In Waiting for Godot, conversation is a mutual game played for itself Comment.

M.A English Part 2 Notes | Waiting For Godot

Question:In Waiting for Godot, conversation is a mutual game played for itself Comment.
The dialogue in "Waiting for Godot" shows certain features, which are the characteristics of Beckett's style. The tragic part of the play takes a sudden change when the four main characters converse with each other on vague subjects. The play is replete with comic conversations. On two occasions for instance Vladimir admits his ignorance about the nature of the tree:

Estragon: What is it?

Vladimir: I don't know. A Willow.

Estragon: (Looking at the tree). What is it?

Vladimir: It's the tree.

Estragon: Yes, but what kind?

Vladimir: I don't know. A willow.

This dialogue is held between the two tramps. On both* occasions, after telling Estragon that it is willow, Vladimir qualifies his admission of ignorance about the nature of the tree.

The comedy often depends upon what is known as cross-talk between a pair of actors. Such types of cross-talk have been borrowed from the pairs of cross-talk comedian of English music halls. These musical halls, were situated in. London and used to provide entertainment to Londoner during the last fifty years of the nineteenth century. Such cross-talks are usually made as an interlude in between the two acts of the play keep the audience busy and avoid boredom.

Vladimir and Estrogens, who have lot of understanding with each other and call each ojher with nicknames as Didi and Gogo talk to one another in a strange manner:

Estragon: So long as one knows.

Vladimir: One can bide one's time.

Estragon: One knows what to expect.

Vladimir: No further need to worry.

There is a great similarity to the cross-talk held in music hall or the circus. It is quite evident in the following conversation between the two:

Vladimir: It's more than being at the theatre.

Estragon: The circus.

Vladimir: The music hall.

Estragon: The circus.

Such dialogues and cross-talks were usually held in the music halls in which two actors, a straight man and a funny man used to take part. Estragon tries to explain to Vladimir that since the latter is heavier of the two, he should logically try to hang himself from the bough first. "If it hangs y9u, it'll hang anything," Estragon concludes. But the statement is nullified when Vladimir asks him. "But am I heavier than you?" The second question divulges its repetitive quality which is very much familiar to the music hall joke. An other example bf cross talk is given below:

Estragon: And we?

Vladimir: I beg your pardon?

Estragon: I said, And we?

Vladimir: I don't understand.

Estragon: Where do we come in?

Vladimir: Come in?

Estragon: Take your time.

Another from-of comic talk in the music hall used to be the monologue which is also mirrored in this play "Waiting for Godot". Another fancy character in the play is Pozzo, who makes use of this type of talk in his discourse on the twilight, which ends gloomily: "That's how, it is on this bitch of ah earth." In a similar monolooue, Vladimir provides an example in the comic banter which begins.let us not waste our time in idle discourse" and proceed to do just that.

The comic dialogues and the conversation in which Vladimir and Estragon entangle themselves, resemble very much with the two famous cinema comedians of 1930s, Laurel and Hardy. Their friendship and mutual understanding was similar to Vladimir and Estragon. Neither of them was especially competent but Hardy made a show of being quite competent. Laurel was defeated by the most trilling requirements. In one of their pictures, occurred the following bit of dialogue: -

Hardy: Get on the mule
Laurel: What?
Hardy: Get on, the mule.

This dialogue is very much simHar exchange towards the end of Beckett's play:

Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.

Estragon: What?

Vladimir: Pull on your trousers.

Estragon: You want me to pull off my trousers.

Vladimir: Pull on/ON your trousers.

Symmetrical construction of speeches also adds elegance to the conversation and Beckett, in this regard, makes his own impression, which is quite evident in the exchange:

We could do our exercises
Out movements
Our relaxations
Our elongations
Our relaxations
To warm us up
To calm us down

Balance in the conversation with the help of verbal symmetries satisfies the mind very much. Such an example is quoted below from Act II:

Say. I am happy.
I am happy.
So am I.
So am I.
We are happy.

We are happy. (Silence) What do we do, now that we are happy?

Wait for Godot (Estragon groans. Silence)

From the explanations and instances' of dialogues, cross-talk, monologues quoted above prove that in Waiting for Godot, conversations held between a pair of actors, is a mutual game played for itself.
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