In any comic act, there are two characters, traditionally known as the “straight man” and the “fall guy.” Vladimir would be the equivalent of the straight man. He is also the intellectual who is concerned with a variety of ideas.
Of the two, Vladimir makes the decisions and remembers significant aspects of their past. He is the one who constantly reminds Estragon that they must wait for Godot. Even though it is left unclear, all implications suggest that Vladimir knows more about Godot than does Estragon, who tells us that he has never even seen Godot and thus has no idea what Godot looks like. However, for all his intellectual capacities he consistently changes his mind and his opinion can easily be swayed by a change in circumstances.In contrast, Estragon is concerned mainly with more mundane matters: He prefers a carrot to a radish or turnip, his feet hurt, and he blames his boots; he constantly wants to leave, and it must be drilled into him that he must wait for Godot.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
. He is willing to beg for money from a stranger (Pozzo), and he eats Pozzo’s discarded chicken bones with no shame. He also has a poor memory, as Vladimir has to remind him in the second act of the events that happened the previous night. Estragon, then, is the more basic of the two. He is not concerned with either religious or philosophical matters, and regards such discussion as futile and absurd.
Estragon’s basic nature is illustrated in Act II when he shows so little interest in Pozzo and Lucky that he falls asleep; he also sleeps through the entire scene between Vladimir and the Boy Messenger. He is simply not concerned with such issues. Estragon, however, is dependent upon Vladimir, and essentially he performs what Vladimir tells him to do. For example, Vladimir looks after Estragon’s boots, he rations out the carrots, turnips, and radishes, he comforts Estragon’s pain, and he reminds Estragon of their need to wait for Godot. Estragon does sometimes suggest that it would be better if they parted, but he never leaves Vladimir for long. Essentially, Estragon is the less intelligent one; he has to have everything explained to him, and he is so bewildered by life that he has to have someone to look after him.