What is the dramatic significance of the Pozzo Lucky scenes in Waiting for Godot?

M.A English Part 2 Notes | Waiting For Godot Notes
Question : How would you relate the Pozzo Lucky episodes to the theme or the play, Wasting for Godot, as a whole?
What is the dramatic significance of the Pozzo Lucky scenes in Waiting for Godot? .
Write a note on the relevance or the Pozzo-Lack appearances to the total scheme or Wailing for Godot.


A subsidiary them, Introducing Variety of Subject Matter

The Pozzo-Lucky relationship constitutes a subsidiary theme in the play, Waiting for Godot. The dominant theme of this play is "waiting"-waiting, boredom, ignorance, and impotence. The Pozzo Lucky relationship does not seem to have any basic or integral connection with this dominant theme. In fact, the connection between the two pairs of characters in the play is not very close or intimate. Even if the Pozzo Lucky episodes were removed from the play the play would still stand and be a satisfactory representation of the ordeal of waiting for someone who does not turn up or for something which does not materialise. But in that case the play would become rather truncated and would not, besides, occupy the ninety minutes or so for which it now occupies the stage. The Pozzo Lucky scenes representing a master slave relationship are thus intended to add to the substance of the play and to introduce some variety as regards subject-matter.
These scenes also serve as interludes between the periods of waiting by the tramps. Each appearance of Pozzo and Lucky and their encounter with the two tramps may have been meant to suggest the passing of time, which despite the two tramps ingenious devices to pass the time, would otherwise pass slowly indeed.

Pozzo-Lucky Scenes add to the Gloom or the Play

This does not mean, however, that the Pozzo-Lucky episodes have no connection at all with the main theme of the play. These scenes reinforce the mood of gloom and despair, which the play is intended to create. Lucky's plight under the tyrannical master ship of Pozzo is very wretched indeed. We first see Lucky driven by Pozzo by means of a rope tied round his neck. More dog-like than human, he must respond to the cracking of a whip, which he himself carries between his teeth till his master" has need of it. He is also to carry upon his shoulders the weight of Pozzo's belongings^ Bent under the weight of his burden, Lucky resembles the Biblical ass. He has a sore neck, which excites the sympathy even of the two tramps. His plight seems to us all the more pathetic in the light of his past brilliance when he radiated "beauty, grace, truth of the first water" and when he could really dance and sing with real joy. Now Lucky is reduced to a mere beast of burden in Pozzo's eyes, and Pozzo believes that such creatures should be done away with,, though, prompted by the kindness of his heart, he has decided to sell him at the lair instead of killing him. Subsequently the condition of Pozzo himself also becomes pitiable Pozzo becomes blind while Lucky becomes dumb. When they stumble and fall, they cannot get up by themselves and have to be raised to their feet by others. Pozzo certainly is not only himself feeble and infirm now but even the tramps feel physically weakened by contact with him and, after a fall, can get up only by an exceptional effort of the will.

Two Speeches Producing Despair

Two speeches, one by Lucky and the other by Pozzo, are especially noteworthy as regards the role of these two characters in reinforcing the general mood of gloom and despair in the play. Lucky's speech, incoherent though it is, terrifies the others because it foretells the extinction of the world. This speech begins with a postulate of the existence of a personal God and ends with the image of an empty, fossilized skull. What Lucky seems to be saying is that man has been unable to make a place for himself in this universe. Man wastes and pines and eventually fades away. As to God, he is the victim of "apathia", "athambia", "aphasia". He leaves man to his sports, and man has not a chance. Philosophers and scholars will fail to halt the regressive motion by which man will revert to his primitive condition. Scientific progress will simply unmake man. This is surely a saddening utterance, in spite of the comic movements and gestures in the midst of which Lucky speaks and the partly comic manner of his speaking. The other speech, by Pozzo, pertains to the brevity of human life and is wholly tragic, without any comic touches whatsoever. "One day like any other day, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die... They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instance, then it's night once more." Pozzo and Lucky in Act II present a very sad spectacle indeed. Once the whip cracking master of men and worldly possessions, Pozzo has now, because of his blindness, entered a shadowy world, a universe, which is "like nothing". His sightlessness, as he himself states, is that of Fortune, an absurd blindness. Unlike Tiresias, he does not possess a third eye, which would enable him to look into the future. A grotesque Oedipus at the crossroads, led by an idiotic slave, Pozzo is as cut off from any future as from his past. In the portrayal of Pozzo, Beckett seems to have given us a caricature of God, the absolute monarch. Pozzo is a living symbol of the Establishment. Even in his helpless state he makes use of the royal "we". But now he presents a gloomy spectacle.

The Contrast of Characters

The Pozzo-Lucky scenes are dramatically important from another point of view also. They enable us to see the contrast between the two pairs of character. Pozzo and Lucky create a metaphor of society, not as it is but as the tramps might see it, with the social structure reduced to an essential distinction between master and slave. Pozzo reminds us of a feudal lord who dominates by his gestures and his inflated language. His is a well-regulated world in contrast to the confusion of the tramps where everything is in flux, and Pozzo's. behaviour echoes the image, which the tramps have of Godot. There is another point of contrast Pozzo and Lucky are tied to each other, both ways, not by their natures but by their external conditions. The slave is tied but the master is tied ,ateo, because he must hold the rope. Latter this is the rope that leads the blind. Vladimir and Estragon have a different essential relationship: they are at once loving, doubtful, and resentful, wanting to break away yet still anxiously returning to each other; theirs is a voluntary relationship, but with binding natural ties. Pozzo and Lucky represent the relationship between body and mind, the material and the spiritual sides of man, with the intellect subordinate to the akpetites of the body. The relationship between these two men is on a more primitive level than that between the two tramps.

One way of Getting through Life

Pozzo-Lucky scenes have another link with the main theme. These two men may be master and slave, or body and intellect. They have also been thought to represent capitalist and proletarian, coloniser and colonised, Cain and Abel, sadist and masochist, even Joyce and Beckett. But essentially, and more simply, they represent one way of getting through life with someone else, just as Vladimir and Estragon more sympathetically represent another way of doing so.

Pozzo a Gruesome Product of the Modern Age

There can be another approach to the Pozzo-Lucky scenes. Pozzo could be interpreted as a gruesome product of the modern age. He has been called a "small bundle of subjective feelings and responses." He sometimes indulges in self-pity, but he represses his fear with an egotistical flourish: "Do I look like a man who could be made to suffer?" Deeply hidden under a mask of hardness however, there lies in him an unconscious longing for lost values. In Lucky, on the other hand, we can see destroyed contact with the creative sources of the inner consciousness. (It becomes more and more evident in the course of the play that Lucky believes his safety to life only within the pattern of a mutual sado-masochistic relationship between himself and Pozzo).

A Reacting of the Redemption

Yet another views is that Pozzo represents mankind and that Lucky represents Christ. If this view is accepted, what takes place before Vladimir and Estragon is a reacting of the Redemption. Vladimir and Estragon, of course, do not recognise it as such, find it unpleasant, and prefer to continue waiting for the vague Godot. Early in the play Vladimir had talked about the problem of salvation. Now faced by what the two tramps have apparently been waiting for, they find the truth unpleasant and therefore reject it. Thus, there is an intimate connection between the question of salvation raised by Vladimir at the outset and the Pozzo-Lucky scenes, which follow later.

The View of Lucky being Godot and the view that Pozzo is God.

One critic takes another line to establish a connection between the Pozzo-Lucky scenes and the playas a whole. In his opinion the play is all about impotence, and feels that Lucky holds the key to this play, especially in his long monologue. This critic is convinced that Vladimir and Estragon have destroyed their chances or finding Godot because lfhey have abused the link which is Lucky." He even suggests the possibility that Lucky himself may be Godot. Another critic comes close to this view by saying: "Pozzo's menial. Lucky, in some ways suggests the Biblical figure of Christ." It is also possible that through Pozzo's tyranny, Beckett may have tried to convey an anti-traditional view of God. Pozzo may be no other than Godot himself. If Pozzo is Godot, and Godot stands for God, then God must be as tyrannical and devoid of pity as Pozzo is. If this view be adopted, the relevance of the Pozzo Lucky episodes becomes even more striking. Vladimir and Estragon have been waiting for Godot who was expected to save these two men from utter despair by bringing about some improvement in their lives. Godot comes, but in Pozzo's disguise. For a moment the two tramps even take Pozzo for Godot (though they quickly dismiss the notion). Then the two tramps witness the piteous spectacle of Lucky being treated brutally by Pozzo. This, then, is -the reality of Godot (provided, of course, Pozzo is Godot in disguise). It is another matter that the wretchedness of Pozzo in Act II does not conform to this view. But, then, no single interpretation of this play is possible no single interpretation of either the play or Pozzo can consistently be maintained so as to fit all the situations and events that we witness.

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