Irish-born French author Samuel Beckett was well known for his use of literary devices such as black comedy in his various literary works. Written during late 1948 and early 1949 and premiered as a play in 1953 as En attendant Godot, Beckett coupled these devices with minimalism and absurdity in order to create the tragicomedy known to English speakers as Waiting for Godot. True to its title, Waiting for Godot is the tale of a pair of best friends known as Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) who are waiting for the character the audience comes to know as Godot to appear. Throughout Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett alludes to the monotheistic religion of Christianity through symbols, dialogue, and characters to reveal the heavy invisible influence of God in the daily life of man.
Throughout the tragicomedy, the pair anxiously awaits the arrival of Godot. Vladimir and Estragon’s loyalty to Godot is evident within the first act of play. During a conversation between the two, Estragon asks Vladimir, “And if he doesn’t come?” to which Vladimir answers “We’ll come back tomorrow” and the go on to continue this dialogue: “Estragon: ‘And then the day after to-morrow.’/ Vladimir: ‘Possibly.’/ Estragon: ‘And so on.’/ Vladimir: ‘The point is—‘/ Estragon: ‘Until he comes’” (Beckett 10). In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, John 3:16 states that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (King James Version, John, 3.16). This biblical verse is used frequently in the Christian church to represent the idea of salvation. However, the Bible never gives an exact time frame on salvation, leading Christians to wait for God’s impending salvation, similar to Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot during the play.
The uncertainty of salvation is also seen when Vladimir and Estragon attempt to entertain themselves. Upon finding a branch on the tree, the two attempt to hang themselves but decide instead to hang themselves the next day, “’unless Godot comes’/ ’Estragon: And if he comes?’/ Vladimir: ‘We’ll be saved’” (Beckett 60). Once again, they are unsure of the arrival of Godot, as a Christian is unsure of the arrival of God’s salvation. While the idea of Godot arriving and God’s salvation are very similar, God’s salvation has been promised with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Throughout the duration of the play, Godot’s arrival is never promised although it is heavily mentioned.
Godot is never seen during the play, also similar to the deity of God. He is only mentioned frequently, having omnipresence in the lives of the main characters. Due to this presence, Vladimir and Estragon remain under a tree that Godot requested them to wait under, although nothing is physically chaining them to the area. The idea of “free will” is a concept discussed heavily in the Holy Bible. While waiting for Godot, Vladimir tells Estragon “Yes, let’s...