Waiting for Godot

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Lucky Character Analysis

Lucky is Pozzo's slave, whom Pozzo treats horribly and continually insults, addressing him only as "pig." He is mostly silent in the play, but gives a lengthy, mostly nonsensical monologue in act one, when Pozzo asks him to think out loud. While all the characters on-stage suffer in different ways throughout the play, Lucky is the play's most obvious figure of physical suffering and exploitation as he is whipped, beaten, and kicked by other characters.

Lucky Quotes in Waiting for Godot

The Waiting for Godot quotes below are all either spoken by Lucky or refer to Lucky. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Grove Press edition of Waiting for Godot published in 1994.
Act 1 Quotes

To treat a man... (gesture towards Lucky)... like that... I think that... no... a human being... no... it's a scandal!

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo, Lucky
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Lucky refuses the bones and Pozzo makes a spiteful comment, causing Vladimir to at last speak up against the behavior. He somewhat hesitantly challenges Pozzo on the awful way he treats Lucky.

Vladimir’s repeated references to humanity—“man” and “human being”—seem to ironically rephrase Pozzo’s earlier comment on how they all are the same species and made in God’s image. Here, Vladimir points out the inconsistency in that logic: How could Pozzo actually believe that and still treat Lucky this way? Yet Vladimir protests in a meek and uncertain way, stuttering and self correcting with ellipses and with the injection of “no.” Pozzo’s relative power in the scene thus prevents Vladimir from any direct challenge, even if he finds the behavior deplorable. And rather than actually fight Pozzo or seek to free Lucky, Vladimir lets the conversation drift on. Beckett seems to be making a mockery of our wish to pursue human rights by showing how fickle our principles and convictions can be.

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Why he doesn't make himself comfortable? Let's try and get this clear. Has he not the right to? Certainly he has. It follows that he doesn't want to. There's reasoning for you.

Related Characters: Pozzo (speaker), Lucky
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

After a series of confused attempts to ask Pozzo why Lucky continues to carry so many bags, Vladimir and Estragon are finally able to communicate their question. In response, Pozzo gives this strange definition of his human autonomy, claiming that Lucky is indeed able to rest.

Pozzo elevates the status of his statement with the phrases “Let’s try and get this clear” and “There’s reasoning for you.” He implies that other dialogue was perhaps not so lucid, and that he will be able to offer a more direct and useful understanding of their dynamics. Between these two phrases lies a distorted proof. Pozzo claims that Lucky is indeed fully autonomous, and that therefore each action he performs is out of complete volition. But, of course, the audience and other characters remain skeptical, for Lucky does not in fact seem to have this professed agency. Pozzo articulates a common despotic or slaveholding justification, in which people with power claim that others could do anything—whereas in reality they are trapped by their circumstance. Beckett seems to showcase the emptiness inherent in forms of human agency: A presumed ability to act only reveals how social forces keep one entrapped.

He's crying!
Old dogs have more dignity.

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Pozzo (speaker), Lucky
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Lucky begins crying when Pozzo observes mockingly that the best thing to do would be to kill him. Estragon is moved to an exclamation of pity, but Pozzo is simply disgusted by Lucky’s behavior.

This moment of pathos shows, first, that Lucky contains within him a strong emotional capacity—one that can be recognized by others. And it correspondingly shows a lack of empathy in Pozzo, as if Lucky (despite his silence) is in fact the more human of the two. Whereas Vladimir was the one previously morally outraged by Vladimir’s actions, here it is Estragon who expresses sadness at what has occurred. Pozzo, however, cares only about “dignity,” a term of decorum that mirrors his pompous and stately behavior in the play. The lines shows that while Estragon is more childlike in his actions, this also gives him an increased empathetic capacity—an empathy which Pozzo clearly lacks.

The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. (He laughs.) Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not unhappier than its predecessors. (Pause.) Let us not speak well of it either. (Pause.) Let us not speak of it at all.

Related Characters: Pozzo (speaker), Lucky
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Pozzo offers this theory of world suffering because Estragon has begun to cry after Lucky kicks him in the shins. Previously Lucky shed tears, and Pozzo thus interprets the tears' transfer from Lucky to Estragon as proof that happiness in the world is constant.

To construct this theory, Pozzo begins with the physical detail he has just observed: “quantity” is “constant” because when Lucky stopped crying, Estragon started. Applying the same idea to laughter casts Vladimir’s earlier insistence that he not laugh in an intriguing light: It is as if Vladimir was generously leaving the laughter with others, whereas Pozzo steals it without a second thought. And from these two principles on crying and laughing, Pozzo concludes that no evaluative assessment can be made of any “generation,” for all eras have a consistent distribution of joy.

The philosophical underpinning of this relativism is that happiness and sadness are constantly being redistributed. Yet two sub-interpretations of this philosophy are possible: Either this is a pseudo-spiritual model in which happiness is regulated by a universal (perhaps divine) force, or it is a model in which human agents themselves change quantities of happiness by taking it away from others. In the second option, Lucky stopped crying only because he harmed Estragon. Beckett puts emphasis on this distinction by making Pozzo a slave-owner: He has profited from Lucky’s misery and thus has more resources than Estragon or Vladimir, who have a more equitable relationship. After all, it's to Pozzo's advantage to have formulated a theory that justifies his spiteful and selfish behaviors.


After having sucked all the good out of him you chuck him away like a... like a banana skin. Really...

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo, Lucky
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Vladimir makes another protest against Pozzo’s behavior after learning that Lucky has served him for 60 years. He is aghast that Pozzo would dispose of Lucky so flippantly.

To fortify this position, Vladimir summons the image of a banana, charging Pozzo with having treated Lucky simply like a foodstuff. Lucky is, by this account, to be consumed at will and then gotten rid of when he has been depleted. The image should be taken as appropriate considering the play’s focus on food. Remember, Estragon and Vladimir’s spartan resources were directly contrasted with Pozzo’s luxury—a luxury presumably furnished by Lucky’s role as a slave. Thus Vladimir takes the food metaphor from an indirect relationship—in which Pozzo consumes food from his possession of Lucky—into a direct one: his actual possession of Lucky.

(to Lucky.) How dare you! It's abominable! Such a good master! Crucify him like that! After so many years! Really!

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo, Lucky
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

Only moments after Vladimir accuses Pozzo of having treated Lucky like a banana, he switches his perspective entirely. At the mere suggestion from Pozzo that he has been indirectly abused by Lucky, Vladimir immediately becomes sympathetic to the slaveholder and chastises Lucky instead.

These lines clarify the nature of the flippancy in Vladimir’s character. As we have already noted, Vladimir often makes comments in protest but never follows them with action. Here the reason is not cowardice but rather distraction. Just a single comment from Pozzo immediately makes Vladimir consider Lucky’s actions “abominable” and presents Pozzo as both “master” and martyr through the term “crucify.” This shift demonstrates that human moral codes are weak not necessarily because a character or person is evil, but simply because of how fickle human memory and attention are. Vladimir is generally presented as more attentive and aware than Estragon, but even here he cannot maintain a logical train of thought.

He used to dance the farandole, the fling, the brawl, the jig, the fandango, and even the hornpipe. He capered. For joy. Now that's the best he can do. Do you know what he calls it?
The Scapegoat's Agony.
The Hard Stool.
The Net. He thinks he's entangled in a net.

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo (speaker), Lucky
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

After Lucky performs, Pozzo observes sadly that he used to be far better. He lists the previous more artful dances Lucky once knew, and then asks Estragon and Vladimir to guess at the name of the recent one.

Most simply, these lines reconfirm that Lucky has degenerated from a previous more talented condition. But the more interesting side of the passages lies in how Estragon, Vladimir, and Pozzo describe the dance. The potential titles from each describe a state of hopelessness: Estragon points at how Lucky is a scapegoat for Pozzo’s hatred; Vladimir puns on stool to mean both an immobile seat and a painful bowel movement; and Pozzo describes the dance as expressing entrapment. Beckett implies that Lucky’s previous talents have—perhaps due to Pozzo, perhaps due to other forces—been reduced to a constant sense of being stuck and punished. Even a talent defined by movement is reduced to a lack of movement.

It is notable, too, that whereas the other dances are all recognizable forms and thus are lowercase, non-proper nouns, the actual dance has a unique title. Beckett seems to present it as an experimental form of art, more an expression of the self than a routine performance of previously-designed steps. This may be a subtle reference to twentieth-century modern dance, which deviates from pre-established form to such an extent that the motion often becomes grotesque.

We know them, I tell you. You forget everything. (Pause. To himself.) Unless they're not the same...
Why didn't they recognize us then?
That means nothing. I too pretended not to recognize them. And then nobody every recognizes us.

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo, Lucky
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

After Lucky and Pozzo depart, Vladimir claims that he had known them before this interaction. When Estragon questions him, Vladimir begins to doubt his own memory and invents, instead, a justification about mutual mis-recognition.

It is intriguing that Estragon’s doubt is able to infiltrate Vladimir’s professed certainty. Whereas Vladimir’s memory is generally contrasted with Estragon’s complete inability to recall prior events, here Vladimir does not remain faithful to the point that “You forget everything.” He mistrusts his own vision and mind for a moment. Without a memory to aid him in this process, Estragon relies on interpreting social codes—the act of mutual recognition—to try to understand the situation. He reasons that if they had indeed met each other before, someone would have said something. But when Vladimir rejects that strategy with a nihilistic “that means nothing,” he denies this as a valid way to interpret reality. His justification is that all people feign mis-recognition even if they do indeed know each other.

A few different interpretations are possible here. Perhaps Vladimir is simply constructing a strange theory to justify his own uncertainty, much like how Pozzo would create theories on the distribution of happiness. Or perhaps Beckett is making a larger point on human behavior—ridiculing the ways we could recognize each other as humans more fully and yet constantly pretend not to identify this common quality between us all.

Act 2 Quotes

Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you?

Related Characters: Pozzo (speaker), Estragon, Vladimir, Lucky
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

As Lucky and Pozzo prepare to leave, Vladimir requests a second performance of singing or recitation from Lucky. Pozzo responds that he is mute and, after Vladimir protests, he makes this final outburst against Vladimir’s insistence on tracking the progression of time.

Pozzo finally vocalizes what Estragon has hinted at and what the audience may have been skeptical about for some time: that Vladimir’s insistence on linking past events to present ones is ultimately unhelpful. Time, for Pozzo, is deemed inherently “accursed” and “abominable” simply because it forces him to reflect on previous experiences and compare them to current reality. Perhaps he finds this particularly agonizing because he wishes for a time when he could see and Lucky could speak, sing, and think. Pozzo quickly extrapolates from his individual dynamic, however, into a broader theory. He zooms out from “I went blind” to “we’ll go deaf,” thus including all the characters in his fate. Then he zooms out further to describe with a flippant tone how all are born and die on “one day.”

This idea is a form of the eternal present similar to that experienced by Estragon. By this model, it does not matter which events occurred at which time, but simply that they take place eventually and at some point in history. Yet Pozzo’s argument is even more radical in a way. For he puns on “one” to mean both a specific day and an identical day for many people—which would imply that all are born and all die in “the same second.” Of course, he does not mean this literally, but rather uses it to contextualize the relative brevity of human life as a mere second in history—and as ultimately so meaningless that trying to form a time scale and narrative like Vladimir’s is pointless.

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Lucky Character Timeline in Waiting for Godot

The timeline below shows where the character Lucky appears in Waiting for Godot. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo and Lucky enter. Pozzo drives lucky like an animal with a rope around his neck. He carries... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...is free land. He changes the conversation and jerks the rope that is tied around Lucky's neck, calling him "pig." He continues to pull Lucky around by the rope around his... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo asks Lucky for his stool, which Lucky places on the ground for Pozzo to sit on. He... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir and Estragon continue to examine Lucky, noticing how the rope chafes his neck and how tired he looks. They examine Lucky's... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...have them. Pozzo says he doesn't need the bones, but that they should go to Lucky, so Estragon should ask Lucky if he can have them. Estragon asks and Lucky doesn't... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...what he is talking about, and Vladimir says that it is a scandal to treat Lucky in such a way. Pozzo asks how old Vladimir is (he does not respond) and... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Vladimir tells Estragon they should leave, but Pozzo stops them. He yanks Lucky's rope again and has him move the stool. He sits back down and refills his... (full context)
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...he says, "the more people I meet the happier I become." Estragon asks Pozzo why Lucky doesn't put down his bags and Vladimir encourages Estragon to ask Lucky himself. Lucky doesn't... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo prepares to speak and makes sure everyone is listening (jerking the rope around Lucky's neck to make him pay attention). He pauses to think and then asks what the... (full context)
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir and Estragon are confused, wondering why Pozzo would get rid of Lucky. Pozzo repeats that Lucky wants to show how well he carries things so that Pozzo... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir again asks if Pozzo wants to get rid of Lucky. Pozzo says he is on his way to the fair to sell Lucky, but that... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Estragon walks up to Lucky with the handkerchief, but Lucky kicks him in the shins. Pozzo shouts for the handkerchief,... (full context)
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo says that "our generation" is no unhappier than any previous one and says that Lucky taught him that. He says that he took Lucky as a slave 60 years ago... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo mumbles that he "can't bear it" with Lucky and that he is going crazy. Vladimir and Estragon repeat his words, and then Vladimir... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...He prepares to speak and asks for everyone's attention. He cracks his whip to get Lucky's attention then throws down the whip, saying it is worn out. Pozzo forgets what he... (full context)
Pozzo pulls on Lucky's rope, picks up the whip, and asks whether Estragon and Vladimir want Lucky to dance,... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Lucky dances. Pozzo says Lucky used to be able to dance better. He asks if Estragon... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Estragon asks about the time Lucky refused to dance. Pozzo prepares to speak, then forgets what he was going to say.... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
...laments the fact that "nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes." Vladimir asks Pozzo to tell Lucky to think. Pozzo says Lucky needs his hat first, which has fallen off during the... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir puts the hat on Lucky's head, but Lucky does nothing. Pozzo jerks the rope around his neck and orders him... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
As Lucky continues, he begins describing repeatedly mountains, rivers, air, fire, stones, and the sea. He repeats... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo kicks Lucky and calls him a pig again. He asks Vladimir and Estragon to help pick Lucky... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
...seems to be unable to leave. Estragon says, "such is life." Pozzo backs away from Lucky, and then, holding onto the rope, cracks his whip and orders Lucky to move. Lucky... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
...it to him. Pozzo, Vladimir, and Estragon say "adieu" again and Pozzo leaves, shouting at Lucky. Vladimir says that this encounter with Pozzo and Lucky passed the time, and Estragon asks... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir comments on how much Pozzo and Lucky had changed. Estragon is confused, because they did not know this pair before, but Vladimir... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Estragon's one foot with the boot still on begins to hurt, while Vladimir ponders whether Lucky and Pozzo were the same people he knew from before, or different. A boy calls... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
The boy says he was afraid of Lucky and Pozzo, which is why he is late. Vladimir asks if the boy knows Lucky... (full context)
Act 2
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...may have just forgotten about it. He asks Estragon if he forgot about Pozzo and Lucky, as well, and Estragon asks who they are. (full context)
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...shins and a man who gave him a bone. Vladimir tells him those people were Lucky and Pozzo. Estragon asks if this all happened yesterday at this very place and Vladimir... (full context)
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...on for fifty years now. Vladimir asks if he remembers the sun and the moon, Lucky and Pozzo. Estragon remembers the bones Pozzo gave him and when Lucky kicked him. (full context)
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Vladimir lifts up the legs of Estragon's pants and sees the wound from Lucky's kick, which would suggest that they were here yesterday. He asks Estragon where his boots... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Estragon announces that he is going to leave. Vladimir sees Lucky's hat from yesterday lying on the ground. This confirms for him that they are in... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Vladimir asks Estragon how he looks in Lucky's hat. Estragon says he looks "hideous," and Vladimir asks if he looks more or less... (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...him to dance, but Estragon says he's leaving. Vladimir pretends to be both Pozzo and Lucky. Estragon leaves for a moment and then comes back. They embrace and Vladimir says, "There... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo and Lucky enter. Lucky has the rope around his neck as before, and is carrying the same... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...that they ask Pozzo for a bone before helping him. Vladimir agrees, but worries that Lucky might "get going," and stop them from taking advantage of Pozzo in this way. (full context)
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Confused, Estragon asks who Lucky is, and Vladimir reminds him of how Lucky kicked Estragon the previous day. He points... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
...and Pozzo cries out for help. Estragon thinks Abel is the right name. He thinks Lucky might be called Cain, and shouts this name out loud. Pozzo shouts for help again.... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Pozzo asks where Lucky is, and why he isn't responding to his call. Vladimir says Lucky seems to be... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...and Estragon answers that he is waiting for Godot. Pozzo tells Estragon to pull on Lucky's rope to get his attention. If that doesn't work, he suggests kicking him. Estragon asks... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Estragon checks if Lucky is still breathing (he is) before starting to kick him repeatedly. He hurts his foot... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo asks what has just happened, and Vladimir explains. Vladimir asks him if he and Lucky are the same Pozzo and Lucky from the day before. Pozzo says he doesn't remember... (full context)
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
Pozzo shouts, "Up pig!" and Lucky gets up and gathers his things. Vladimir asks where Pozzo is going, and he simply... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Vladimir asks Pozzo to have Lucky sing, think, or recite something. Pozzo says Lucky is mute, and "can't even groan." Pozzo... (full context)
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
...evening, but he will come tomorrow. Vladimir asks if the boy ran into Pozzo and Lucky, and the boy says he didn't see anyone on the way over. (full context)