Waiting for Godot
Act II: Pozzo and Lucky's Exit to Conclusion
After Pozzo and Lucky leave, Vladimir wakes Estragon. Estragon is upset at being woken up, but Vladimir tells him that he was lonely. Estragon gets up, but his feet hurt, so he sits down again and tries to take off his boots. Meanwhile, Vladimir reflects upon the events of the day. Estragon dozes off again after unsuccessfully struggling with his boots.
The boy enters and calls to Vladimir. Vladimir recognizes the routine and knows what the boy is going to say before he says it. They establish that the boy was not there yesterday, but that he has a message from Mr. Godot saying that he will not come this evening, but definitely tomorrow.
Vladimir asks the boy what Mr. Godot does, and the boy replies that he does nothing. Vladimir asks the boy about his brother, and the boy tells him that his brother is sick. Vladimir asks if Mr. Godot has a beard and what color it is. The boy asks Vladimir what he should tell Mr. Godot, and Vladimir tells him that he should say that he saw him. The boy runs away as Vladimir springs toward him.
The sun sets. Estragon wakes up, takes off his boots, and puts them down at the front of the stage. He approaches Vladimir and tells him that he wants to go. Vladimir tells him that they cannot go far away, because they have to come back tomorrow to wait for Godot. They discuss hanging themselves from the tree, but find that they do not have any rope. Estragon says that they can bring some tomorrow. Estragon tells Vladimir that he can't go on like this, and Vladimir tells him that they will hang themselves tomorrow, unless Godot comes. Vladimir tells Estragon to pull up his trousers, which have fallen down when he removed the cord holding them up in order to determine whether it would be suitable for hanging. They decide to go, but once again do not move as the curtain falls.
By this point in the play, the dialogue about waiting for Godot has been repeated so many times that even Estragon knows it. Every time he asked Vladimir to go previously, they went through the entire dialogue about why they could not go. However, this time, Estragon goes through a miniature version of this dialogue by himself: "Let's go. We can't. Ah!" It seems that the numerous repetitions of this dialogue have finally impressed its hopeless resolution upon Estragon's mind.
Similarly, by the time the boy arrives in Act II, Vladimir already knows what he will say, and the boy does not have to tell him anything. This suggests that this dialogue has occurred many times before and furthers the indication that the play is just a representative sample of the larger circle that defines Vladimir and Estragon's lives.
The play's conclusion echoes the end of Act I. Even the stage directions reflect this similarity: after boy's exit and the moonrise, the stage directions read, "as in Act I, Vladimir stands motionless and bowed." While a live audience would not read these directions, they serve to emphasize the parallel between the two acts for readers and for actors performing the play.
The repetition of the final two lines from the previous act at the play's conclusion shows the continued importance of repetition and parallelism in Waiting for Godot. However, the characters have switched lines from the previous act, suggesting that ultimately, despite their differences, Vladimir and Estragon are really interchangeable after all.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!