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Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot Summary


Here you will find a Waiting for Godot summary (Samuel Beckett's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

Waiting for Godot Summary Overview

Vladimir and Estragon, two companions, rendezvous near a solitary tree, engaging in various discussions while anticipating the arrival of an individual named Godot. During their wait, they encounter Pozzo who is en route to the marketplace to trade his servant, Lucky. The pair briefly interacts with Vladimir and Estragon before Pozzo and Lucky continue on their journey, leaving the duo alone once more. Subsequent to their departure, a young messenger approaches, bearing news from Godot. He informs Vladimir that Godot won't be arriving that evening, but assures him that he will definitely come the next day. Following an inquisitive conversation about Godot, the boy exits, leaving Vladimir and Estragon to contemplate their next move. Despite deciding to depart, they remain stationary until the closing of the scene. Convening again by the tree the following evening, Vladimir and Estragon persist in their quest to meet Godot. In an unexpected turn of events, they encounter Pozzo and Lucky once more, although Pozzo is now visually impaired and Lucky is mute. Pozzo has no recollection of their previous meeting and exits along with Lucky. Shortly thereafter, the young messenger reappears delivering the same message he had the day prior, that Godot is yet to arrive. Despite his previous interaction, he denies having met Vladimir before. Upon his departure, Vladimir and Estragon contemplate leaving again but end up rooted to the spot as the play closes.

act 1

Estragon is struggling to remove his boot when Vladimir arrives. They share greetings, and while Estragon fights with his boot, Vladimir examines his hat. They talk about the different interpretations of the two thieves from the Gospels, leading Vladimir to question why one version is seen as more valid. Estragon expresses a desire to leave, but Vladimir reminds him that they are waiting for Godot near the tree. They contemplate if they're in the right location or if they chose the correct day. When Estragon dozes off, Vladimir wakes him, feeling isolated. Estragon begins to share his dream, but Vladimir refuses to listen to his "private nightmares." They argue over whether they should separate; Vladimir is convinced Estragon won't leave, leading to an argument. Estragon manages to persuade him to return and they reconcile. While waiting, they consider hanging themselves on the tree. However, after discussing the logistics, they decide it's best to wait for Godot's instruction. Estragon expresses his hunger, and Vladimir gives him a carrot. They ponder their connection to Godot when they hear a frightening cry nearby and brace themselves for what's to come. Pozzo enters, dragging Lucky with a rope around his neck. Mistaking Pozzo for Godot, they learn Pozzo is not Godot and that they don't know him. Pozzo orders Lucky to lay down his stool and begins eating chicken. Meanwhile, Vladimir and Estragon inspect Lucky and notice a neck sore. They attempt to question him, but Pozzo intervenes. Estragon asks Pozzo for his chicken bones, but Pozzo insists Lucky has first dibs. When Lucky doesn't respond, Pozzo allows Estragon to take the bones. He expresses concern that Lucky might be ill. Vladimir angrily confronts Pozzo about his treatment of Lucky, before becoming embarrassed. Pozzo decides to leave but changes his mind, deciding to smoke another pipe. Vladimir wants to leave, but Pozzo reminds him about his meeting with Godot. Estragon questions why Lucky never puts down his bags. Pozzo attempts to answer but ends up giving a confusing response. Pozzo admits he wants to sell Lucky at the fair, upsetting Lucky who begins to cry. Pozzo hands Estragon a handkerchief to wipe Lucky's tears. When Estragon approaches Lucky, he gets kicked in the shins. Pozzo reveals he's learned much from Lucky, who has served him for sixty years. This leads to another outburst from Vladimir, upset at Pozzo's decision to sell Lucky and then at Lucky for mistreating Pozzo. When Pozzo loses his pipe, he gets upset while Estragon laughs at him. Vladimir leaves briefly, returning in a foul mood that eventually passes. Pozzo explains twilight and asks them to evaluate his performance. He suggests Lucky's performance, resulting in a dance and a nonsensical monologue from Lucky. The others struggle to endure this and eventually seize Lucky's hat to stop him. As Pozzo attempts to leave, he struggles and decides he needs a running start. He exchanges goodbyes with Vladimir and Estragon, before leaving with Lucky. Vladimir once again reminds Estragon they can't leave because they're waiting for Godot. A debate ensues about whether Pozzo and Lucky have changed. Estragon begins to feel pain in his other foot. A boy comes in, timidly delivering a message from Mr. Godot. Estragon's rough treatment of the boy leads to a reprimand from Vladimir. During the conversation with Vladimir, the boy reveals that he tends goats for Mr. Godot, who he says doesn't harm him but beats his brother, the sheep minder. The boy leaves after Vladimir instructs him to inform Mr. Godot that they were present. Night falls abruptly after his exit. Estragon gets up, placing his boots at the stage's edge. Vladimir assures him that Godot will arrive the next day. As they consider parting ways, they decide to stick together. The curtain drops as they stand still.

act 2

The second act unfolds the following evening at the same spot. The tree now bears a few leaves. As Vladimir enters the stage featuring Estragon's boots and Lucky's hat, he starts to sing. Estragon joins him, questioning why he keeps returning when he's happier alone. Vladimir argues it’s because Estragon can't protect himself. Vladimir states that things aren't the same as yesterday, but Estragon can't recall. The conversation turns to Pozzo and Lucky, and they dispute whether Estragon has visited the Macon region before. Despite Estragon suggesting they part ways, Vladimir highlights Estragon's dependence on him. The conversation stalls, and the quiet unnerves Vladimir. Noticing the tree now full of leaves, Vladimir finds Estragon's insistence that they weren't there yesterday puzzling. He reminds Estragon of Pozzo's bones and Lucky's kick, revealing a wound on his leg. When Estragon can't find his boots, Vladimir reveals them on stage, but Estragon denies they're his. Vladimir assumes someone swapped boots with Estragon. Estragon rejects a black radish that Vladimir offers and doesn't fetch a carrot as he said he would. Vladimir gets Estragon to try on the boots - they fit, but Estragon prefers them unlaced. As Estragon attempts to sleep, Vladimir sings to him. He wakes up from a nightmare shortly after. Vladimir dons Lucky's hat, swaps his own with Estragon's multiple times, and finally decides to keep Lucky's hat. They role-play Pozzo and Lucky until Estragon exits and quickly returns, fearing someone is coming. Believing Godot is near, Vladimir prompts Estragon to hide. However, their mutual watch morphs into a heated argument and ends with reconciliation. They entertain themselves by imitating a tree and doing some exercises. Pozzo and Lucky enter, with Pozzo now blind. His collision with Lucky results in a tumble, and they remain on the ground. Vladimir sees their arrival as a distraction, and a lengthy discussion ensues about their previous appointment. When Vladimir attempts to help Pozzo, he falls, and soon Estragon joins them on the ground. The four men, now lying on the ground, are stirred from their nap by Pozzo's shouts. Vladimir hits Pozzo to silence him, but Pozzo crawls away unnoticed. Estragon mockingly labels Pozzo as 'all of humanity' as he responds to various names. Vladimir and Estragon rise effortlessly, help Pozzo up, and learn of his sudden blindness and loss of time perception. They inform Pozzo that Lucky is asleep, leading to Estragon hurting his foot while waking Lucky. Pozzo's memory fails him when asked about their meeting, and he declares Lucky mute before they exit and stumble off the stage. Vladimir wakes Estragon after Pozzo and Lucky's departure. Estragon, annoyed at being woken, takes off his boots, while Vladimir muses about the day’s happenings. Just then, a boy enters, with a repeated message from Mr. Godot – he won't be coming today, but promises to come tomorrow. Vladimir inquires about the boy's life and tells him to relay to Mr. Godot that he saw him. When the sun sets, Estragon declares his intentions to leave. They discuss suicide but lack the rope to do so and resolve to bring one the next day. They decide to leave but remain stationary as the curtain closes.

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