The Significance of the Boy in Waiting for Godot

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Waiting for Godot
The Boy

Twice in Waiting for Godot, both Gogo and Didi meet the “boy” sent by Mr. Godot, once toward the end of Act I and once again at the end of Act II. When the boy appears, the only information he has to offer the two tramps is that Godot will come the following day, and shows no knowledge of coming with the same message the day before. This is Beckett’s way of addressing hope as an illusion, and of emphasizing the repetitive cycle of everyday life. This theme is central to the play as a whole, so despite the very short presence of the boy on both accounts, he still manages to represent one of the most important existentialist ideas that Beckett expresses throughout the work.

The boy serves as a prophet to Godot by delivering his messages to Gogo and Didi, much like those that exist in the Christian religion. Christians use the idea of a prophet to commute to them messages that an otherworldly God is presenting them with. This gives followers of the religion hope that God is indeed there and watching over them. Throughout the entire play, Gogo and Didi are stuck wondering whether or not Godot is coming, but they still believe that if and when Godot comes, their faith will be rewarded. Beckett works the young boy into a prophetic character by delivering messages of hope to the tramps such as “Mr. Godot told me to tell you he won’t come this evening but surely to-morrow”. The boy also offers a physical description of Godot (his beard in particular), furthering the extent of Gogo and Didi’s hope. Despite not meeting Godot, and no physical proof of Godot at all, they believe these messages, and continue waiting through the next day. This, again, is very parallel to most religions, as followers of God listen to the messages delivered to them, and after believing them, continue to wait for God and the salvation he will bring. The boy functions as a symbol of hope in this way, and he offers no final form of salvation to the tramps, just...
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