Note: Lucky's Thought as presented here is a variant of the Grove Press version that was "translated from his original French text by the author".

LUCKY: (monotone sales-pitch)  Being    given    the existence    such  
       (débit monotone) — Étant     donné   l’existence        telle 

that it gushes forth from the recent public works of
qu’elle jaillit des récents travaux publics de
Poinçon and Wattman1 of a personal God quaquaquaqua
Poinçon et Wattman d’un Dieu personnel quaquaquaqua
with a white beard quaqua outside of the time of
à barbe blanche quaqua hors du temps de
the extent that from high of its divine apathia2 its divine
l’étendue qui du haut de sa divine apathie sa divine
athambia3 its divine aphasia4 [who] loves us well with
athambie sa divine aphasie nous aime bien à
some near exceptions one knows not why but
quelques exceptions près on ne sai pourquoi mais
it will come and suffers as in the divine
ça viendra et souffre à l’instar de la divine
Miranda5 with those who are one knows not why
Miranda avec ceux qui sont on ne sait pourquoi
but one has [the ] time in the torment in
mais on a le temps dans le tourment dans
the fires whereof the fires the flames for little
les feux dont les feux les flammes pour peu
that it endures a little more and that can while
que ça dure encore un peu et qui peut en
doubting will put in the end the fire in the
douter mettront à la fin le feu aux
beams [whereas they are] known [that they] will carry up
poutres assavoir porteront
hell of the naked [ones] so blue by instances
l’enfer aux nues si bleues par moments
still today and calm so calm of a
encore aujourd’hui et calmes si calmes d’un
calme that can be intermittent [but] within which is
calme qui peut être intermittent n’en est
not less welcome but let us anticipate not
pas moins le bienvenu mais n’anticipons pas
and anticipated on the other hand according to
et attendu d’autre part qu’à la suite
the unfinished research let us anticipate not of the
des recherches inachevées n’anticipons pas des
unfinished research but nevertheless crowned (celebrated)
recherches inachevées mais néanmoins couronées
by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Berne-en-
par l’Acacacacadémie d’Anthropopopométrie de Berne-en-
Bresse6 of Testu7 and Conard it is established without
Bresse de Testu et Conard il est établi sans
further possibility of error that this afferent to the
autre possibilité d’erreur que celle afférente aux
human basis8 that according to the research unfinished
calcus humains qu’à la suite des recherches inachevées
unfinished of Testu and Conard it is established tabled9
inachevées de Testu et Conard il est établie tabli
tabled that which follows which follows which
tabli ce qui suit qui suit qui
follows [whereas it is] known but let us anticipate not
suit assavoir mais n’anticipons pas
one knows not why according to the works of
on ne sait pourquoi à la suite des travaux de
Poinçon10 and Wattmann it appears as clearly [as] so [as]
Poinçon et Wattmann il apparaît aussi clairement si
clearly that in view of the labours of Fartov and
clairement qu’en vue des labours de Fartov et
Belcher unfinished11 unfinished one knows not why
Belcher inachevés inachevés on ne sait pourquoi
[that] of Testu and Conard unfinished unfinished it
de Testu et Conard inachevés inachevés il
appears that man contrary to the opinion
apparaît que l’homme contrairement à l’opinion
contrary [opposing] that man in Bresse of Testu
contraire que l’homme en Bresse de Testu
and Conard that man finally in brief that
et Conard que l’homme enfin bref que
man in brief finally despite the progress of
l’homme en bref enfin malgré les progrès de
alimentation and of elimination of waste is
l’alimentation et de l’élimination des déchets est
in the process of growing thin and at the same parallel time
en train de maigrir et en meme temps parallèlement
one knows not why despite the strides of
on ne sait pourquoi malgré l’essor de
physical culture of the practise of sports such as
la culture physique de la pratique des sports tels
such as such as tennis football racing and (both)
tels tels le tennis le football la course et
on foot and on bicycle swimming riding
à pied et à bicyclette la natation l’équitation
flying conation12 tennis camogie skating
l’aviation la conation le tennis le camogie le patinage
and (both) on ice and on asphalt tennis flying
et sur glace et sur asphalte le tennis l’aviation
sports sports of Winter of Summer of Autumn
les sports les sports d’hiver d’été d’automne
of Autumn tennis on grass on wood and on
d’automne le tennis sur gazon sur sapin et sur
clay flying tennis hockey on the ground
terre battue l’aviation le tennis le hockey sur terre
on the sea and in the air penicillin13 and
sur mer et dans les airs la pénicilline et
substitutes in brief I reiterate at the same parallel time
succédanés bref je reprends en même temps parallèlement
to shorten [make a long story short]14 one knows not why
de rapetisser on ne sait pourquoi
despite the tennis I reiterate flying golf both
malgré le tennis je reprends l’aviation le golf tant à
nine and eighteen holes tennis on ice in brief one
neuf qu’à dix-huit trous le tennis sur glace bref on
knows not why in Seine15 Seine-et-Oise Seine-et-Marne
ne sait pourquoi en Seine Seine-et-Oise Seine-et-Marne
Marne-et-Oise [whereas it is] known at the same parallel time
Marne-et-Oise assavoir en même temps parallèlement
one knows not why to grow thin to narrow [it] down
on ne sait pourquoi de maigrir rétrécir
I reiterate Oise16 Marne in brief the dry loss by the
je reprends Oise Marne bref la perte sèche par
head of the pipe17 since the death of Voltaire18 being on
tête de pipe depuis la mort de Voltaire étant de
the order of two fingers 100 grams per head of
l’ordre de deux doigts cent grammes par tête de
pipe19 thereabouts on average about nearly round figures
pipe environ en moyenne à peu près chiffres ronds
well weighed20 undressed in Normandy one knows not
bon poids déshabillé en Normandie on ne sait
why in brief finally [of] little import the facts are
pourquoi bref enfin peu importe les faits sont
there and considering on the other hand that which is
là et considérant d’autre part ce qui est
yet more serious that it stands out that which is
encore plus grave qu’il ressort ce qui est
yet more serious as to the light the light
encore plus grave qu’à la lumière la lumière
of the experiments in progress of Steinweg21 and
des expériences en cours de Steinweg et
Petermann it stands out that which is yet more
Petermann il ressort ce qui est encore plus
serious that it stands out that which is yet more
grave qu’il ressort ce qui est encore plus
serious [as] to the light the light of the
grave à la lumière la lumière des
abandoned experimentation of Steinweg and Petermann
expériences abandonnées de Steinweg et Petermann
that [of] the countryside the mountains and by
qu’à la campagne à la montagne et au bord de
the sea and by the rivers and (both) of water and of fire
la mer et des cours et d’eau et de feu
the air is the same and the earth [as it is] known the air
l’air est le même et la terre assavoir l’air
and the earth by the great coldness [of] air and [of]
et la terre par les grands froids l’air et
the earth made for the stones by the great
la terre faits pour les pierres par les grands
coldness alas in the seventh [century]22 of their era
froids hélas au septième de leur ère
the ethereal the earth the sea for the stones from
l’éthere la terre la mer pour les pierres par
the great depths the great coldness on the sea
les grands fonds les grands froids sur mer
on earth and in the precious air I reiterate one
sur terre et dans les air peuchère je reprends on
knows not why despite the tennis the facts
ne sait pourquoi malgré le tennis les faits
are there one knows not why I reiterate
sont là on ne sait pourquoi je reprends
it follows in brief finally alas it follows for the
au suivant bref enfin hélas au suivant pour les
stones who can doubt it I reiterate but let us anticipate
pierres qui peut en douter je reprends mais n’anticipons
not I reiterate the head at the same parallel time one
pas je reprends la tête en meme temps parallèlement on
knows not why despite the tennis it follows the
ne sait pourquoi malgré le tennis au suivant la
beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so
barbe les flammes les pleurs les pierres si bleues si
calm alas the head the head the head the head
calmes hélas la tête la tête la tête la tête
in Normandy despite the tennis the labours
en Normandie malgré le tennis les labours
abandoned unfinished more serious the stones in brief
abandonnés inachevés plus grave les pierres bref
I reiterate alas alas abandoned unfinished the head
je reprends hélas hélas abandonnés inachevés la tête
the head in Normandy despite the tennis the head
la tête en Normandie malgré le tennis la tête
alas the stones Conard Conard (Mêlée. Lucky pushes on
hélas les pierres Conard Conard...(Mêlée. Lucky pousse encore
with a few more shouts.) Tennis The stones so calm
quelques vociférations.) Tennis! ... Les pierres! ... Si calmes!
Conard Unfinished
... Conard! ... Inachevés! ...
2 Apathy 3 Imperturbability 4 Muteness 5 Daughter of Prospero; the name means "admirable" 8 calcus related to Latin root for rock. In this case, "calcus" roughly means bedrock. Foreshadowing of repeated use of the word "stone". 9 French pun. By omitting the first syllable of établie, established, Lucky echoes the final two syllables tabli, tabled; e.g., to put aside (like the work of Testu and Conard). 11 Sexual pun on the inability to achieve orgasm. 12 conation—word coined by Beckett, using his favourite word con (stupid asshole) as a root; in this context, it refers to being a dumb asshole for sport. 13 Cure for syphilis 14 Sexual pun, referring to post-coital penis. 15 Satiric names for French départements (roughly equivalent to counties), all centred around the confluence of the Seine, Oise and Marne rivers in Paris. There actually exists a département called Seine-et-Marne, but the other names are takeoffs on this. 16 These départements do exist and were regions in which a number of WWI battles took place. 17 Another sexual pun. 18 Continuation of previous pun: Voltaire was impotent. 19 Further continuation—reference to masturbation. 20 Another sexual pun; in this case, well-hung. 22 The century in which St Augustine produced his writings. Didi quotes Augustine’s meditation on the two thieves earlier in the play.
Stone walls in Connemara



. . . No doubt the most striking loss of this kind to the English reader is the humour Beckett derives from a mixture of real and invented proper names in Lucky’s speech in the French Waiting for Godot, where the punning is dazzlingly rich.

. . . the English "Acacacacademy of Anthropopometry of Essy-in-Possy" had been that of Berne-en-Bresse in French, an amusingly obscure or provincial-sounding town which in fact doesn’t exist. It recalls Bourg-en-Bresse, a centre not of learning but of gastronomy, and Beckett’s replacement of Bourg by the Swiss Berne is probably to be explained by the association with the verb berner, to hoodwink or hoax.

Similar resonances are present in the names of most of the "scholars" Lucky mentions. Puncher and Wattman in the English text are a rather lacklustre Anglicisation of the French Poinçon et Wattman— a wattman in French being a tramdriver, so that Poinçon (poinçon=ticket punch) is his conductor. This helps to explain the "public works" they are involved in, whilst both names are vaguely reminiscent of those of actual authorities such as James Watt or the French mathematician Louis Poinsot.

The range of suggestion of the English Testew and Cunard is limited when compared to the vistas opened up, for the amateur of puns, by the Rabelaisian French names they are derived from: Testu et Conard. The most obvious association here is with têtu et conard: mulish and (in coarse slang) stupid. There are also the echoes , given the context of French words for testicle (testicule) and vagina (again in slang: con) . Finally the names are also those of real people in the world of learning: Testu, author of an Histoire universelle des théâtres de toutes les nations (1779-81) or Jean-Léo Testut, author of a standard medical textbook, Précis d’anatomie descriptive , which has appeared in many editions since 1926—and Conard, the eminently respectable Paris publishing house responsible for standard editions of numerous French authors.

Finally Steinweg et Petermann (Steinweg and Peterman in the English text) are slightly more recondite because of the German element. For an English audience familiar with underworld slang (peterman=cracksman) the second of these two names could seem absurdly humorous. For a French audience it would be amusing in a different way (péter=to fart). It seems likely, however, that the joke is even more intricate and characteristically Beckettian in that it brings in a knowledge of German and of elementary etymology : these two German authorities are as dry (or as dense?) as stone, since stein=stone and Peter=Greek petros=stone. This would also account for the fact that in the remainder of Lucky’s speech stones are mentioned seven times.

One last type of humour present in French but less noticeable in English is that of Beckett’s jokes about his French style, which reveal him as somewhat self-conscious in his use of French. Lucky’s false start to his speech: "D’autre part, pour ce qui est . . . " (in the English: "On the other hand, with regard to . . . ") is a parody of learned prose and also a piece of self-parody by Beckett, since . . . the use of this expression is one of his mannerisms.

Harry Cockerham Bilingual Playwright


The most striking speech in the whole play, Lucky’s monologue when ordered to think, rivets our attention at first by its shocking mixture of seeming sense and evident nonsense, mingling reflections on "this existence . . . of a personal God . . . with white beard. . . . outside time without extension . . " (If God is without extension, how can he be said to have a white beard?).

But as an audience loses the thread of the progressively more disrupted sentence, it ceases to try to understand and is swept away by the verbal torrent which, in English, breaks down into the heavily accented dimeters already noted in Beckett’s free verse:

/ /
the air the earth
/ /
the sea the earth
/ /
abode of stones
/ /
in the great deeps
/ /
the great cold
/ /
on sea on land
/ /
and in the air
I resume
/ /
for reasons unknown
/ /
in spite of the tennis
/ /
the facts are there
/ /
but time will tell. . . .

Vivian Mercier Beckett/Beckett


Biblical or theological and religious references in the play serve similar ironic functions: the well-known biblical injunction "Seek and ye shall find" is garbled to "When you seek you hear.  . . . That prevents you from finding" ; Pozzo, condescension and punitive, seems at time a parody of God the Father, though "not particularly human", happy to meet "the meanest creature", "of the same species as Pozzo! Made in God’s image ", "even when the likeness is an imperfect one"; Vladimir and Estragon seem parodies of humankind, Estragon giving his name as Adam and Vladimir sententiously concluding that " all mankind is us "; Godot seems a parody of popular images of God, having a significant white beard, little boys for messengers (angels) and a nasty tendency to punish those who refuse to wait on him. The irony of these references keeps alive in the play what the story of the two thieves had suggested, that there is no happy salvation for Vladimir and Estragon.

Lucky’s monologue also sounds the note of blighted hope. . . . [a] paraphrase of Lucky’s argument: Despite the supposed existence of a personal God—both popular (with white beard) and philosophical (God qua God)—who supposedly loves humankind (while at the same time having neither sensitivity to human suffering nor power to relieve that suffering and sometimes even causing torment) and despite supposed intellectual and physical progress, humankind wastes and pines: No distractions of physical activity or mental contrivance can hide the fact that humankind is only a "skull", fading, dying, only a skull that has been abandoned unfinished. . . . The discourse is unfinished; humankind, that mere skull, is unfinished.

In a play where the word saved is used frequently and desperately, in a play that virtually begins with a "sacred" but untrustworthy story about salvation, it can be unsettling to hear even chaotic denial of the main hope of Western thought concerning the relationship between God and human beings. The word skull climaxes that denial. Not only does skull obviously suggest death and disintegration, but to those who know their Bible it also suggests the name "Golgotha", that place of the skull (as the name signifies [Matthew 27:33]) where the two thieves were crucified. If, as Lucky’s monologue indicates, humankind is only a skull, then special places like Golgotha and special salvations from dying Gods or delaying Godots are the mere delusion Vladimir uneasily fears they may be. Lucky’s "discourse" thus becomes one more story to put beside Vladimir’s story of the two thieves, both ironic commentaries on the present situation of blighted hope.

Kristin Morrison Biblical Allusions in Waiting for Godot
from June Schlueter and Enoch Brater Approaches to Teaching Beckett's Waiting for Godot


Philosophical issues such as freedom form part of Godot, but they are discussed to comically and inconclusively for us to be able to say that any philosophy has been done. Even in Lucky’s speech philosophy is used and not done . What he delivers is a pastiche of an academic lecture, with its references to learned authorities ("Puncher and Wattmann", "Fartov and Belcher") and MacGowran as Lucky its absurdly calm "I resume"s. The subject of the lecture is the diminution of the human species in physical size. Not only is the delivery of this lecture hopelessly garbled, but the audience’s attention is diverted by the actions of the other three characters onstage, who groan, protest and finally attack Lucky to silence him. Most audience members cannot get more than a few shreds of the speech, but the impression of complete senselessness is slightly modified by its philosophical scraps. The God mentioned at the outset is "without extension", as in Descartes for whom the mental-spiritual world of God (and res cogitans is not "extended" in space (as opposed to the material world, which is res extensa). From Descartes, too, comes the method of systematic doubt in philosophical inquiry: "all other doubt than that which clings to the labours of men". "Essy" and "Possy" are English pronunciations of esse and posse—"being" and "being able". Taken from the Scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages , the words appear courtesy of "Testew and Cunard". Bishop Berkeley, for whom the existence of things was a philosophical question (for whom "essy" was "being perceived") also makes a brief and enigmatic appearance.

These ill-heard and unconnected scraps do not mean that Lucky’s speech is a farrago of nonsensical elements. His inability to "think" properly reflects a desperation that is not merely satiric. He balances the labours of scholars and the hope that they offer ("God", "beyond all doubt", "penicilline") with the despair of ignorance and uncertainty ("quaquaquaqua", "the labours unfinished", "for reasons unknown"), and he places particular emphasis on "man", about whom it is hard to say anything at all: "it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation . . . " We are left with King Lear’s "unaccommodated man", to whom philosophy seems hopelessly irrelevant or even threatening in that it asks unanswerable questions and leaves us to the "labour unfinished" of waiting for Godot.

Lance St John Butler Waiting for Godot and Philosophy
from June Schlueter and Enoch Brater Approaches to Teaching Beckett's Waiting for Godot


The centerpiece of Beckett’s theme of reading and recitation is, of course, Lucky’s speech near the end of Act I. It is the single time in the play when, for Lucky, words suspend physical action but do not supplant it. The speech is itself physical action, as Beckett’s stage directions indicate: Pozzo’s first instruction, " Think, pig !" results in a dance since Lucky cannot remember what think means (he subsequently "remembers" better than any of the other characters do). Think here means "language", and its manifestation is a ritualised recitation. . . . Camus, in The Myth of Sisyphus, argues that the absurd is precisely the suspense and tension, the abyss, in the human being, instigated by the thought of being caught between the arbitrary irrationality of the world and the rage for order in the mind. Just such a rage for order lies behind both Lucky’s speech and Beckett’s structure of reading and recitation in Godot. For Camus, as for Beckett, meaning must be lived to be significant. In the order of the recitation, of Lucky’s speech as lecture, meaning is arbitrary, certainly not the product of "lived" thought. The monologue does not break through to a lived meaning for Lucky or anyone else, since his worlds do not express any kind of conscious or intellectual conviction.

The speech is a vast compendium of hidden texts, of philosophy, religion, scholarship, scepticism and more. . . . [It] is a self-immolation for Lucky, who presents himself as a ritual sacrifice to interpretation (or to meaning); . . . But interpretation is impossible. . . . During his lecture, Lucky’s control (ordering) of his language is absurdly disordered and Pozzo’s control of Lucky disintegrates; Pozzo becomes more and more agitated. Finally, all three attack Lucky and drag him to the ground, enervated, on his last word, which is, appropriately, "Unfinished". After Pozzo’s instruction to nab Lucky’s hat, with which Didi complies, Beckett indicates in stage direction, " Silence of Lucky . He falls. Silence. Panting of the victors". Beckett’s use of vainqueurs is telling here. Lucky has radically altered his identity in this speech, outdoing Pozzo, Gogo and Didi in his verbal energy . . . Lucky demonstrates that repetition is not order, though it is not necessarily disorder ; he enacts the rending or sacrifice or order to disembodied language. In this [manner] Lucky challenged Pozzo, Gogo and Didi to suppress him. In the play, they are "victorious" over Lucky’s speech and, more important, over his violent manifestation of the slippage of language. To Lucky’s suppression, Gogo asserts, "Avenged!", and Lucky is treated as a figure of contempt. For his part, Lucky, conquered, collapses into a comatose apathy ("divine aphathia"?), as though his force has been utterly drained. He must, indeed, be taught to feel again.

Stephen Barker Lecture and Lecture: Recitation and Reading in Waiting for Godot
from June Schlueter and Enoch Brater Approaches to Teaching Beckett's Waiting for Godot


The usual view [of Lucky’s speech] is that it is a definition, in garbled syllogistic form, of the human predicament as the play itself acts it out; given the existence of a person God, it is established beyond all doubt that man is plunged in torment, wastes and pines, the skull fading, fading. And it ends in a corruption of Christ’s last words on the cross which gives rise to the idea that Lucky, like Estragon, sees life as a perverted ongoing Crucifixion.

There is little doubt that the speech is spun out on some such bleak axis. What this view sacrifices, however, is the sheer pictorial density of its mass. What happens as the speech proceeds is that this frenzied attempt to "establish" as basic proposition, or certainty, about man in the world becomes hopelessly engulfed in the variety in which the world asserts itself. In short, the speech may be a parody of academic "thinking", but it is also a great verbal frieze, or the ruin of one, depicting a whole world bound on one side by the processes of life (labour, physical culture, alimentation, defecation, etc) and on the other by the processes of nature. For all this, it is not a real world because it lacks connective tissue, contingency; but something like a logic emerges. In fact, the salient dramatic feature of the speech is that it simulates an explosion: as it builds, the human world of Fulham and Clapham gradually "fades" and is overwhelmed by a catastrophe that sounds suspiciously like the death of a star ("the rivers running water running fire . . . and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold"). At the centre one somehow sees a group of busy scholars labouring the big questions of God, man and matter in the Academy; and outside, on the fields and lakes and lawns, the rest of humanity is making great strides in sports of all kinds; all this against the backdrop of the world of the elements churning away—in spite of the tennis—toward entropy or toward some sort of apocalypse. So we end with something like a rewriting of Montaigne’s dictum: " . . . there is no constant existence, either of our own being, or of that of what we observe. Both we and our judgement and all mortal things are incessantly flowing and rolling on."

All in all, it is an excellent example of a "containing" speech: it reaches out toward essential matters (man in Essy), the idea being that if a dramatist would examine man thoroughly, he must put him in some sort of a universe, not merely in a locale. And one might say that Beckett’s main purpose in giving Lucky this speech, carefully "cured" in his long silence preceding it, was to expand the implications of waiting into final realms: tennis and thought in the context of the firmament.

Bert O States The Shape of Paradox: An Essay on Waiting for Godot


Pozzo’s rhetoric on the subject of the approach of night in Act I is clearly an exercise in bathos, but his sudden outburst in the second act is rhetoric of a different order. Part of it would make acceptable free verse in the original French:

Un jour,
ça ne vous suffit pas,
un jour pareil aux autres
il est devenu muet,Blin/Martin as Pozzo/Lucky
un jour
je suis devenu aveugle,
un jour
nous deviendrons sourds,
un jour
nous sommes nés,
un jour
nous mourrons,
le même jour,
le même instant,
ça ne vous suffit pas?
[One day,
is that not enough for you,
a day like all others
he went dumb
one day
I went blind
one day
we’ll go deaf
one day
we were born
one day
we shall die
the same day
the same second
is that not enough for you?]

Vivian Mercier Beckett/Beckett


" blind as Fortune "—Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi

Of all the ancient divinities only Fortuna survived through the change in religion that occurred when Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Why she was also to do so is a complicated question to answer. Part of the answer lies in the fact that she was not a deity with a specialised function or sphere of influence. She was an omnipotent deity, like Jupiter, whom she supplanted as supreme pagan god.

Her survival after the advent of Christianity also lies in the collapse of the Roman Empire, which seemed to portend for Christians the increasing disorder and conflict which was to herald the Second Coming of the Lord. The breakdown of Roman society and government, together with the sudden, unpredictable invasions and calamities of the fifth and sixth centuries AD, showed Fortuna to be an entity increasingly active in the world, and the unpredictability of her character became more and more pronounced.

No one could influence her, let alone control her. She respected not rank, not wealth, not merit. She favoured the good and bad equally, and abandoned them with equal disregard to their deserts. Fortuna’s character is mysterious; not only do men’s fortunes wax and wane, but even her power over the world seems to wax and wane, viewed from man’s standpoint. Thus she is like the moon, which waxes and wanes. . . . she is obscure and cloaked as to her presence, intent and effect. Controlling all, a natural force as immanent in the universe as heat and cold, she is rightly called Imperatrix Mundi [Queen of the World].

From the Carmina Burana, the collection of quasi-secular mediaeval poems which Carl Orff used for his oratorio of the same name, the first two songs are dedicated to Fortune.

O Fortuna
O Fortune
velut Luna
like the moon
statu variabilis,
you are changeable,
semper crescis
ever waxing
aut decrescis;
and waning;
vita detestabilis
hateful life
nunc obdurat
first oppresses
et tunc curat
and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem,
as fancy takes it;
and power
dissolvit ut glaciem.
it melts them like ice.
Sors immanis
et inanis,
and empty,
rota tu volubilis,
your whirling wheel,
status malus,
you are malevolent,
vana salus
well-being in vain
semper dissolubilis,
and always fades to nothing,
et velata
and veiled
michi quoque niteris;
you plague me too;
nunc per ludum
now through the game
dorsum nudum
I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris.
to your villainy.
Sors salutis
Fate is against me
et virtutis
in health
michi nunc contraria
and virtue,
est affectus
driven on
et defectus
and weighted down,
semper in angaria.
always enslaved.
Hac in hora
So at this hour
sine mora
without delay
cordum pulsum tangite;
pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem
since Fate
sternit fortem
strikes down the strong man,
mecum omnes plangite!
everyone weep with me!
Fortune plango vulnera
I bemoan the wounds of Fortune
stillantibus ocellis,
with weeping eyes,
quod sua michi munera
for the gifts she made me
subtrahit rebellis.
she perversely takes away.
Verum est, quod legitur,
It is written in truth,
fronte capillata,
that she has a fine head of hair,
sed pleumque sequitur
but, when it comes to seizing an
occasio calvata
opportunity, she is bald.
In Fortune solio
On Fortune's throne
sederam elatus,
I used to sit raised up.
prosperitatis vario
crowned with
flore coronatus;
the many-coloured flowers of prosperity;
quicquid tamen florui
though I may have flourished
felix et beatus,
happy and blessed,
nunc a summo corrui
now I fall from the peak
gloria privatus
deprived of glory.
Fortune rota volvitur:
The wheel of Fortune turns:
descendo minoratus;
I go down, demeaned;
alter in altum tollitur;
another is raised up;
nimis exaltatus
far too high up
rex sedet in vertice—
sits the king at the summit—
caveat ruinam!
let him fear ruin!
nam sub axe legimus
for under the axis is written
Hecubam reginam
Queen Hecuba

Premiere castShe is variable and veiled in purpose and action. Her apparent blessings may be in reality losses, and vice versa. The one favoured by her is happy and elevated and, like a king, is crowned, with flowers. The floral imagery, however, is used ironically. Flowers last but a season, and then wither: they metaphorically suggest that the happiness Fortune gives is as ephemeral. Fortuna gives worldly prosperity only to take it away as she did from Hecuba.

If Fortuna is Imperatrix Mundi, what is her relationship to God, the supreme governor of the universe? If she is independent of Him, He is not omnipotent. If she is subservient to Him, in what way is she Imperatrix?

Dante was one of those who was most responsible for the Christianisation of Fortuna. In the Inferno, Vergil explains to Dante Fortuna’s true rôle in God’s scheme, a rôle which is commonly misunderstood by men. Just as He created the angels to guide the celestial phenomena, so God created Fortuna to guide the Earth’s splendours. To the extent that she is above men, as the angels are, human reason cannot totally comprehend her or her actions and she appears to be hidden to it.

She is often shown as being two-faced, one face frowning. If she is depicted single-faced, the artist represents the duality of good and bad fortunate by making one half of her face white, the other black. She may have wings, for Fortuna is fleeting; she may be blind-folded, or even blind, since she seems not to regard merit in handing out rewards or ruin. Often she has only a forelock of hair and is bald on her head to show how difficult it is to snatch at Fortune.

The Italians called her, among other things fallace (deceitful) and favorvole (favourflightly). The French addressed her as cruelle (cruel) and belle (beautiful). By English poets she is termed blind and double (double-dealing). Writers of mediaeval Latin verse described her as amara (bitter), fera (untamed) and, of course, volubilis (changeable).

The average man saw her as being in full control of his life. In many illustrations she is shown stranding on a ball which symbolises both the earth, over which she rules, and her inherent instability. Most commonly, however, she is shown standing near a wheel which she turns. The wheel is perpendicular to the ground and below it, usually is a deep pit or grave.

The various stages in which Fortuna favours and then abandons man are shown in reference to the wheel. Men, standing in line, approach it, waiting their turn for Fortuna’s favour. One has begun to climb onto the wheel, ready to take his chance at success, fame and fortune. Sometimes a whole series of men, clothes as merchants, nobles or bishops, are strapped to the wheel; sometimes only four men are shown with little inscriptions indicating their relationship to Fortuna. The man at the top of the wheel usually holds a sceptre and wears a crown: his inscription reads Regno (I reign). To his right, a figure falling from the wheel grabs at his crown as it slips from his head; his inscription reads Regnavi (I used to reign). At the bottom of the wheel, stretch out, bereft of crown and sceptre, is the figure titled Sum sine regno (I am without power). On the wheel’s left, a man is climbing up, undaunted by the fate of the last two figures; he is described as Regnabo (I would reign).

[In other words, in the pagan/extra-JudaeoChristian world all men are slaves to Fortune, and those whom Fortune chooses to favour are called "Lucky"]


" They give birth astride a grave, the light gleams an instant then it's night once more. "

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
Everyone is alone in his heart on earth
Trafitto da un raggio di sole
Transported by a ray of sunlight
Ed è subito sera.
And it is suddenly evening.
—Salvatore Quasimodo, 1942



. . . it is above all in Lucky’s speech, that torrent of seeming madness, that Beckett’s mingling of the sacred and the profane and even the scatological assumed truly medieval aspects. In the manner of participants in mediaeval farce [e.g., the Festival of the Ass, an annual savage parody of the Latin Mass using the bawdiest of language], Lucky turns traditional patterns of reasoned discourse and theological debate into farce.

Yet the seriousness of his concerns becomes apparent when we strip his speech of its carnivalesque elements. He then seems to suggest something like "given the existence . . . of a personal God . . . with white beard . . . outside time . . . who from the heights of divine . . . aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown . . . and suffers with those who . . . are plunged in torment . . . it is established beyond all doubt . . . that man . . . fades away" .  . . . It is clearly patterned after a mediaeval French sermon joyeux, a burlesque sermon of the kind preached in churches during carnivalesque celebration . . . [that] often travesties sacred texts by speaking of food, drink and sex s if they were discussing theology or vice versa.

. . . Such phrases as "labours left unfinished", "for reasons unknown", together with heaven, hell, flames and fire conjure up a world presided over by a god as inscrutable as he is unpredictable, while the phrase "it is established beyond all doubt" ridicules the foolish and arrogant certainties of certain scholars. Like a mediaeval fool, Lucky truly leaps from topic to topic, as he turns the world mockingly upside down.

Edith Kern Beckett's Modernity and Mediaeval Affinities


Another example of the sermon joyeux-style parody of the Catholic liturgy, the penultimate chorus of Carmina Burana includes a parody of the Hail Mary in which the young girl, who has consented to have sex with the singer, is transformed from the Virgin Mary into the more pagan Venus:

Ave, formosissima,
Hail, most beautiful one,
gemma pretiosa,
precious jewel,
ave, decus virginum,
Hail, pride among virgins,
virgo gloriosa.
glorious virgin,
ave, mundi luminar,
Hail, light of the world,
ave, mundi rosa,
Hail, rose of the world,
Blanziflor et Helena,
Blanchefleur and Helen,
Venus generosa!
noble Venus!



. . . the connexion between this speech and the well-known poem Hyperions Shicksalsied by the German poet Hölderlin, the last verse of which reads:

Doch uns ist gegeben,
But to us it is not given
auf keiner Stätte zu ruhn;
in any place to rest;
es schwinden, es fallen
suffering humanity
die leidenden Menschen
perishes and falls
blindlings von einer
blindly from one
Stunde zur andern,
hour to the other,
wie Wasser von Klippe
like water dashed
zu Klippe geworfen,
from crag to crag,
jahrlang ins Ungewisse hinab.
year after year, down into the unknown.

[This poem was used by Beckett in an earlier novel] Moreover in Act II of this play Estragon’s nightmare is concerned with falling from a height which plausibly could be a cliff.

The essence of Lucky’s speech is that man "wastes and pines, shrinks and dwindles", and these four verbs are all translations of the German verb schwinden. The images in the poem are strewn through the speech in a typically schizophrenic manner (technically called asyndetic thought) by which the exact thought is not reproduced by the precise word but is conveyed approximately by a number of closely related words.

Thus the image of water is replaced by "the seas the rivers the great deeps" ; and Hölderlin’s cliffs are not mentioned, but instead we have "the mountains" and "the abode of stones" . Again, the idea of a fall into an abyss appears behind "in the great deeps the great cold" and "the great cold the great dark".

The schizophrenic is unable to hit the definite word or image but produces near misses which are clearly connected with the image, as in this example the ideas of great depth, cold and darkness are with the abyss. All these images, of course, are poured out higgledy-piggledy without any logical links so that the whole speech is disjointed.

In the final twelve lines of the speech a new image, the skull, occurs eight times although it has no apparent linkage with surrounding words like tennis, stones and Connemara; but of course it is the natural image for man’s ultimate fate, the end product of his wasting, pining, shrinking and dwindling in spite of the Deity’s love and the progress of science and physical culture.

G C Barnard Samuel Beckett: A New Approach



. . . actor Jack MacGowran has indicated the three threads of Lucky’s monologue: the constancy of the divine, the shrinkage of humanity, the petrifaction of the earth : Lucky’s monologue displays Western civilization as shards of religion, philosophy, science, art, sport and modern industry. In that monologue Lucky utters the word "unfinished" seven times; his sentences do not finish, and his monologue is not permitted to finish. Named with devastating irony, Lucky is modern man with his contradictory unfinished fragments.

Ruby Cohn Waiting


Two single speeches exemplify this extraordinary ability of the dialogue to turn back on itself. Lucky’s monologue in Act I . . . establishes the pitiful mortality of man and his works .  . . . the whole tour de force finally culminates in lines whose repeated echoes of "stone" and "skull" evoke the image of the graveyard that is every man’s end.

Death imagery also pervades Vladimir’s second-act song , . . . which is capable of infinite expansion (or rather, regression). Circular in structure, repetitious in vocabulary, the song is a symbol of the play itself, a "closed plot from which there is no exit."

. . . influence of Joyce and Finnegans Wake in particular can be seen in Waiting for Godot’s careful balancing of opposites. The overwhelming tendency to circular movement is countered if not conquered by an effort at linear progression. Against the monotony of the circle is set the fearful descending line that ends in the grave.

Barbara Reich Gluck Beckett and Joyce



. . . Lucky’s "think" can be seen as a transgression and disruption of the limits of the ultimate metagame—Western metaphysics, the language game of truth. The text of Lucky’s speech is akin to the product of taking all the great works of Western thought, putting them through a paper shredder, and pasting them back together at random.

Beckett directs Lucky’s monologue against the popular notion that philosophy’s job is to restore unity to man’s learning , a job which philosophers can only do by recuperating some metanarrative which links together all moments in human history within a single, continuous metaphysical system. Lucky’s think, though, is a narrative that disrupts and deconstructs all notions of universal, ahistorical, consistent metanarrative—all Godots.

Lucky’s think is directed against all the grand Narratives of western metaphysics, which ground themselves in discourses claiming to be: referential and self-validating ("quaquaquaqua"); ahistorical ("outside time"); metaphysical or mystical ("for reasons unknown"); teleological and revelatory ("but time will tell"); and bulwarks against radical skepticism ("calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing").

Lucky’s think exposes the limits imposed by all prior objectivist thinking; it is a thoroughly postmodern language game that moves at the limit of what has been thought. It is a speech of liberation set against the metaphysical tyranny of limitations on thought imposed by limitations on language.

. . . It is, however, not non-sense. Simple non-sense would still be though dictated by the dialectic of reason; it would involve a simple crossing over to the other side of the dialectic—doing or saying the un-reasonable thing—leaving its limits intact. Lucky’s think is not unreasonable; it is, to coin a word, transreasonable: it does not simply offer us the other side of the dialectic of reason, but moves at and beyond the margins of the dialectic, beyond the limitations that heave been placed on language.

In Lucky’s speech, Beckett exposes and transgresses these limits, mixing bits of grammatical sense (inside the limit) and transgrammatical nonsense (outside the limit) to the point where the limit itself is effaced, opening up the field of what can be thought. Through Lucky’s speech, Beckett emphasises "new moves" and even new rules for language games, having transgressed an disrupted the old rules and limits.

Lucky’s think, though, meets with a less than enthusiastic response from the other characters on the stage. . . . This "intellectual" violence mirrors the physical violence that Lucky is subjected to throughout the play.  . . . Lucky’s playful, "peaceful" discourse is met with violence —intellectual and physical— because it disrupts the modernist notion of coherence in the grand Narrative : specifically, it disrupts the narrative upon which Vladimir and Estragon have based their existence, Godot.

Lucky’s speech is essentially peaceful because it displaces the notion of objective knowledge, a notion that moves hand-in-hand with power. Knowledge is power, and objectivist modern knowledge is always used to create or uphold a violent power structure.  . . . much of Lucky’s knowledge may seem incomprehensible, but this is precisely the point because the postmodern drive is to push beyond the limits of the old paradigms. Vladimir and Estragon are at least on the right track when Vladimir says "this is getting really insignificant," to which Estragon replies "Not enough".

Jeffrey Nealon
from Cathleen Culotta Andonian Critical Response to Samuel Beckett


. . . Lucky’s famous speech with its confusion of garbled knowledge recalls the Doctor in ancient farce while the improvisation of the two tramps suggests the endless semantic speculations and misunderstandings of the Commedia dell’Arte. . . . each has his own set-piece to perform, an exact and well-tried lazzo such as the exchange of hats . . .

If language does threaten to assert itself, its pretensions are burst by the pratfall. At times the pratfall works from within language itself as in Pozzo’s inflated speech which portends, in the beginning, to be the definitive speech we have come to the theatre to hear: after leading his audience to a climax of expectation he cannot sustain the illusion and gloomily concludes—"That’s how it is on this bitch of the earth."

More frequently, however, it is solely physical and often disgusting. It deflates the platitudes and expressions of sentiment with which the characters clothe their isolation, as for example where Vladimir and Estragon, out of habit and the boredom of the condition, attempt a reconciliation:

E Come Didi. (silence) Give me your hand. (Vladimir turns) Embrace me! (Vladimir
softens. They embrace. Estragon recoils) You stink of garlic.
V It’s good for the kidneys. (silence. Estragon looks attentively at the tree)
What do we do now?
E We wait.

The pratfall returns them to the painful level of reality from which they will begin another "little canter" towards the same end. This is the clown’s weapon, the undignified, ceremonious collapse of human pretension, a levelling down from the upright to the horizontal. In Act II the tramps, Pozzo and Lucky all stumble and fall together to form a pile of bodies centre stage. It is the universal pratfall . . .

V We’ve arrived
P Who are you?
V We are men.

Michael Robinson The Long Sonata of the Dead



. . . Although in stark contrast to each other, Pozzo and Lucky have one thing in common: they are both driven by a desperate attempt to evade panic which would grip them if they lost their belief in that Pozzo stands for. . . .

Lucky deserves his name because he has a master who, however cruelly, organises his life for him.  . . . his thinking has deteriorated into the endless repetition of meaningless words reminiscent of the "word-salad" of schizophrenia.

I think we are justified in interpreting Pozzo as a gruesome product of the modern age . This "small bundle of subjective feeling and responses" may sometimes indulge in self-pity but represses its fear with narcissistic pomposity : "Do I look like a man who can be made to suffer?"— but deeply hidden under the mask of hardness there lies an unconscious nostalgia for lost values.

. . . In Lucky , on the other hand, we can see the destroyed contact with the creative sources of the psyche. It becomes more and more evident in the course of the play that Lucky takes it for granted that only within the pattern of a mutual sadomasochistic relationship between himself and Pozzo can there be any safety for him.

Eva Metman Reflections on Samuel Beckett's Plays


[The] schizophrenic split [as embodied by Pozzo and Lucky] was one in which the imaginative part , the function which William Blake called the poetic Genius, was shut off and made into a feeble inner self, while the remainder of the ego built up a pseudo-self which was occupied with material prosperity. As time went on the pseudo-self grew more and more domineering, self-important and callous but also more unsure of itself; on the other hand the inner self became more unreal and impoverished.

The split as embodied in Estragon and Vladimir is not so severe; they still retain feelings of affection for each other, come together each evening for mutual support and are visibly human beings who suffer. But Pozzo and Lucky represent a much more radical split in which the elements of feeling and imaginative thought have been suppressed and starved while a swollen ego has successfully pursued selfish material ends.

[Lucky’s speech] is a wonderful piece of schizophrenic oratory, a torrent of broken sentences and repeated phrases which makes a stream of apparently comic nonsense. But it contains a perfectly sane exposition of the fundamental impasse that has baffled all the theologians—how to reconcile our instinctive belief in a transcendent and beneficent Divine power with the undeniable experience of evil and misery. This thread of the speech may be summarised as follows:

"Given the existence of a personal God with white beard who loves us dearly (with some exceptions) and suffers with those whom (‘for reasons unknown but time will tell’) he has damned and plunged into hell; yet it is certain that man, both potential and actual, wastes and pines; in spite of all our science, medicine, sports and physical culture man shrinks and dwindles. In short, humanity suffers and we know not why."

This speech shows many of the technical characteristics of schizophrenic thought disorders , such as the frequent repetitions of phrases quite out of context, echolalia (as in "Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham" [another example of risqué reference] or "apathia athambia aphasia") , and the combination of two mutually contradictory ideas , as for example his statement that God loves us dearly "from the heights of divine apathia"—for the word signifies complete indifference and lack of feeling.

G C Barnard Samuel Beckett: A New Approach



Since the early thirties when Hegel’s dialectic and Marx’s theory of the class struggle began to interest the younger generation in France, the famous image of the pair "master and servant" from Hegel’s Phaenomenologie des Geistes so deeply engraved itself into the consciousness of those intellectuals born around 1900 [like Beckett] that . . . it has become the image of man in general . . . . "Man" is now seen as a pair of men; that the individual has now been replaced by men who fight each other for domination. . . they alone are seen as the "motor of time": for time is history; and history, in the eyes of dialectical philosophy, owes its movement exclusively to antagonism . . .

Kapp and Peterson

This Hegelian symbol of the motor of history steps onto the stage embodied by the figures Pozzo and Lucky, onto the stage on which, so far, nothing had reigned by " being without time ". . . . however shy Vladimir and Estragon may feel when first facing the new pair, there is one thing they cannot conceal: that they regard them as enviable. . . . And even though they pass the two timeless tramps by without knowing that they have already done so the day before—as "blind history" as it were, which has not yet become aware of its being history—they nevertheless, whether dragged or pushed, are already in motion and therefore, in Estragon’s and Vladimir’s eyes, fortunate creatures.

Günther Anders Being without Time: On Beckett's Play Waiting for Godot



Vladimir is careful to let Pozzo announce himself; his whole position would be in danger if the concept of Godot could not also be a precept. But like the blustering Satan of Paradise Lost, Pozzo is disappointed that he has been summoned and yet they do not know him.

The new arrivals increase one’s sense of possibility. Lucky is like Estragon, in snatching the sleep he can get, but Pozzo introduces the notion of " species " and can laugh where Vladimir’s timidity and querulousness do not allow him to. At the same time, Pozzo’s epicureanism is dependent on the continued enslavement of Lucky.  . . . Pozzo pretends Lucky is an analogue of the Kenotic Christ or Suffering Servant, but he is committed to a closed system that denies Christianity, and trying to father it on Lucky does him no good.

John Pilling Samuel Beckett


At one moment in Godot this mutual expectation appears to be redeemed from improvisation by the entrance of Pozzo . Here, is would seem, is the real actor, an imposing figure who makes his entrance conscious of its effect and with none of the timid uncertainty and inconclusiveness attached to the tramps. Bestriding the stage he declaims:

I am Pozzo . (silence) Pozzo! (silence) Does that name mean nothing to you? (silence) I say does that name mean nothing to you?

At his first entrance Pozzo has no doubts; he knows who he is and the audience, who, like the tramps, probably mistake him for Godot, believe that the waiting will now be resolved. For several minutes he sustains the illusion. With the aid of his vaporiser he recites a speech describing the fall of night.

This is the true performance, patiently, studied and rehearsed frequently spoken and owing nothing to the improvised passages that have been offered earlier in the evening. It is lyrical, prosaic and vibrant, uses dramatic pause and a variety of accepted theatrical gestures (" hand raised in admonition; he raises his eyes to the sky") to increase its effect.

Afterwards the artiste asks his audience, represented by Estragon and Vladimir, "How did you find me?", thanks them for their automatic enthusiasm and concedes: "I weakened a little towards the end, you didn’t notice?

The general effect, however, has been disappointing; as Estragon says: "I’ve been better entertained." Pozzo is not Godot as the second act makes clear. The evening is not saved for he needs the tramps as the audience needs them and Lucky needs him; it is another of those chains of cause and effect . . .

The deadening repetition of dialogue and action is demonstrated in the theatrical situation itself. If the necessity of being seen compels the actors to return before an audience night after night, the audience, for the moment the tyrant or witness, comes because it too is committed to wait. And if, during the evening, any progress is made . . . the next night returns them to the same point on the circle once again.

Michael Robinson The Long Sonata of the Dead


Pozzo and Lucky are representatives of the ordinary world from which the tramps are excluded. " We’ve lost our rights ?" Estragon asks. Vladimir prefers to say "We’ve waived them." Even the tramps with to assert their importance as free agents by insisting that their exclusion is voluntary. By contrast with Pozzo and Lucky, however, it is the tramps’ lives which appear normal.

. . . In a world where man awaits a revelation, Pozzo, the master, is the nearest approach to what is absent. Life, for Pozzo, is important. When he enters he still values the body (the provisions he has brought for himself); he is capable of enjoying sensual delight and depends upon a collection of cherished possessions (his pipe and vaporisor [much like relics prized by many established religions, notably the Roman Catholic church]). Pozzo’s is a fixed and well-regulated world in contrast to the stationary confusion of the tramps where everything is in flux, and his behaviour echoes the image which the tramps have of Godot (so does his name).

Pozzo is a temporal substitute for Godot: he is the man who has taken it upon himself to act as if the answers are known, who lives exclusively in terms of power, and whose existence is circumscribed by time. Lucky, it seems, is fortunate in his having found this substitute. His bondage is an alternative to the tramps’ unbearable waiting.

. . . when Vladimir asks [Pozzo] a question which, as an appeal to another, is the most precious form of linguistic contact, Pozzo prepares his answer like a teacher or a priest. If Lucky has found a substitute Godot, Pozzo avoids the tramps’ waiting by filling his life with illusion. Pozzo on his journey clings to his condition: the tramps who remain where they are are always seeking to change theirs.

It is Lucky who has transformed the world for his master and given Pozzo what intelligence and culture he now possesses. However, this has changed . . . and Lucky’s thinking is now not the rationalist consolation it once was but total scepticism which illuminates the agony beneath appearances.

This becomes apparent in Lucky’s great speech which terrifies the other characters because it foretells the extinction of the world. The authorities, bent on establishing "beyond all reasonable doubt" the exact truth about man . . . discover that in spite of all the researches of science, the intuition of the artist, the physical culture of sport and the endurance of the earth, everything is condemned to waste into the great dark of nothing. This is the only certainty which his intelligence has discovered . . .

The change which has overtaken Pozzo and Lucky by the second act is not simply a comment on the inevitable deterioration of the master-slave society, though Pozzo’s blindness does create a tragic image of his earlier refusal to see human existence as it really is. Rather it belongs to the larger context of Beckett’s treatment of man in time.

When he first appears Pozzo is still firmly immersed in normal time. At first he notices that " all subsides . A great calm descends . . . Pan sleeps", and then he starts to lose his possessions, first his pipe, then his vaporizer and finally his watch. When this happens he experiences difficulties in remembering what he has just said and his hold on what he insists is reality begins to weaken.

During the interval the process is completed. In the time since "yesterday" he has gone blind and Lucky dumb. Even Estragon is surprised at the rapidity of the change. " Since when ?" he demands to know . . . Pozzo’s great cry which provides the answer contains all of Beckett’s pent-up anguish over man in time: in our conception is our end and yet we have to live it out to this dreadful conclusion which men are powerless to alter ("One day, is that not enough for you . . . They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.")

Michael Robinson The Long Sonata of the Dead


. . . Lucky has been taken to be Pozzo’s soul —" But for him all my thoughts, all my feelings would have been of common things". There was a stage in Pozzo’s life when he learned from Lucky, but this is over now; and having exploited, abused, denied and finally silenced the spiritual side of his own nature until the very presence of Lucky seems like a reproach, Pozzo, the materialist, wants to be rid of him altogether.

In the French version of the play, he is going to sell him in the "Marché du Saint Sauveur". . . . In this particular case the body-soul interpretation is illuminating up to a point, and it fits beautifully with Pozzo’s line: " One journeys all alone . . . and never a soul in sight."

Ronald Hayman Samuel Beckett




Your name of Pozzo has created the desire to focus on the details of your immediate interests to the extent that others consider you to be fussy. You are attracted to, and could excel in, the mechanical or technical fields, such as computers. Instead of establishing the system and order you would like, you are over-particular in some things that matter to you personally but lax and indulgent in other ways. You place great importance on whatever you happen to be interested in, and can be quite thorough and detailed in what you are doing, but find it difficult to be consistent. You scatter your efforts when things becomes too monotonous. You have intense urges and feelings for which you can find no expression. At times you are motivated more by moods and desires than by sound logic and reason, and under conditions of stress you could react inadvertently in temper or stubbornness that you would regret later. The indulgences prompted by this name can lead to high blood pressure and its relative ailments, as well as nervous tension affecting the whole nervous system.


Your name of Lucky creates a very expressive, versatile, and spontaneous nature. You are happiest when you are associating with people and participating in activities with others. Your name gives you a desire to sing, dance, and have a good time. This name makes you very idealistic, emotional, and temperamental, liking to do things on the spur-of-the-moment and disliking being repressed or held down to monotonous detail. A lack of concentration makes it difficult to establish stable, secure conditions in your business life. In order to bring out the higher side of your nature, you should develop your artistic and creative talents. Over-indulgence in food or emotional desires could cause you to have problems in your nervous system as well as with your skin.


Your first name of Godot makes you spontaneous and versatile, enjoying congenial association, appreciating the finer things of life, and loving to talk and debate. You are strong willed and self-sufficient, not depending on others for encouragement. Your desire for independence and freedom means that you seldom tolerate limitations. Although you are naturally happy and generous, you fail to hold friendships because you are inclined to be too dogmatic, argumentative, or sarcastic. In an argument, you usually emerge the victor, but at a cost. Physical weaknesses centre in the head. The eyes, ears, teeth, or sinuses could be affected, or you could experience loss of hair. Skin problems such as acne or eczema could also appear.

Intro   Program Notes   Didi/Gogo   Godot   Beckett   Influences/Resonances

Staging   Production History   Four Symbolism

Act I text   Act II text