In Waiting for Godot, we have the two major relationships which mainly constitute the central theme of the drama. In spite of Vladimir-Estragon relationship and Pozzo-Lucky relationship, we have in this play the absent Godot’s relationship with these characters and with his servant boy. We have to judge how these relationships form the fabric of the drama.
Vladimir and Estragon are the two main figures of the play. Estragon seems to be a cowardly person who suffers from nightmarish visions. So he needs the care and guardianship of his friend and really can not do anything without him. Vladimir on the other hand is certainly more intelligent and more alert than Estragon. But in spite of that he is more or less a pathetic character finding himself quite himself and feeling compelled indefinitely to wait for Godot who is likely to bring about a change in the present situation but whose arrival seems to be very doubtful. Both Estragon and Vladimir represent the ordeal of waiting. They also represent ignorance, helplessness, impotence, and boredom. They do not have the essential knowledge; they do not know who exactly Godot is; they do not know what Godot will do for them; they do not know what would happen if they stopped waiting for Godot. They are forced to resort to various devices to pass time but each attempt sizzles out. This passing of time is a mutual obsession with the two men. Nothingness is what these tramps are fighting against, and nothingness is the reason why they keep talking. The condition of the two helpless individuals is the condition of everyman.
Vladimir-Estragon relationship symbolizes a relationship of naturalistic. Occasionally the two tramps talk of parting but never take the suggestion seriously. They illustrate the bond of understanding. They are full of frustration and resentment, but they cling to each other with a mixture of interdependence and affection deriving comfort from calling each other by the childish names ‘Gogo’ and ‘Didi’. Again they are incapable of anything more than mere beginnings of impulse, desires, thoughts, moods, memories, and impressions. Vladimir compares their proud past with their gloomy present now and then.
Vladimir and Estragon are distinct individuals having different characters, attitudes and temperaments. They are alive in a non-world. In spite of their inaction and pointlessness of their existence these two men still want to go on like millions of people who want to go even when their life becomes pointless.
The theme of disintegration and regression is mainly symbolized by Pozzo-Lucky relationship. Pozzo and Lucky symbolize the relationship between capital and labour or between wealth and the artist. Some critics tell us that Pozzo is no other than Godot himself. According to this view, Godot is God and Pozzo is, therefore, God. Some critics also are of the view that while Pozzo and Lucky may be body and intellect, master and slave, capitalist and proletariat, colonizer and colonized, cain and Abel, sadist and masochist, Joyce and Beckett, they represent essentially and more simply one way of getting through life with someone else. Just as Vladimir and Estragon, more sympathically another way of doing so.
The relationship between Pozzo and Lucky is reflected in the physical bond that holds them together—the link of the rope. The relationship between them is that of dominant and dominating, though in the second act it takes on another aspect that of the dumb leading the blind. The relationship also represents the exploitation of the social life where Pozzo is one of the haves, dinning on chiken and wine, while Lucky is the have-not to whom he throws the gnawed bones. The drudgery and inhuman treatment have reduced Lucky to the level of an animal. But he is not treated as a man. So he is below the level of animals, rather a mere machine in some respect.
Lucky and Pozzo create a metaphor of society. Although Pozzo and Lucky present an obvious and sharp contrast to each other. They have one thing in common- they are both driven by a desperate attempt to avoid panic which would ruin them if they lost their belief. It becomes more and more evident in the course of the play that Lucky believes that his safety his only with the pattern of a mutual sadomasochistic relationship between them. Moreover, Pozzo Lucky pair may be compared to the collective pseudo-ego.
One critic is of the view that Pozzo represents mankind and Lucky represents Christ. If this view is accepted what takes place before the tramps is the reacting of the Redemption. Another possible interpretation is that Pozzo represents the psychological aspect of human personality and Lucky the spiritual which is in time brutalized by the treatment.
Moreover, Godot seems to be some sort of medieval land-lord. He has agents and correspondents working for him; he has a shepherd who rears the sheep. Actually, Godot is capricious in his relationship, he beats the one but loves the other. The tramps are afraid of Godot, so is the boy. Thus Godot rules through fear.
Thus, these three inter-relationships are very much significant from the dramatic point of view. The tramps’ waiting symbolizes humanity’s vain hope of salvation. Moreover, the meaninglessness and the helplessness which are the main issues of the drama are focused by these relations.