Summary and Analysis Act II: Departure of Boy Messenger: Vladimir and Estragon Alone

After the boy leaves, the sun sets and the moon rises, indicating that another day of waiting for Godot has passed. Estragon awakens and wants to leave this desolate place, but Vladimir reminds him that they have to wait for Godot. When Estragon suggests that they "drop Godot" and leave, Vladimir reminds Estragon that if they did, Godot would "punish us."

As he did at the end of Act I, Estragon once again brings up the subject of their hanging themselves. But Estragon forgot to bring the rope. They decide to hang themselves with the cord that holds up Estragon's trousers, but when tested, the cord breaks. This misadventure returns us to the world of the circus and the world of the burlesque house, and this rare, decisive action to kill themselves is rendered ludicrous since in the process of testing the cord, Estragon suffers the indignity of having his trousers fall down. Thus we see again Beckett's notion of the incongruity between what man attempts (and longs to be) and the absurdity of his position and his actions.

Since they have to come back tomorrow to wait for Godot, Estragon once again proposes that they bring "a good bit of rope" with them; Vladimir agrees:

VLADIMIR: We'll hang ourselves tomorrow. (Pause) Unless Godot comes.

ESTRAGON: And if he comes?

VLADIMIR: We'll be saved.

The question then is: if Godot doesn't come, will Vladimir and Estragon be damned?

After telling Estragon to put on his trousers, which are still around his ankles since the cord that held up his trousers is now broken, Vladimir suggests that they leave:

VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go?

ESTRAGON: Yes, let's go.

They do not move.


The ending of Act II is exactly the same as was the ending of Act I, and we have one final example of the disparity between the characters' words and the characters' actions. And since both acts are so identical and so circular, it should be obvious that tomorrow will find the two tramps back at the same place waiting for Godot, who will not come but who will send a boy messenger to tell them that Godot will surely come tomorrow and they must come back to wait for Godot, etc., etc.

Pop Quiz!

All of these exemplify the circular structure of the play except


What are characteristics of Modernist literature, fiction in particular?

Back to Top