After Pozzo and Lucky depart, Vladimir once again tells Estragon that they cannot leave because they are waiting for Godot. They argue about whether Pozzo and Lucky have changed, and Estragon suddenly complains of pain in his other foot.
A boy enters timidly, saying that he has a message from Mr. Godot. Estragon bullies the boy, who reveals that he has been waiting a while but was afraid of Pozzo and Lucky. When Estragon shakes the boy, badgering him to tell the truth, Vladimir yells at him and sits down and begins to take off his boots.
Meanwhile, Vladimir talks to the boy. He asks him if he is the one who came yesterday, but the boy tells him that he is not. The boy tells Vladimir that Mr. Godot will not come this evening, but that he will surely come tomorrow. Vladimir then asks the boy if he works for Mr. Godot, and the boy tells him that he minds the goats. The boy says that Mr. Godot does not beat him, but that he beats his brother who minds the sheep.
Vladimir asks the boy if he is unhappy, but the boy does not know. He tells the boy that he can go, and that he is to tell Mr. Godot that he saw them. The boy runs off the stage and, as he goes, it suddenly becomes night.
Estragon gets up and puts his boots down at the edge of the stage. Vladimir tells him that the boy assured him that Godot will come tomorrow. He tries to drag Estragon offstage to shelter, but Estragon will not go. Estragon wonders if they should part, but they decide to go together. As the curtain falls, they remain still.
This section begins with the most commonly repeated dialogue in the play, in which Estragon wants to go and Vladimir tells him that they are waiting for Godot. This section provides evidence for a religious reading of the play as Estragon compares himself to Christ when he decides to go barefoot. When Vladimir tells him not to compare himself to Christ, Estragon responds that "all my life I've compared myself to him."
Vladimir's statement that he pretended not to recognize Pozzo and Lucky suggests that he has met them before. This indicates that the actions presented in the first act of the play may have happened before, calling attention to events that occur outside the frame of the play. The same thing occurs when Vladimir asks the boy if he came yesterday, revealing that they were waiting yesterday with the same result. This suggests that the same events have been going on for some time; the two acts of the play are merely two instances in a long pattern of ceaselessly repeating events.
The end of Act I establishes Vladimir and Estragon's hopelessness. Even when they both agree to go, and Vladimir says "Yes, let's go," the two men do not move. Even their resolution to go is not strong enough to produce action. This inability to act renders Vladimir and Estragon unable to determine their own fates. Instead of acting, they can only wait for someone or something to act upon them.