For a play that is inherently nonsensical, Vladimir, whom Estragon often refers to as “Didi,” stands out as one of its most intellectually capable characters. He has a fairly reliable memory which helps him to stay focused on his goal of meeting Mr. Godot, and, as a result of his desire to make sense of their illogical universe, he ends up delivering many of the play’s more poignant lines. This heightened degree of awareness gives him a sense of responsibility that he attempts to live up to through his relationship with Estragon. Vladimir frequently suggests that Estragon would be unable to survive without him, a point that he illustrates through simple acts such as feeding him and constantly reminding him of their need to wait for Godot. With his frequent musings on religion and philosophy, however, Vladimir’s intelligence also serves as a counterpart to Estragon’s rather clueless approach to life. This dynamic reflects the interdependence between characters that features prominently in Theatre of the Absurd and adds humor to their banter throughout the play.

Despite Vladimir’s apparent intellect, his thoughtful musings and clear memories do not actually allow him to accomplish anything meaningful by the play’s end. He is unclear at times with his perspective, such as when he condemns Pozzo for enslaving Lucky in Act One and criticizes Lucky’s treatment of Pozzo in Act Two, and occasionally needs guidance from Estragon. Even more prohibiting than Vladimir’s intellectual inconsistencies, however, is his unjustified sense of hope. The frequent repetition of his reminder to Estragon that they must wait for Godot emphasizes his belief that Godot will eventually come to save them. Even though he acknowledges the fact that they are bored and “in the midst of nothingness,” this false hope keeps them trapped in an endless cycle of waiting. The closest that Vladimir gets to pushing back against this belief is when he angrily lunges at Godot’s boy near the end of Act Two, a moment in which he realizes that the boy will continue to return and act as if he had never met them. Regardless, this moment of awareness is not powerful enough to drive Vladimir to act, and he chooses instead to continue waiting faithfully.

In addition to Vladimir’s chronic inaction, another one of his key weaknesses is his fear of being alone. He and Estragon may have an ambiguous relationship, but Vladimir desperately clings to the sense of companionship that Estragon’s presence brings him. He refuses to let Estragon sleep, emphasizing his feelings of loneliness upon waking him up, and whenever they discuss the possibility of separating, he often takes a skeptical stance. Based on these reactions to the idea of being alone, Vladimir’s need for companionship seems to stem from his broader desire to find meaning and purpose in the nonsensical world around him. Having a companion prevents Vladimir from having to acknowledge the insignificance of his life as he and Estragon distract each other from the nothingness they face.

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