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Why should you read "Waiting for Godot"? - Iseult Gillespie


3,395 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Two men, Estragon and Vladimir, meet by a tree at dusk to wait for someone named “Godot.” So begins a vexing cycle where the two debate when Godot will come, why they’re waiting and whether they’re even at the right tree. The play offers a simple but stirring question- what should the characters do? Iseult Gillespie shares everything you need to know to read the tragicomedy.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Waiting for Godot is a highly original and shocking play whose influence has stretched throughout contemporary theatre. This radio documentary explores the radicalism that has been associated with Waiting for Godot since its first performance. This article argues that Beckett’s play changed the face of modern drama.

Beckett himself had a fascinating life. He is considered one of the most influential playwrights who was instrumental in the rise of absurdist theatre and postmodernism.

Godot himself remains a maddening figure, and speculations continue as to what Beckett was trying to convey with this eerie figure—religious significance? Or a complete absence of meaning? Perhaps, as Beckett hinted, the title character’s name was plucked from a Tour de France athlete. The peripheral characters are just as elusive—from the duo Pozzo and Lucky to the mysterious Boy who might be Godot’s envoy. Check out this article, which discusses whether or not there is a “correct” pronunciation of the name “Godot.”

The mysterious premise of the play means that Waiting for Godot lends itself to multiple interpretations. To explore the different iterations of Waiting for Godot, visit this British Library page.

For insights into production history, click here. Extracts from theatre-makers who have taken on Godot can be found here.

For more testimony from directors and performers who have worked through Godot in varied ways—from all-female productions to prison productions to an outdoor performance in the wake of a natural disaster—click here.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Animator Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-Checker Francisco Diez

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