Author: Samuel Beckett
First published: En attendant Godot, 1952 (English translation, 1954)
Locale: A country road
Time: The present
Vladimir (vla-dee-MEER), also called Didi (dee-DEE), and Estragon (ehs-tra-GOHN), also called Gogo (goh-GOH), two tramps. In this play, action is unimportant; the characters remain undeveloped as they wait impatiently for Godot, who remains a mysterious entity, possibly a local landowner but also a symbol of spiritual seeking. They gnaw carrots, rest their tired feet, and engage in other simple activities while their conversations reveal the helplessness of their situation. Throughout the play, there is every suggestion that the two live estranged from a state of grace that is hoped for but never realized. Often considering suicide, they are caught in a calm of inactivity between hope and despair in their longing for salvation, which is linked somehow with Godot. When the play ends, the two are still waiting for the promised appearance of Godot.
Pozzo (poh-ZOH), a materialist. A rich, boisterous tyrant, he is obviously an expounder of Nietzschean doctrines and materialistic concepts. Pozzo admits that Lucky has taught him all the beautiful things he knows, but now his servant has become unbearable and is driving him mad. At first, he drives his servant with a rope. Later, when Pozzo reappears, blinded in symbolic fashion by his own worldly successes and romantic pessimism, he must be led by his mute servant.
Lucky, Pozzo's servant. Born a peasant, he gives the impression of a new proletarian, the symbol of modern people's belief in the promises and miracles of science. Lucky first appears driven by Pozzo at the end of a rope. Ordered to think for the group, he delivers the wildest, most brilliantly sustained monologue of the play. When he next appears, he is leading the blind Pozzo, but he is mute.
Aboy, a messenger from Godot.