An Important Point About Lucky’s Speech

Unknown LuckyLucky’s Speech from Waiting for Godot[1] goes along with my take on the play that the universe is unfathomable and all we have are our relationships. Lucky never says anything, he only starts to and this is why his hat must be removed, because he will simply continue on starting to say something—forever. And Pozzo’s comment that Lucky’s “thinking” used to delight him, I believe says nothing about Lucky and everything about Pozzo. In the end, when you want real answers, there are none to be found. Intellectual discourse only emphasizes that.

There is one part of his speech[2] that is fundamental to Godot, however, and it is at the very beginning. “Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard.” This is clearly the traditional description of the Christian God: a personal god with a white beard. That, in itself, doesn’t matter; Lucky’s speech is nothing if not cliche after cliche. Where it matters is at the end of Act II, when Vladimir is talking to Boy, who has brought a message from Mr. Godot:

VLADIMIR: (softly). Has he a beard, Mr. Godot?
BOY: Yes sir.
VLADIMIR: Fair or … (he hesitates) … or black?
BOY: I think it’s white, Sir.
VLADIMIR: Christ have mercy on us!

Boy is not ever certain what color beard his master has, but he thinks that it’s white. This clear recognition that Godot is probably mythical, and that perhaps Vladimir himself is, makes Vladimir angry. “You’re sure you saw me, you won’t come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!” But soon, he is calm like a dog suffering from learned helplessness. Maybe Godot exists, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe Vladimir exists, maybe he doesn’t. Nothing to be done.

[1] Perhaps I don’t need to point this out, but Americans habitually mispronounce “Godot.” It is not pronounced gu-DOE. It is pronounced GOD-oh. I probably make such a big deal about this because I hate the idea of ignorant people snickering behind my back, “He doesn’t know how to pronounce gu-DOE!”

[2] I can’t say a line from his speech, because his speech is only one line—a roughly thousand word line. And again, not a sentence, because a sentence communicates a complete thought.

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