Nothing to be done! Waiting for Godot


Constantin Brancusi’s The Kiss

The opening line of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, “nothing to be done,” seems rather a closure. If there is nothing to be done, then maybe we should indeed do nothing. Or, better, not even nothing should count for something to be done. Here we have, finally, what our age has been looking for: a final answer – there is no answer. It might be too easy, though, to say that Waiting for Godot, or, for that matter, any text that suggests that there are no answers and that we try too much finding meaning where there is none, fails in contradictions. After all, this problem seems to be as old as Western thought, since maybe Socrates’ “I only know that I don’t know anything.” We know, then, that there is no conclusion, and instead of liberating ourselves from the power of any definition, we remain determined by our new god: “there is no god.” In this sense, “nothing to be done” still leaves us in a realm where, while it seems that we liberated ourselves from all prejudices and preconceptions of truth, “nothing to be done” becomes the new norm, the new language, the new philosophy.

But then, at the end of the play, Estragon asks, “And if we dropped him?

The question cannot, after all, have an answer. If we dropped Godot for good, would we be able to leave this place? It seems it depends on what we mean by dropping. In a sense, leaving this place, this “here,” is never possible, for we would always arrive still here. It would be a different here, maybe, a here that is not-here, if we think about the first here, but still a here. We leave behind a theory, an idol, by falling into another one.

“Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?

Estragon: Yes, let’s go.

They do not move.”

Imagine Vladimir and Estragon bursting in laughter and falling into each other’s arms…

They have already left.



About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
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