Waiting for Godot

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Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Humor and the Absurd Theme Icon
Waiting, Boredom, and Nihilism Theme Icon
Modernism and Postmodernism Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Waiting for Godot, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Theme Icon

Beckett's play is filled with a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional suffering. Vladimir and Estragon (especially Estragon) are starved for food, in physical pain, and "bored to death." Both fear an anonymous "they" who threaten to beat them at night, and are frequently unable to move of their own accord. Estragon mentions "billions of others," who have been killed, but does not elaborate. Lucky, meanwhile, is treated horribly, pulled about by a rope tied around his neck, beaten by Pozzo, and kicked repeatedly by Estragon. All of this suffering has a dehumanizing effect, and robs characters of their dignity. Lucky, for example, is addressed by Pozzo as "pig," and treated like a pack animal. Estragon is reduced to sucking on Pozzo's leftover chicken bones pathetically. And even Pozzo, who imposes suffering on Lucky, is unable to get up from the ground when he falls in act two.

Amid all this, Vladimir and Estragon desperately seek two things throughout the play: some recognition of their humanity, and companionship. When the boy asks Vladimir what message he would like to send to Godot, he simply asks the boy to tell Godot that he saw Vladimir. In other words, Vladimir wants to be acknowledged as a person. This is particularly important to him because the other characters in the play forget and mix up their identities. Pozzo and Lucky don't recognize Estragon and Vladimir in act two, whereas Estragon forgets about Lucky and Pozzo. In this environment where people are so easily forgotten, Vladimir wants some confirmation of his own identity and humanity. Beyond this, Vladimir and Estragon also desire companionship. Although Estragon repeatedly suggests that they go their separate ways, the two stay together out of a mutual fear of loneliness. When Estragon momentarily leaves the stage, Vladimir panics and becomes immediately lonely. And Estragon needs Vladimir as well—whether to have someone to talk to and ask questions of, or to help him put on his boots.

Nonetheless, even as Vladimir and Estragon seek some kind of dignity and companionship in the face of suffering, they are remarkably indifferent to the suffering of others. Vladimir is at first outraged at Pozzo's treatment of Lucky, but soon gets used to it and even encourages Estragon to kick him. Vladimir and Estragon converse nonchalantly while Pozzo is stuck on the ground and crying for help in act two, and they first scheme how they might take advantage of him rather than help him. Vladimir and Estragon value their own relationship, but generally fail to sympathize with Pozzo and Lucky as other potential companions. Beckett suggests that this kind of indifference to the pain of others is what allows the vicious cycle of suffering to continue on indefinitely, as it does in the play.

Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity appears in each act of Waiting for Godot. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity Quotes in Waiting for Godot

Below you will find the important quotes in Waiting for Godot related to the theme of Humanity, Companionship, Suffering, and Dignity.
Act 1 Quotes

I'm glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Estragon
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

Vladimir says this to Estragon the moment he arrives in the scene. Estragon questions whether he is indeed there again, and in response Vladimir repeats how much he appreciates Estragon’s presence.

These lines introduce the skepticism of change and development that will preoccupy the characters throughout the play. Estragon is soon revealed to have a terrible memory, often forgetting if he has even been in a certain location. But Vladimir’s relatively stronger conviction in his memory is also repeatedly undermined throughout the play. When read with these themes in mind, the beginning of the text poses an odd question: Has Vladimir actually been gone long from Estragon’s side? Perhaps he has been there almost the entire time, and his sense of “forever” has just been deeply warped—as time is often warped in the play. The term “back” is similarly perplexing, for the characters constantly repeat themselves, seeming to exist in a series of constant returns in which they reiterate their lives, always coming “back.”

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When I think of it... all these years... but for me... where would you be... (Decisively.) You'd be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Estragon
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

Vladimir here responds to Estragon having forgotten about where and in what conditions he spent the previous night. Though he believes he was in a ditch and was beaten, Estragon cannot recall the events with any certainty, and Vladimir expresses frustration at Estragon's inability to take order of his own life.

These lines are Vladimir’s first claim on being the more responsible of the two characters. He takes on a disgruntled paternal role, claiming that if not for him, Estragon could never have survived the perilous world. In doing so, he defines a clear time scale for their relationship with “all these years.” We are not just seeing the meeting of two travelers or recent friends. Presumably they have been living in the desolate space of the play for a long, long time—a length in direct contrast to the brevity of “the present minute.” He also implies that their present state is preferable to death—which may seem like a given in any work of art, but is certainly not in Beckett. Considering a series of later references to suicide and death, this early implication that Estragon’s life is worth preservation should not go unnoticed.

I was asleep! (Despairingly.) Why will you never let me sleep?
I felt lonely.

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Vladimir (speaker)
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

Estragon falls asleep as Vladimir paces, but he is immediately reawakened by a shriek the moment Vladimir perceives him to have dozed off.

This action displays a perplexing mixture of abuse and care in Vladimir and Estragon’s relationship. For while Vladimir rudely awakens Estragon—something he has apparently done with some frequency—his explanation also expresses an affection for Estragon’s presence. The exchange shows a state of deep dependence between the two. One could easily conclude that the characters despise each other, given their common threats of abandonment. But Beckett here implies that they also have a deep social need to not feel lonely. Setting the play in this desolate landscape, without other social interactions or stability, allows him to showcase the full extent to which humans require mutual contact and mutual recognition.

That choice helps clarify, too, that Vladimir receives a sufficient “benefit” from Estragon in exchange for the parental attention he provides. Their relationship is not indeed as imbalanced as it may first appear, for whatever he might provide, Vladimir requires a corresponding emotional support from Estragon.

You are human beings none the less. (He puts on his glasses.) As far as one can see. (He takes off his glasses.) of the same species as myself. (He bursts into an enormous laugh.) Of the same species as Pozzo! Made in God's image!

Related Characters: Pozzo (speaker), Estragon, Vladimir
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

During the first moments of their conversation, Estragon tells Pozzo they they are not from this area. In response, Pozzo makes this odd appeal to their common humanity, stressing how the characters are all fundamentally the same, in particular through their connection to God.

Pozzo focuses on visual consistencies. Beckett signals this emphasis through the stage direction of putting on and removing glasses. And he indicates that the assertion that they are “human beings” must be confirmed by visual data. Pozzo then moves first into a scientific register of speech with the repetition of “species” and then swaps in religious language with “God’s image.” This appeal to God would presumably define a social bond between the three of them, but Pozzo speaks the lines mockingly.

The fact that he cites a universal humanity is particularly empty considering his inhumane treatment of Lucky. Taking the two actions together would imply either that Lucky is not human, or that the way Pozzo treats Lucky could be applied to any human—based on their commonality as the “same species.” And in the nihilistic setting of the play, in which both God and society seem to have vanished, neither the religious nor the Enlightenment ideal of common humanity has many practical consequences.

Er... you've finished with the... er... you don't need the... er... bones, Sir?

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Pozzo
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

After Pozzo has finished eating his chicken and tossed the bones to the ground, Estragon “timidly” wonders whether he can have the remains. He is reproached by Vladimir, but encouraged by Pozzo, who tells him to confirm that Lucky does not want them.

Much of the text focuses on existential despair, but this line returns it to a more practical hardship: hunger. The splendor of Pozzo’s meal sharply contrasts with the paucity of Estragon and Vladimir’s rotten vegetables, so it is quite reasonable for Estragon to want the bones. Estragon here uses a subservient tone of voice—he stumbles twice, includes three “er”s, and finishes the sentence with a formal “Sir?” Thus he defines himself in a position below Lucky, based on the power and wealth implied by his possession of chicken bones. The line corroborates Estragon’s childlike character and also shows how even in this empty, meaningless space, social hierarchies can be rapidly defined based on the possession of a few commodities.

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.

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.

Do I look like a man that can be made to suffer?

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

After an outburst of tears, Pozzo controls his sentiments and denies that he was genuinely upset. Then he argues he has complete emotional control and cannot, in fact, suffer at all.

On a character level, these lines speak to the egoism of Pozzo’s personality—in which he wants to be seen as stoic and superior by all around him. The comment also intersects importantly with Pozzo’s earlier theory about the relative state of human suffering. Previously, he argued that suffering was constant and simply redistributed among humans, and here he seems to imply that he is impervious to that system. All suffering, by thos account, will be hoisted onto those around him. Yet Pozzo has clearly experienced some level of suffering at the hands of Lucky. Thus even the most “empowered” character in the play, the one performing acts of great cruelty, still reveals insecurities and expresses a suppressed wish to flee pain.

So that I ask myself is there anything I can do in my turn for these honest fellows who are having such a dull, dull time.
Even ten francs would be a help.
We are not beggars!

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo (speaker)
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

In an unusual moment of generosity, Pozzo offers his assistance to Vladimir and Estragon. As he did with the chicken bones, Estragon immediately requests some tangible benefit (in this case money), whereas Vladimir reproaches him for the discourteous behavior. Pozzo, however, somewhat snidely notes that talking to the two of them should be sufficient payment.

The lines notably introduce money into the play for the first time. This detail might seem unimportant, but Beckett’s text could easily take place in a post-apocalyptic world in which economical systems have entirely disappeared. (After all, time seems to have stopped or at least behaves in very odd ways.) So the idea that francs could actually benefit Estragon and Vladimir reveals that currency still plays a role in the world of the play—or at least that Estragon believes it will. Vladimir, similarly, upholds a sort of social norm by not wanting to grovel before Pozzo.

Pozzo’s decision to withhold money seems simply ruthless. But, in a sense, his conversation has given more to the characters than ten francs would: It has offered a temporary antidote to nothing happening. And indeed, his comment that they “are having such a dull, dull time” shows an odd awareness of the value of action amidst boredom. Beckett seems to be making a sly joke that anything staving off the nihilistic horror of boredom is worth more than currency.

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.

You don't know me?
No Sir.
It wasn't you came yesterday?
No Sir.
This is your first time?
Yes Sir.

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Boy (speaker)
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

When the Boy arrives bringing a message from Godot, Vladimir and Estragon interrogate him briefly. They question why he is so late and whether he has come before, establishing what will come to be a potentially cyclic pattern.

Vladimir’s belief that the same Boy came yesterday reveals a similar uncertainty that he held with Lucky and Pozzo. Able, unlike Estragon, to connect individual memories into larger narratives, Vladimir believes that the events of the play are repeating themselves—and that the same characters resurface again and again as a result. If true, this would define a structure of meaning for Vladimir beyond “Nothing to be done,” for he could interpret patterns and see the Boy as a prior acquaintance.

Yet the Boy refuses to affirm this wish. Instead he plays the childlike role of Estragon that situates their interaction in the eternal present. In doing so, he casts the information he will tell about Godot as novel and important, whereas a cyclical model would imply that it has been said again and again. The entire merit of waiting for Godot seems to rest, then, on Vladimir’s now undermined ability to trust his memory.

Tell him... (he hesitates)... tell him you saw us. (Pause.) You did see us, didn't you?

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Godot, Boy
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

As the Boy leaves, Vladimir makes this desperate appeal to human recognition. He first asks the Boy to represent them to Godot, but more simply just asks to have been seen.

Recognition is, by now, one of Vladimir’s fixations. He has repeatedly claimed to recall and identify other characters, but they refuse to affirm him in return. And, as a result, Vladimir has begun to doubt his own mental capacities. Thus for the boy to see them and tell Godot about them would signal far more than just conveying simple information. For Vladimir, it would imply that they have been remembered—and that they are significant and meaningful human beings. Beneath this appeal also lies a deep skepticism in even the most simple of human processes: vision. Considering the twilight setting and the motif of blindness in the second act, Vladimir becomes concerned that his existential worries are perhaps the result of the most simple misrecognition: an inability to even see other people.

Act 2 Quotes

The best thing would be to kill me, like the other.
What other? (Pause.) What other?
Like billions of others.

Related Characters: Estragon (speaker), Vladimir (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Estragon makes this allusion to human suffering after suggesting that he and Vladimir part ways. Vladimir points out that Estragon often makes similar grandiose statements without ever following through, which causes Estragon to take the more radical position that he should die.

Beneath this seemingly insensible statement lie a serious of complex references to other parts in the play. Estragon’s suggestion that death would be preferable to the dullness of their interaction recalls the earlier suggestion that they hang themselves to relieve boredom. But “the other” more likely refers to Lucky, for Pozzo had suggested killing him in order to be relieved of the burden. Thus while Estragon may not explicitly remember the events of the day before, they seem to have infiltrated his subconscious, causing him to see his relationship with Vladimir as analogous to that of Lucky and Pozzo. Vladimir is notably uncomfortable here, repeating the same question with a pause in the middle. Perhaps he is concerned about Estragon’s sanity, or perhaps he recognizes the reference to Lucky—and is horrified at the implicit comparison of himself to Pozzo.

The reference to “billions of others,” however, displaces that one-to-one connection to Lucky. Instead of focusing on a single human story, Estragon justifies his own killing based on the deaths of other humans. In a sense, the phrase is grandiose and frightening, but also slightly ridiculous—for billions have not been killed for the reason of “the best thing.” But it also shows the extent of the nihilism pervading the play. Perhaps billions have indeed died, or at least Estragon feels their deaths would be reasonable considering the hopelessness of his world.

No, the best would be to take advantage of Pozzo's calling for help.

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

When Pozzo and Lucky return, their relationship both to each other and to Estragon and Vladimir has changed dramatically. Now blind, Pozzo has lost his position of power, which invites Vladimir to make this cruel comment on taking advantage of his disability.

The switch from his earlier comments of pathos to this suggestion is remarkable. Without his vision, Pozzo is now in a weaker state and entirely dependent on Lucky. But instead of expressing sympathy as he had in the first act, Vladimir becomes opportunistic, wondering how to maximize the fact that Pozzo cannot put up any kind of fight. One brutal interpretation would be that Vladimir’s previous empathy for both Lucky and Pozzo was only a factor of their relative power in the interaction—and thus that it was motivated more by calculated social conditions rather than authentic emotion. This would be a very dark view of humanity as entirely opportunist and self-motivated, but it fits with the established selfishness shown thus far.

Tell him... (he hesitates)... tell him you saw me and that... (he hesitates)... that you saw me. (Pause. Vladimir advances, the Boy recoils. Vladimir halts, the Boy halts. With sudden violence.) You're sure you saw me, you won't come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!

Related Characters: Vladimir (speaker), Pozzo, Boy
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

As the Boy departs again, having promised that Godot will come the next day, Vladimir grows increasingly desperate. He insists that the Boy inform Godot of their interaction and once more appeals to the idea that the Boy has recognized him.

These lines replay the interaction between Vladimir and the Boy that transpired in the first act. Except here, Vladimir’s tone and stage directions are marked by uncertainty and rashness. Twice, “he hesitates,” unsure whether to say the same lines he knows he is repeating. And it is presumably his horror at having become repetitive that causes him to react with such anger to the Boy. Vladimir’s frustration, then, is directed both externally and internally: both toward those who seem to be duping him into believing these events have not already transpired, and toward himself for potentially believing too much in his conviction that they have.

What was before a question to the Boy—“You did see us, didn't you?” thus becomes a demand. Beckett demonstrates how the environment of the play, in which characters negate Vladimir’s memory and sense perceptions, could very well cause someone to grow irrational. His character becomes a case study on the value of remembering, for his insistence brings nothing but vexation.