Could Have Made Do With Less

Samuel Beckett writing in January 1952 about Waiting for Godot. At this time it had not been staged. I do wish writers took this line rather than assuming they have any unique insight into the meaning of what they write. The work stands alone. Departed. I find this passage so refreshing and beautiful.

I know no more about the play than anyone who manages to read it attentively.

I do not know in what spirit I wrote it.

I know no more of the characters than what they say, what they do and what happens to them. Of their appearance, I must have indicated the little I have been able to make out. The bowler hats for example.

I do not know who Godot is. I do not even know if he exists. And I do not know if they believe he does, the two who are waiting for him.

The two others who pass through towards the end of each of the two acts, that must be so as to break the monotony.

All that I have been able to understand I have shown. It is not much. But it is enough, and more than enough for me. I shall even say that I could have made do with less.

As for wanting to find in all this a wider and loftier meaning to take away after the show, along with the programme and the choc ice, I am unable to see the point of it. But it must be possible.

I am no longer part of it, and never will be again. Estragon, Vladimir, Pozzo, Lucky, their time and space, I have only been able to know a little about them by staying very far away from the need to understand. They owe you an explanation perhaps. Let them get on with it. Without me. They and I have settled our accounts.

Samuel Beckett, The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1941-1956, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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