Major Archetypes in “Waiting for Godot”Samuel Beckett uses major archetypes in the play, “Waiting for Godot” to compare his characters to humanity. In Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” there are major archetypes shown through the main characters: Lucky, the Boy, Vladimir and Estragon.  Lucky represents the doubts of the human existence, however, the Boy represents the hope for Godot. While Estragon represents humanity that chooses not to wait for Godot, whereas Vladimir represents humanity who waits for a divine figure. Through this, Beckett implements these major archetypes into the play to convey the absurdist view. Throughout the whole entire play, Samuel Beckett uses Vladimir to display the side of humanity which waits for a higher power like God, to shape their life. In Act 2, Estragon complains to Vladimir when he refuses to leave:ESTRAGON. Pause Let’s goVLADIMIR. We can’t ESTRAGON. Why not?VLADIMIR. We’re waiting for GodotESTRAGON. Pause. Despairing What’ll we do, what we’ll do! (Beckett 58)Through this exchange between Estragon and Vladimir, it is evident that Estragon wants to abandon their wait, but due to Vladimir’s strong sense of hope to wait for Godot they do not abandon their wait.  Due to this, Vladimir refuses to leave or do something else.Vladimir’s hope comes from his optimistic attitude. He displays this optimism by continuously stating that he is waiting for Godot. Though this, he demonstrates a determination of the human spirit. However, Vladimir chooses to wait for Godot and by doing that it restricts him of any free will. Moreover, Vladimir’s character demonstrates that the humans exists for a greater purpose. In Act 2, Vladimir and Estragon contemplate if they want to help Pozzo or not:VLADIMIR. Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! Pause. Vehemently. Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! (70)Vladimir expresses here that due to the greater purpose of human existence, that it is very important the way a human lives their life. The greater purpose of the human existence is a chance to stop asking questions and take action, but yet we continue to not take action unless it is beneficial to the human species.  Additionally, in the play, Samuel Beckett portrays the contrast between Estragon and Vladimir due to their ability and inability to remember things. Vladimir remembers every detail from the previous day, making him symbolize the consciousness of the body–the act of reasoning. While Estragon can not remember anything from the previous day, making him symbolize the body–hunger. Early into the play, Vladimir reacts to the treatment of Lucky from Pozzo, “stutteringly resolute To treat a man…gesture towards Lucky…like that…I think that…no…a human being…no…it’s a scandal!”(19)Beckett uses this dialogue to depict the two different versions of humanity. Here Estragon displays no type of empathy towards Lucky when he is being abused, in fact he focuses more on the chicken bones that was offered by Pozzo. While Vladimir is appalled by the actions of Pozzo towards Lucky and recognizes the action of Pozzo dehumanizing Pozzo.However, Beckett uses Estragon to show the side of humanity which chooses to doubt the existence of higher power like God. In Act 2, Estragon exhibits these pessimistic attitudes when exercising with Vladimir, “Do you think God sees me?” (67) Estragon’s pessimistic attitude shows the Nihilistic viewpoint in life, which causes him to have no hope. Unlike Vladimir, Estragon is less attached to God. Furthermore, his profound mistrust in the existence of a Godot generates his heavy focus on death. This is expressed when Estragon suggests constantly in they play, that they should kill themselves, “What about hanging ourselves?”(9) Estragon confronts this idea with no valid reasoning. Samuel Beckett purposely inserts this statement made by Estragon to indicate that life is meaningless because there is no impression of the meaning of life. Similarly Lucky doubts the existence of humans. In Act 1, when Vladimir lays the hat on Lucky he starts to think: LUCKY. Given the existence…of a personal God…with white beard…who from the heights…loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers….with those who…are plagued in torment…torment…it is established beyond all doubt…that man in short…wastes and pines…abandoned and unfinished…33-34Through this, he confirms the existence of a God, but explicitly says that he does nothing to interfere, and watch humans suffer.  Also, Lucky aims to provide insight to the human existence, that man has been abandoned by the divine power–Godot, but for some “reason unknown” humans are tied to him. Therefore, making man seek purpose for something that is unknown to them. Lucky’s dialogue claims that God is only a projection and reduces the human existence to luck. Lucky’s speech from Act 1 connects to Vladimir and Estragon’s journey to wait for Godot, thus providing their life with some type of purpose.In addition, the Boy holistically represents hope for the appearance of Godot. Samuel Beckett displays these themes of hope through Vladimir and the boy: VLADIMIR. You have a message from Mr. Godot. BOY. Yes sir. VLADIMIR. He won’t be come this evening. BOY. No sir. VLADIMIR. But he’ll come tomorrow. BOY. Yes sir. (81-82)In comparison, the Boy represents hope just like the Bible does. For instance, he Bible reassures Christians that God will appear one day and that humans are part of God’s larger plans. Even though Vladimir has a strong determination for the arrival of Godot, it seems that when he starts to question human existence, the Boy appears. Through this, it is concluded that, the Boy appears just to reassure Vladimir that Godot will come tomorrow, “Mr. Godot told me to tell you he won’t come this evening but surely tomorrow” (24). In doing this, the Boy causes Vladimir to renew his appointment for Godot, causing him to continue to wait. There are many ways that Samuel Beckett questions human existence in the play, “Waiting for Godot”. Beckett achieves this by using major archetypes through the main characters. These archetypes that displays throughout the play shape the absurdist viewpoint of human existence. In the case of Vladimir and Estragon, Vladimir represents the part of humanity that use their religion to find meaning and often is optimistic about life, even through their hardships whereas, Estragon represents the part of humanity that do not wait for a religious figure in order to find meaning in their lives. Lucky questions the relationship between man and the divine religious figure and connects his dialogue to the journey of Estragon and Vladimir, and questions the meaning of their purpose. The Boy represents hope for Vladimir that Godot will come one day and give them propose to their existence. These main characters play the role of the struggle of humans in society as they wait for Godot. Through this, Beckett defines the role of the characters through archetypes, which affects the play holistically.


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