Discuss the importance of parallelism in "Waiting for Godot".

In "Waiting for Godot", Samuel Becket has portrayed a dismal and shocking condition of man. Becket has used pairing and parallels in establishing the relationships of the characters in such a way as to project the miserable plight of man. There are three pairs of characters: primarily, the attachment between Vladimir and Estragon, intermittently, the association between Pozzo and Lucky, and the relationship between the tramps and the mysterious character, Godot. As a result of these relationships, the playwright is successful in depicting the themes of paralysis, delusion ignorance, loss of memory and uselessness. The characters and relationships create a sheer sense of loss and chaos. The characters are dependent on each other. The relationships are important in associating rays of hope, sympathy and wit as well. Probably, it is due to these relationships that the characters are able to bear the pain and misery. The impact of time reflects the burden of existence for these characters which is contrasted and reflected in their relationships.

The two tramps, Estragon and Vladimir, are parallel to each other. They are waiting for Godot, a mysterious and dubious character symbolizing God. Though they are identical and comparable in several aspects, yet they are different personalities having the same sense of loss and painful existence. Vladimir is a strong and shielding friend. He is helpful to Estragon. He seems a bit responsible. Estragon is an emotional fellow always complaining and shouting. Estragon is presented in physical pain while Vladimir is silent and thoughtful. For them time has halted. Estragon echoes "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful...". Everything seems to be changing around them but they can't. Estragon remarks: "They all change, only we can't". Both of them convey the sense of human inability to act. They are lost. They are waiting for rescue.

They are waiting for some help from Godot. "Only he can" help them. He can get them out of the trouble. Both of them are waiting for ever and ever. Both of them quit. But both of them wait. The two tramps have symbolic significance and are related to human society in general. They may be seen as paralleled (in relationship) to human society. The human race is as lost as the two tramps. There is loss of identity for both of them. Modern man is directed to a vague path leading nowhere; similarly the two tramps are just making the time pass. They have no purpose. They meet. They intend to go. They intend to commit suicide. They have lack of trust. But they do nothing. They profess "every man to his cross" that everyone has to bear the burden of his existence.

Though shown intermittently, yet the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky is of grave importance to the overall theme of the play. Pozzo is the master while Lucky is the slave. We find Pozzo, the haves, dragging Lucky by the rope in his neck. Lucky is wounded on his neck. Pozzo is symbolic of the exploitative society. Lucky represents the oppressed, have-nots, bearing the drudgery and inhuman treatment of Pozzo. This has reduced Lucky to a mere animal. Pozzo feeds Lucky with the bones and leftovers of food. He carries the burden of Pozzo's luggage all the time. He is beaten by Pozzo. Pozzo is so cruel to Lucky that he calls him "pig" and "hog". Pozzo wants to sell Lucky at a fair. But we find him serving Pozzo very faithfully even when Pozzo has gone blind. Lucky appears to be devoid of any human feelings except for a couple of instances. The dead feelings of Pozzo depict the hopelessness of the depressed modern man....
Continue Reading