Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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POZZO: Help]

VLADIMIR: All I know is that the hours are long, under these conditions, and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which - how shall I say - which may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit. You may say it is to prevent our reason from foundering. No doubt. But has it not long been straying in the night without end of the abyssal depths? That's what I sometimes wonder. You follow my reasoning?

ESTRAGON: (aphoristic for once). We all are born mad. Some remain so.

I'll pay you]

ESTRAGON: How much?

POZZO: One hundred francs]

ESTRAGON: It's not enough.

VLADIMIR: I wouldn't go so far as that.

ESTRAGON: You think it's enough?

VLADIMIR: No, I mean so far as to assert that I was weak in the head when I came into the world. But that is not the question.

POZZO: Two hundred]

VLADIMIR: We wait. We are bored. (He throws up his hand.) No, don't protest, we are bored to death, there's no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste. Come, let's get to work] (He advances towards the heap, stops in his stride.) In an instant all will vanish and we'll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness] He broods.

POZZO: Two hundred]

VLADIMIR: We're coming]

From Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts by Samuel Beckett (Faber & Faber, pounds 4.99)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.