The relationship between Antonio and Sebastian in William Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night or, What You Will” and the relationship between Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) in Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, display the love shared between friends. A love which neither set of friends can bear to part with, even if it requires being selfless.
“Waiting for Godot” is an absurdist play, which tells the story of two friends, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), and their seemingly never ending wait for the mysterious Godot. While waiting, nothing remains the same, time has no meaning and memories are often forgotten; their friendship appears to be the only constant in each other’s lives. In Act I they entertain the idea of hanging themselves from the tree they wait beside, but soon this plan is forgotten. They argue over whether the branches would be strong enough to support their weight. Gogo claims that if he could be hung, then surely Didi could too. However Didi contradicts him and says that Gogo is smaller than himself so there’s the possibility that Gogo would be successful, but the branch could break during his own attempt, which would leave both of them alone. After hearing this, Gogo quickly drops the idea, since the thought of parting with his friend is too much to endure.
The concept of not being able to live without one’s friend is also presented in “Twelfth Night.” After Antonio saves Sebastian from a shipwreck, they become quite close, so when Sebastian mentions to Antonio that he must leave and travel to Count Orsino’s court, Antonio is saddened. Antonio is wanted in Count Orsino’s court, but he decides he would rather travel with his friend and risk injury to himself, than lose him. “I have many enemies in Orsino’s court, Else would I very shortly see thee there. But, come what may, I do adore thee so, that danger shall seem sport, and I will go” (Shakespeare 19).
In “Waiting for Godot” both friends share a love that goes beyond friendship, for they each take care of each other. When Gogo claims he cannot sleep, Didi comforts him and sings to him until Gogo is able to fall asleep. When Gogo wakes up, he claims he had a pleasant dream rather than the usual nightmares, which terrified him whenever he fell asleep. This displays the impact their caring has on one another. They can also be seen embracing each other throughout the play. Their affection seems to extend beyond friendship and instead into family relationships like those between brothers. Similarly, in “Twelfth Night” Antonio takes Sebastian into his care after the shipwreck and nurses him back to health. “A wreck past hope he was: His life I gave him and did thereto add my love, without retention or restraint” (Shakespeare 62). Like Didi, Antonio takes on a caring and protecting role. Antonio also attempted to defend Sebastian, who in actuality was Viola disguised as Cesario, when he enters the scene and finds Viola and Sir Andrew with their swords drawn. “Put up your sword. If this young gentleman have done offence, I take the fault on me: If you offend him, I for him defy you” (Shakespeare 51). Once again Antonio risks his own life in order to protect his friend Sebastian.
Both “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare, and “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, express the undying love felt between friends. Both sets of friends are willing to lie down their lives in an attempt to maintain their friendship. They put their friend above all else, including themselves.