In Waiting for Godot, two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, kill time on an open, empty road waiting for Godot, who never comes, and who they suspect may not exist. They quarrel, make up, contemplate suicide, try to sleep, eat a carrot, and gnaw on some chicken bone. An oppressive air of desperation and panic lingers over all of their activities because nothing actually happens. The play ends where it began – it goes nowhere.
In Endgame, an old mutilated couple monitor the disintegration of the world from the garbage cans in which they live.
Much like these two plays, Beckett’s other works are indecipherable and unpredictable and often feature extended dialogues of pure gibberish. The deformed, impotent clowns who hide in the shadows of the wasteland world Beckett creates are often frozen in a catatonic stupor or capable only of pathetic and farcical antics as they struggle with the Pandora’s Box of maladies which torment them. These characters and their miasmic world are a metaphor for the human condition, Beckett’s attempt to capture man’s alienation, exhaustion and helplessness in an insane world. If language is the last barrier shielding us from chaos, Beckett has made it obvious that words, too, are incapable of producing meaning. His tenebrous laughter is not meant to be malicious; worse – it is the shrill, sardonic cackle of the nihilist.