character of Estragon in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket



Since, in "Waiting for Godot", Samuel Becket has portrayed a dismal and shocking condition of man; therefore, it was mandatory for him to create the exact and shocking parallels to his theme. The character of Estragon and Vladimir suits the theme though both of them appal us all with their image of man as well as mankind. Estragon is the real lost one who receives the blows regularly and spends the night in some ditch and begins a new the next day. There seems no change of routines for him throughout the play. He is dependent upon Vladimir for everything including his defence and survival but he still unable to bear the conversation of Vladimir:

" Don't touch me! Don't question me! Don't speak to me! Stay with me!"

There is no sense of time and place to especially to the character of Estragon. He remembers nothing at all. He doesn't recall of having reached the placed yesterday. He can't even recollect of having left his shoes. He does not even remember Bible. While Vladimir is referring to the incident of two thieves and being saving of the one, Estragon is unable to understand the meaning of what Vladimir says. He asks for details but finding no answer thinks it is about their birth. Vladimir laughs and asks if he ever read Bible and the reply is:

"I must have taken a look at it".

They discuss about Gospels and Estragon remembers nothing about the book except the map of the holy city.

The loss of memory is accompanied by excess of fear for Estragon. He is always afraid and in a sense of pain. Through the mocking episodes of pain and fall of man's glory what we feel for Estragon is the image of human decadence and deteriorating complexities of man's being. Even existence loses meaning in all such circumstances:

"We always find something to give us the impression we exist".

Well, there is just impression and what about reality! The character of Estragon helps in building the theme of association and society. He cannot survive alone. It is unbearable to be lonely and without society. The role of society, in the form of Vladimir, encourages him to exist and survive though in the words of Vladimir:

"To every man his little cross. Till he dies. And is forgotten."

So, they are born to die with no purpose and no meaning to their life at all. This is the dilimma and tragedy of modern man.



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