http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/the-hopeless-human-predicament/article4324615.ece

Nothing much is happening in their wretched lives. “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.” All they can do is to wait with anxiety and trepidation the arrival of Godot.

As Vladimir states: “But that is not the question. Why are we here; that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.”

So the two men, doomed to one another’s company in desolate surroundings, pass time bantering and bickering, singing and reminiscing, laughing and crying to relieve the monotony of their endless ‘wait’. They voice profound metaphysical questions interspersed with small talk. Their emotions change in quick succession, as if to reveal the contradictions that the human self is steeped in. Vladimir and Estragon desperately need one another in order to avoid living a life of loneliness and alienation. “Didi” and “Gogo” — their nicknames — demonstrate the intimacy of their relationship. Yet, every now and then they feel compelled to leave one another.

Estragon: Wait! (He moves away from Vladimir.) I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off alone, each one for himself. (He crosses the stage and sits down on the mound.) We weren’t made for the same road.

Vladimir: (without anger) It’s not certain.

Estragon: No, nothing

The pathos in Didi and Gogo’s need for each other and the anguish in their desire to escape their plight are palpable just as the absurdity in the situation of pointless waiting is evident. They do not know who Godot is. They are neither sure about the time nor the place of their appointment. They do not even know what will happen if they stopped waiting. Lack of this basic knowledge makes them powerless and insignificant. The tramps cannot but wait for Godot.

Ironically, the much-awaited Godot is never ever going to arrive.

Each day is a return to the beginning and each day passes in circuitous conversation.

Will they forever keep circling? Will they ever find closure? Perhaps not, because the universe that Beckett presents before us is devoid of design, purpose or care.

The intermingling of absurdist comedy with black humour redeems and lightens the inherently tragic theme. The spectators break out of their self-imposed inertia, rock with the rhythm of the play, pity and fear, laugh and cry. Waiting for Godot encapsulates the human condition brilliantly. It connects with our life and our situation. It seems to echo our deepest fears, confronts us with our naked self and our predicament, our stark loneliness — conditions not imposed by any outsider but by our own selves.

The play ends on that very note of bleak desperation. The unhappy vagrants, their questions unanswered, their hopes dashed, speak the final lines “Well? Shall we go?” Estragon answers, “Yes, let’s go,” but neither moves. The curtain falls over their immobility, over their inner paralysis.

I have spent two and a half hours balanced on a gossamer thread stretched between tension and excitement, astonishment and pure wonder. I have just witnessed a dramatic masterpiece, a timeless tale — a philosophical quest that is universal and eternal. I am out of the play but still in the play, haunted by the hopelessness of the human predicament.

As I walk by the meandering Liffey and the quays in downtown Dublin in the cool December breeze, I feel humbled by my own insignificance and an overwhelming sense of waiting for something undefinable in ‘the cosmic waiting room’.