Juxtaposition of Elements of Tragedy and Comedy in 'Waiting for Godot'

To what extent is the juxtaposition of elements of tragedy and comedy in this extract typical of the interplay of these forms in the rest of ‘Waiting for Godot’?

‘Waiting for Godot’, written by Samuel Beckett, is a play which has no subtext, leaving the audience to make up their own mind about the direction of the play. Its subtitle is ‘A tragic comedy in two Acts’, which is clearly presented throughout the whole of the play. The constant juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy makes the play almost meaningless, yet is still entertaining for the audience. Aristotle said that a tragedy should move the audience by depicting suffering and pain. Beckett achieves this, yet contrasts the suffering with comedy, which is made amuse the audience and to make them laugh. ‘Waiting for Godot’ is a key text of the absurdist movement, as it shows that tragedy, in the play, is not an isolated, specific event, but it is everywhere, a condition of being alive.

The structure of ‘Waiting for Godot’ has a large part in the juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy. The opening of the play portrays a gloomy situation, in not only the stage directions, but also the first line:
    ‘A country road. A tree. Evening… Estragon: (giving up again) Nothing to be done.’
The simple setting suggests bleak surroundings, which mirror their bleak situation. Estragon’s first line shows that there is ‘nothing to be done’, making his situation appear tragic, yet also slightly humorous, as he is not referring to his life, or ‘Waiting for Godot’, yet he is referring to his boot. It is such a motivating and significant part of the dialogue, as the subject of boots to the audience is unimportant, yet to Estragon and Vladimir it is what their conversation revolves around, and shows that the play is more of a tragedy for the audience than it is for the characters. Here, the juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy in the first line of the play, establishes a tragic tone for the rest of Act one and Act two, as well...