Thursday 30 May 2019

Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot"

Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (French: En attendant Godot) - 1952

Plays are not my favourite read but I was always interesting to read "Waiting for Godot". The first surprise was that the Irish author Samuel Beckett has written this in French. I had never heard of that but when I ordered a copy in the library, it was written in both languages.

Anyway, an interesting story. True, as Estragon, one of the two main characters says, "Nothing happens, nobody comes", nothing much happens. There are two guys, Estragon and Vladimir who wait for this other guy, Godot. That's about the gist of the story. But the way they are waiting, that's the interesting part. The writing is done so well, even though you know that nothing happens and most probably nothing will happen, the suspension is there.

From the back cover:

"Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful?' Estragon's complaint, uttered in the first act of 'Waiting for Godot', is the playwright's sly joke at the expense of his own play - or rather at the expense of those in the audience who expect theatre always to consist of events progressing in an apparently purposeful and logical manner towards a decisive climax. In those terms, 'Waiting for Godot' - which has been famously described as a play in which 'nothing happens, twice'- scarcely seems recognizable as theatre at all. As the great English critic wrote 'Waiting for Godot' jettisons everything by which we recognize theatre. It arrives at the custom-house, as it were, with no luggage, no passport, and nothing to declare; yet it gets through, as might a pilgrim from Mars."

Samuel Beckett received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996 "for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation".

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.


  1. My dad was rather obsessed by this play. I think I watched it once, maybe on TV, when I was growing up. I have tried to read Samuel Beckett but failed.

    1. I totally understand. I don't think he's the kind of writer that draws you in right away. But he has a certain something and even though I don't really like to read plays, this was special. I'm glad I took it on.