot, but unable to recognize it. This symbolizes man?s side of

using physical ability to answer questions. Vladimir on the other hand continues to look

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

answers in his hat, which symbolizes his using knowledge and his intellectual capability

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,

Estragon wants to talk about his dreams. Vladimir doesn?t want to. He can not stand to

hear about the dreams that Estragon has. When Estragon wakes up from falling asleep he

says ?I had a dream?. Vladimir answers with ?Don?t tell me?3. Another example is that

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:

Poor Pozzo

I knew it was him



But it?s not Godot.

It?s not Godot?

It?s not Godot.

Then who is it?

It?s Pozzo5.

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

every morning and start another day of waiting. In each act, Estragon and Vladimir talk

about hanging themselves form the tree. During this exchange of words, Estragon

suggest that they hang themselves from a near by tree. Vladimir is the one who is

particle and explains why they can?t hang themselves.

The physical side and the intellectual side is shown through Estragon?s and

Vladimir?s actions, as well as their words. They have a friend ship that is bonded by

their differences. Without one another they would be lost, just like without the

intellectual side of man, the physical side would be lost, and visa versa.


1 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1954) 8


2 Beckett 8 left.

3 Beckett 11 left.

4 Martin Esslin, ?The Search for the Self,? Modern Critical Interpretations

Waiting for Godot, ed. Harold Bloom (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987) 29.

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.