The setting of the first act of âWaiting for Godotâ is in the evening â our first, if somewhat vague, reference to time. Vladimir enters and greets Estragon, who informs him that he spent the night, there is time as he has âspentâ the night, and it is over a previous action, which happened in the past.
Vladimir begins a narrative about the Gospels â written previously â about the two thieves in order to âpass the timeâ. Estragon wants to leave but Vladimir forces him to stay because they are both âwaitingâ, representing time being used up, for Godot. The subject of the play quickly becomes an example of how to pass the time in a situation, which offers no hope. Thus the beginning sets the theme of the play:
Estragon: Nothing to be done
Vladimir: Iâm beginning to come round to that opinion.
A mention or representation of time is on page 2 when Vladimir says, â We should have thought of it a million years ago, in the ninetiesâ. We have an exaggeration of time, as a million years ago would certainly not feature on our time scale and then a mention of the nineties, presumably the 1890âs as this play was written in 1956. This is a somewhat feeble joke or just a mere representation of how Vladimir
This could be showing us how long it takes them to think of a new idea but it could also be showing us that Vladimir and Estragon must use up as much time as possible as their chief objective is "to pass the time"tm. The three men wrestle Lucky to the ground and pull off his hat at which point he stops speaking thinking. Pozzo tells Vladimir and Estragon that he and Lucky have been together for "nearly sixty years". Since most of the play is spent with Vladimir and Estragon trying to find things to do to pass the time. Neither of them moves from his seat. Their chief objective is to waste or pass the time and the time is now subjective. Therefore the majority of the play is devoted to devising games which help them pass the time. Vladimir cuts him off and asks the boy if he remembers him. Vladimir and Estragon return to their seats and continue waiting for Godot. Estragon is outraged that it took him so long to arrive and scares him. through spoken dialogue, it is however a very clear representation of time not only in the play but also for the two characters. Estragon gets bored of "waiting"tm and suggests that they "pass the time"tm by hanging themselves from the tree - "lets hang ourselves immediately! " " If it hangs you it will hang anything"Further down on the same page Estragon says: "On the other hand it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes".