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هالة النور
للإبداع
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أ. د. عبد الإله الصائغ
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د.علاء الجوادي 
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ملف مهرجان
النور السابع

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 ملف

مهرجان
النور السادس

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 ملف

مهرجان
النور الخامس

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تغطية قناة آشور
الفضائية

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تغطية قناة الفيحاء
في
الناصرية
وسوق الشيوخ
والاهوار

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تغطية قناة الديار
الفضائية
 

تغطية
الفضائية السومرية

تغطية
قناة الفيحاء في بابل 

ملف مهرجان
النور الرابع للابداع

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صور من
مهرجان النور الرابع 
 

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تغطية قناة
الرشيد الفضائية
لمهرجان النور
الرابع للابداع

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تغطية قناة
آشور الفضائية
لمهرجان النور
الرابع للابداع

 

تغطية قناة
الفيحاء
لمهرجان النور
في بابل

 

ملف مهرجان
النور

الثالث للابداع
2008

 

ملف
مهرجان النور
الثاني للابداع
 

            


ادناه بحث حول مسرحية (انتظار كودات) Waiting for Godot ... الاسلوب الادبي

علي اسماعيل الجاف

 يتم رفع الصورة

ادناه بحث حول مسرحية "انتظار كودات"  Waiting for Godot تناولت الاسلوب الادبي

الاستاذ الباحث / علي اسماعيل الجاف

 

Table of Content

 

1.) Introduction 2

2.) The Style of Waiting for Godot 7

3.) The Stylistic Features 9

Conlusions 18

Notes 20

References 21

 

 

 

Introduction

 

             Two men, Vladimir and Estragon, meet near a tree.  They converse on various topics and reveal that they are waiting there for a man named Godot.  While they wait, two other men enter.  Pozzo is on his way to the market to sell his slave, Lucky.  He pauses for a while to converse with Vladimir and Estragon.  Lucky entertains them by dancing and thinking and Pozzo and Lucky leave.

 

            After Pozzo and Lucky leave, a boy enters and tells Vladimir that he is a messenger from Godot.  He tells Vladimir that Godot will not be coming tonight, but that he will surely come tomorrow, Vladimir asks him ome questions about Godot and the boy departs.  After his departure, Vladimir and Estragon decide to leave, but they don't move as the curtain falls.

 

            The next night, Vladimir and Estragon again meet the tree to wait for Godot, Lucky and Pozzo entertains but this time Pozzo is blind and Lucky is dumb.  Pozzo does not remember meeting the two men the night before.  They leave and Vladimir and Estragon continue to wait.                                                      

                                                                                            (Martin, 1969:64)

 

           Shortly after, the boy enters and once again tells Vladimir that Godot will not be coming.  He insists that he did not speak to Vladimir yesterday.  After he leaves, Estragon and Vladimir decide to leave, but again they do not move as the curtain falls, ending the play.

                                                                                        (ibid: 65)

 

           Ruby (1987: 40), mentions that on a contrary road, at evening, near a tree with no leaves, a middle-aged man named Estragon (nicknamed Gogo) sits on a low mound struggling to remove his boots.  He is soon joined by his friend, Vladimir (nicknamed Didi), who is glad to see him again and who recalls the story of the two thieves crucified with Christ and wonders whether it was true that one of them was chosen to be saved.

 

           Estragon suggests that they leave this place bu Vladimir reminds him they must stay because they are waiting for Mr Godot.  They debate whether this is the right place or time for their meeting, but their discussion tries Estragon and he falls a sleep.  After Vladimir wakes Estragon they decide that they might pass the time while they wait by hanging themselves, but the lone tree insight seems too frail to hold them and they argure over who should hand himself first.

                                                                                        (ibid: 70)

 

           Then, two more characters enter - a man named Lucky, who carries a heavy load and has a rope around his neck, and a domineering man named Pozzo, who whips Lucky forward.  The frightened Estragon and Vladimir handle together and Estrafon asks if Pozzo is Mr Godot, but Pozzo, who claims to own the land they are on, intimidates Estragon and Vladimir into disavowing their connection with Godot.  Pozzo proposes to stay with these two men and orders Lucky to provide what he needs to sit and relax. As Pozzo eats chicken, Estragon and Vladimir inspect Lucky; Estragon sees the chicken bones that Pozzo has thrown on the goround and is given permission to gnaw on them.  Pozzo explains that he is taking Lucky to the fair to sell him, and when Lucky hears this he begins to weep, but when Estragon brings Lucky a handkerchief for his tears Lucky kicks Estragon violently in the skin.

                                                                                        (ibid: 71)

 

            Vladimir exists to urinate, and, after he returns, Pozzo asks if Estragon and Vladimir would like Lucky to entertain them by "thinking", but Lucky's thinking turns out to be a long, almost nonsensical monologue, Pozzo and Lucky announce their departure, do not move, but then finally manage to leave, and Vladimir and Estrgaon comment on how the visit from Pozzo and Lucky helped pass the time while they waited for Godot.                    

 

Finally, a boy leaves, Vladimir and Estragon also decide to leave but, after declaring their resolve, don't move.

 

              The next day, at the same time and place (the tree now had four or five leaves).  Katherine (1990: 5), illustrates that Vladimir enters in an agitated state and sings a circular kind of song about a dog.  Estragon enters, feeling gloomy about the beating he reports he has suffered, and he and Vladimir agree to say that they are happy, though they don't appear to be.  They rededicate themselves waiting for Godot, and Estragon suggests they could pass the time by contradicting one another asking one another question.  After a number of diverting exchanges, Vladimir sees Lucky's hat, left from yesterday, and he and Estragon do a vaudeville "bit" exchanging hats until Vladimir throws his own on the ground.  Vladimir suggests they pretend to be Pozzo and Lucky, which they do with limited success, but when the game sends Estragon offstage, he quickly returns, frontically announcing that "they" are coming.  Vladimir thinks this means that Godot is coming but Estragon's fear finally overtakes Vladimir as well and they look for a place to hide.  The tree offers little in the way of cover.  Estragon calms down and suggests that they simply watch carefully.  They then discover another game, calling one another names, and they insult one another until Estragon comes up with the ultimate insult, calling Vladimir a "critic".  After this games ends, they explore other discoveries and diversions until they are interrupted by another visit from Pozzo and Lucky.

 

            Mel (1996: 80), says that Pozzo is blind and bumps into Lucky after they enter, knocking them both down, Estragon asks if it is Godot who has arrived, but Vladimir is simply happy that they now have company as they wait for Godot.  Pozzo is quite helpless, unable to get up from the ground, and Vladimir engages in a long philosophical discoure on whether he and Estragon should help Pozzo get up.  In attempting to Pozzo, Vladimir falls himself and when Estragon attempts to help Vladimir up both end on the ground.  With all three seated and unable to rise, Vladimir announces that "we have arrived ... we are men."  Vladimir and Estragon's next effort to rise is effortless and they help Pozzo to his feet, supporting him on each side.  Pozzo begs them not to leave him.  In response to Pozzo's question, is it evening?"  Vladimir and Estragon scrutinise the sunset and conclude that they have indeed passed another day.  Pozzo asks about Lucky, his "menial", who seems to be sleeping , and Estragon advances toward Lucky somewhat fearfully, remembering the kick in the shins he received the day before.  For revenge, Estragon kicks the sleeping Lucky but hurts his foot in the process as Lucky awakes.  Estragon sits and goes to sleep.  Vladimir engages Pozzo in conversation and Pozzo claims no memory of a visit the day before.  As Pozzo prepares to leave, Vladimir asks him what he does, blind, if he falls where no one is in fine on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull to shrink.

                                                                                                                    (ibid)

 

              Many of the play's original audience members and critics probably came to Waiting for Godot expecting something more traditional than Lucky's speech and were not able to adjust to what what they were confronted with.  Even today's reader may need a gentle reminder about expectations.  As Hugh Kenner suggested at the outset of his book "A Reader's Guide to Samuel Beckett", the reader of Samuel Beckett may want a guide chiefly to fortify him against irrelevant habits of attention, in particular the habit of reading "for the story".  For, as Martin Esslin explained in The Theatre of the Absurd, "Waiting for Godot" does not tell a story; it explores a static situation.  "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it is awful."  Or, as Kenner put it, "The substance of the play is waiting, a mid uncertainty ... To wait, and to make the audience share the waiting; and to explicate the quality of the waiting; this is not to be done with "plot".

 

The Style of Waiting for Godot

 

            Hall (1987:31), states that the seemingly endless waiting that Estragon and Vladimir undertake  for the mysterious Godot has made Beckett's play one of the classic examples of what is called Theatre of the Absurd.  The term refers both to its content - a bleak vision of the human condition - and the style that expresses that vision.  The idea that human life lacks meaning and purpose, that humans live in an indifferent or hostile universe, is frequently associate with Existentialist writers like the French philosopher  Albert Camus and Jean Paul Startre.  But when these two writers expounded their ideas in novels and plays, they generally used traditional literary techniques - that is, life -like characters; clear, linearplots; and conventional dialogue.  But with writers like Beckett or the French dramatist Eugene Lonesco, the style is not an arbitrary choice but rather anecessary complement to the vision itself.

 

          Beckett and those who adopted his style insisted that to effectively express the vision of absurdity one had to make the expression itself seem absurd.  In other words, the audience had to experience what it felt like to live in an absurd world.  Thus, the familiar and comforting qualities of a clear plot, realistic characters, plausible situations, and comprehensive dialogue had to be abondoned.  In their place Beckett created a play where bizarre charaters speak in what sometimes appears to be illogical, banal, chit chat and where events sometimes appear to change with no appearnt logic.  In Waiting for Godot, for example, this quality is embodied in its most extreme form in Lucky's first act monologue where he demonstrates his "thinking" for two full pages of text, Lucky goes on like this: "I resume alas on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so first not so fast I resume the skull of shrink."                                         

 

 (ibid: 33)

               Many of the play's original audience members and critics probably came to Waiting for Godot expecting something traditional that Lucky's speech and were not able to what they were confronted with.  Even today's reader may need a gentle reminder about expectations.  As Hugh Kenner (1989: 40) suggested at the outset of his book: "A Reader's Guide Samuel Beckett",  the reader of Samuel Beckett may want a guide chiefly to fortify him irrelevant habits of attention, in particular the habit of reading "for the story".  For, as Martin explained in the Theatre of the Absurd, "Waiting for Godot" does not tell a story; it explores a static situation.  Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it is awful, "  Or, as Kepper put is it; the substance of the play is waiting, amid uncertainty, ...to wait; and to make the audience share the waiting; and to explicate the quality of the waiting: this is not to be done with the plot."

 

             Beckett's play came to be considered an essential example of what Martin Esslin later called "Theatre of the Absurd", a term that Beckett disavowed but which remains a handy description for one of the most important theatre movements of the century.  "Absurdist Theatre" discards traditional plot, characters, and action to assualt its audience with a disorienting experience.  Characters often engage in seemingly meaningless dialogue or activities, and, as a result, the audience senses what it is like to live in a universe that does not "make sense".  Beckett and others who adopted this style felt that this disoriented feeling was a more honest response to the post World War II world than the traditional belief in a rationally ordered universe.  Waiting for Godot remains the most famous example of this form of drama.  Waiting for Godot is one of the most important works of our time.  It revolutionised theatre in the twentieth century and had a profound influence on generations of succeding dramatists.  After the appearance of Waiting for Godot, theatre was opened to povibilities that playwrights and audience had never before imagined.

                                                                         (Martin, 1969: 65)

The Stylistic Features

 

            Peter (2002: 3), states that the term "style" is one which we use so commonly in our everyday conversation and writing that it seems unproblematic; it occurs so naturally.  Thus, we use it with reference to the shape or design of something, or talking about the way in which something is done or presented.  Similarly, when describing someone's manner of writing, speaking, or performing, who may say "she writes in a vigorous style" or "she started off in fine style."  The style has fashionable elegance, smartness, or a superior manner.  This manner is a distinctive manner of expression and style in a language can be defined as distinctive linguistic expression.

 

          So, stylistic, the study of style, can be defined as the analysis of distinctive expression in language and the description of its purpose and effect.  How such analysis and description should be conducted. The stylistic features are the healines, they are usually in a larger and bolder type face than that of the articles.  As a result of the size of the print and the restricted space available in the layout of the page, ellipsis which means that some words have been missed out, it is very often a feature of the language of headlines.  The result is a sccinct, pungent style, which has a direct and powerful effect on the reader: cultures have produced words of art like novels poems, plays, and songs, which become familiar to their members.  They also generate numerous linguistic expressions like proverbs and saying.

 

            In short, in making a stylistic analysis we are not so much focus on every form and structure in a text, as on those which stand out in it.  Such conspicuous elements hold a promise of stylistic relevance and thereby reuse the reader's interest or emotions.  In stylistics this psychological effect is called foregrounding, a term which has been borrowed from the visual arts, such foregrounded elements often included a distinct patterning or parallelism in a text's typography, sounds, word choices, grammar, or sentence structures.  Other potential style markers are repetitions of some linguistic element, and deviations from the rules of language in general or from the style you expect in a particular text type or context.  The concept of style crucially involves choice: it rests on the fundemental assumption that different choices will produce different styles and thereby different effects.  

                                                                                                    (ibid: 4-5)

 

             Steven (1992: 10), states that there are two types of distinctive features: one is linguistic context and the other is non-linguistic context.  Linguistic context refers to the surrounding features of language inside a text, like the typography, sounds, words, phrases, and sentences which are relevant to the interpretation of other such linguistic elements.  But the non-linguistic context is a much more complex notion since it may include any number of text-eternal features influencing the language and style of a text.  It is the fact that conscious or unconscious choices of expression which create a particular style are always motivated, inspiried, or induced by contextual circumstances in which both writers and readers are in various ways involved.

 

             When Waiting for Godot was first performed in England, many reviewers seized on the line "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it is awful" as a descriptive of the play itself.  Infact, of course, Pozzo and Lucky come and go twice.  We also have the putting on and taking off of hats and boots, the eating of carrots and radishes, atttempts to commit, suicide, a dance and a think from Lucky, and oration from Pozzo.  Estragon is bitten and Lucky Kicked.  A tree comes into leaf.  One could almost say "All human life is here".

 

            What the critics meant was that nothing happened which they recognised dramatic.  Yet in saying that, they were betraying their ignorance of a great deal of what is most important in modern drama.

 

"V. It is unbearable.  What am I to do? What am I to do.

A. Nothing.

V. Give me something! Oh, my God! I am forty-seven.

If I live to be sixty, I have got another thirteen years.

What a time!  How am I to get through those thirteen

Years? What shall I do, how shall I fill in the time? Ah,

don't you see ... don't you see, if only you could live the

rest of your life in some new way!  To wake up on a clear,

calm morning and feel that you are starting your life over

again, that all your past is forgotten, blown away life

smoke, to begin a new life ... tell me how to begin ...

what with ...(1)

  

 

            Here, the conversation between two men: A new life indeed! Our situations hopless yours and mine.  The hope of a new life, the hope of some pasttime to make him less conscious of the emptiness, or the hope of poison to end it.  I quote this passage to show how traditional a writer Beckett is.  His subject matter goes back to the Greeks.  Beckett's words and sentences are so obvious and directed like: "All I regret is being born, dying is such a long tiresome business."  The Greeks believed that to punish man for his attempt, to get up off his hands and kneses and assert some independence.  But gods were wise enough and cruel enough to include also hope, knowing that without hope man would simply end it all with a bare bodkin, poison, or apiece of rope.  "Hope deferred maketh the something sick", says Vladimir.  The full biblical quotation is: "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is the tree of liffe."  In Beckett hope is always deferred, desire is dead, and the tree of life is a cross.

                                                                          (James, 1996: 60)

 

            In Waiting for Godot two characters have being in search for something, they find themselves on a stage almost without scchery or props, without scripts.  They must keep the dialogue going at all costs until the author arrives to tell them who they are and what to do.  It is a savage game in which they must keep talking for a lifetime (though repetition, hesitation, and deviation are here allowed).  It is the only thing they can give themselves the impression that they exist at all.  They are representative figures.  Beckett has also brought back into the theatre other theatre other traditions which had become artificially cut off from it - circus, pantomime, music - hall and silent cinema.  Then, of course, there is the tradition of Irish humour.  For example:"Don't come down the ladder, paddy, I have taken it away."

 

"There is no escape from the hours and the days.

Neither from tomorrow nor from yesterdary.

There is no escape from yesterday because yesterday

had deformed us ... Yesterday is ... irremediably part

of us, within us, heavy and dangerous.  We are not

merely more weary because of yesterday, we are other,

no longer what we were before the calamity of yesterday

... We are in the position of Tantalus, with this difference,

that we allow ourselves to be tantalised" (2)

 

             Tantalised, that is, by the vain hope that tomorrow will redeem all our yesterday, that waiting is, therefore, a meaningful occuption.  Waiting for Godot soon becomes a matter of habit, and 'habit is a greater deadener'.  Or, as Beckett puts it more strongly: "habit is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit."  Habit is our way of evading as much as possible those" perilous zones in the life of the individual, dangerous, precarious, painful, mysterious and fertile, when for the moment the boredom of living is replaced by the suffering of being ... we can realistically expect from life is to be offered the opportunity to experience the suffering of being.  Perhaps the tramps are offered that in each act with the visits of Pozzo and Lucky.  But they are unable to escape more than momentarily from their paralysis.  Here is a typical example of their dialogue:

 

"Estragon: in the meantime let's try and converse

calmly, since we are incapable of keeping silent.

Vladimir: You are right, we are in exhaustible.

Estragon: It is so we won't think.

Vladimir: We have that excuse.

Estragon: It is so we won't hear.

Vladimir: We have our reasons.

Estragon: All the dead voices.

Vladimir: They make a noise like wings.

Estragon: Like leaves.

Vladimir: Like sand.

Estragon: Like leaves.

                                               Silence.

Vladimir: What do they say?

Estragon: They talk about their lives.

Vladimir: To have lived is not enough for them.

Estragon: They have to talk about it.

Vladimir: To be dead is not enough for them.

Estragon: It is not sufficient.

                                                          Silence.

Vladimir: They make a noise like featurs.

Estragon: Like leaves.

Vladimir: Like ashes.

Estragon: Like leaves.

                                                          Long silence. 

Vladimir: Say something!

Estragon: I am trying.

                                                         Long silence.

Vladimir: (inanguish).  Say anything at all!

Estragon: What do we do now?

Vladimir: Wait for Godot?

Estragon: Ah! (3)

 

             The rules of the games (called life) the tramps are playing are: don't listen to the silence don't listen to te voices; drown both with your own voices filling the vaccum of words.  We talk, therefore we exist since there is nothing to exist for, we must be waiting for something.  Therefore, there must be something to wait for.  That "something" we call God, or Godot.

 

            They were waiting for someone called Godot, about whom we know nothing except that will not be come.  That at least is clear to everyone from the beginning.  Vladimir at least is convinced that they have an appointment; that Godot has undertaken to help them, or consider it, and would be capable of doing so.  This is confirmed by the daily visit from the boy or boys bringing his apology for today and promise for tomorrow.  Didi is optimistic about his changes: "It is a reasonable percetage".  Gogo is not: "I am in hell."  Didi is the one who is in favour of waiting: "We have kept our appointment, and that is an end to that.  We are not saints, but we have kept our appointments, How many people can boast as much?"  To which Gogo replies; "Billions."  The tree also partakes of this ambiguity, it is the place where they were to meet Godot, but this may not be the right tree, since it is no different from any other.  Not only is it far from clear that Godot will never come; it also seems to me not at all clear that he does not in fact come, twice, during the play.  On each day covered by the play, and therefore, we can assume on every other day, (since the tramps cannot remember from one day to the next), at the very moment when Godot is expected, Pozzo arrives.  Hugh (1996: 40), states that Estragon takes him for Godot, Pozzo affects not to have heard of Godot, but how then does he know that Godot has their future in his hands?  Pozzo describes the tramps as to have been walking for six hours, yet still to been his own land, with "never a soul in sight".  He is not short of slaves.  We had understood Godot to be the local landowner, keeping sheep and goats 'in these parts'.  The researcher can see two possible explanations: either Godot does not exist, but has been invented by Pozzo as away of testing or tormenting the tramps; or Pozzo is Godot assuming another name and an appearance very different from the old man with a white beard the tramps believe Godot to be, again to test or confuse them.

 

             Roger (1978: 90), mentions that if we had thought that the tramps represented humanity at its lowest, Lucky makes us think again.  At least they are not tied, either to Godot or anyone else, as Lucky is to Pozzo.  Pozzo and Lucky are locked into the relationship of master sadist and masochist.  Lucky lives entirely in response to external stimuli.  He is a man reduced to beast, by choice, if we are to believe Pozzo.  And we can believe him, since we see the tramps aspiring to put themselves into exactly the same relationship to Godot on their hands and knees.

 

"Given the existence of a personal God with white beard,

outside time, without extension, who loves us dearly and

suffers with those who are plunged in torment, whose fire

and flame, will fire the firenament, it is established beyond

all doubt that man wastes and pines."(4)

 

           The crux of the play seems to the researcher to be Pozzo's invitation to the tramps to help him to raise Lucky up, not to let him go, to hold him tight.  But the tramps do not recongnise their common humanity with Lucky.  Pozzo and Lucky embody for the tramps, could they but see it, a revelation, like the Book of Job, of the degradation of man in relation to the Christian god.  This is a much more valuable revelation than the coming of the Godot of Didi's imagining would have been, since it offers the tramps the possibility of action with dignity, without illusions, ignoring Godot as it ignores them, and helping each other to raise up the fallen.  It seems for a moment that Vladimir will rise to the occasion:

 

"To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help

still ringing in our ears!  But at this place, at this moment

of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not.  Let us

make the most of it before it is too late!  Let us represent

worthily for once the foul to whick a cruel fate consigned

us!" (5)

 

          Waiting for Godot becomes an excuse for not doing the little which might be done to alleviate human suffering.  They collaborate with Pozzo in giving Lucky a taste of the boot.  Spiritually they remain a sleep.  Perhaps, at the end, it is too late.  As Beckett says in Malone Dies:

 

"For there comes the hour when nothing more can happen

and nobody more can came: and all is ended but the waiting

that knows itself in vain." (6)

 

           In this richly evocative "story" about two men who wait for another who never comes there are so many possible themes it is difficult to enumerate them.  Those that are readily apparent include the issues of absurdity, alienation and loneliness, appearance and reality, death, doubt, and ambiguity, time, the meaning of life, language, and meaning, and the search for self.  But one theme that encompasses many of these at once is the question of the human condition ... we appear to be born without much awareness of our selves or our environment and as we mature to gradually acquire from the world around us a sense of identity and a concept of th universe.  However, the concept of human life that we generally acquire may be fraught with illusions.  Early in his life Beckett dismissed the Christian concept of God and based his concept of the human condition on the assumption that human existence ends in the grave, that our most monumental achievements are insignificant measured by the cosmic scales of time and space, and that human life without illusions is generally difficult and sad.  Vladimir and Estragon live in a world without comforting illusions about human dignity, the importance of work and achievement, the inevitability of justice, or the promise of an afer life of eternal bliss.  They live in a world where almost nothing is certain, where simply getting your boots off or sleeping through the night without having to urinate is a pretty significant achievement.  They live in a world where violence and brutablity can appear at anytime, often victimising them directly.  They live without amenities, find joy in the smallest of victories, and are ultimately quite serious about their vague responsibility to wait for this mysterious figure who may or may not come and who may or may not reward them for their loyalty.  It is a life lived on the razor's edge of hope and saddness.

                                                                          (Brater, 1991: 70)

 

           Thus, Beckett shows Vladimir and Estragon spending most of their time dancing around words, attempting vainly to pin them down, to use them as guiding stars as best they can.  At the end of the play, for example, Vladimir is struck by Estragon's suggestion that much of what Vladimir "knows" might be as unreliable as Estragon's dreams, and Vladimir launches into a poetic monologue that begins: "Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now?"  But when he ends this lyrical moment of introspection he simply says: "What have I said?"  This is a world where even words fail to wrestle our lives into consistently coherent patterns of meaning, a world where the human condition is radically insecure but where the struggle to find meaning is perhaps the only nobility left for us.

                                                                 (ibid: 71)

 

Conclusions

 

             Estragon is more timid than Vladimir.  He usually follows Vladimir's lead.  He is more emtional and less engaged.  He likes to dream and forgets more easily.  Vladimir is forceful and optimistic.  He is sensitive, easily hurt, and quickly frustrated.  Vladimir is confident that Godot will come or appear and the most insistent that they meet their obligations by waiting.  Waiting for Godot is one of the most important works of our time.  It revolutionised theatre in the twentieth century and had a profound infulence on generation of succeeding dramatists. (1)

[1]

 

           Absurdist Theatre discards traditional plot, characters and action to assault its audience with a disorienting experience; characters often engage in seemingly meaningless dialogue or activities, and, as a result, the audience senses what it is like to live in a universe that does not "make sense".  Beckett and others who adopted this style felt that this disoriented feeling was a more honest response to the post world War II world than the traditional belief in a rationally ordered universe.  Waiting for Godot remains the most famous example of this form of drama.

 

           Fetcher (1985: 20), illustrates that Waiting for Godot has been and may always be a difficult work to read or view.  However, much of the difficulty that readers and audiences have had with the play seems to have come from false expectations.  If audiences come to a production expecting a traditional theatre, experience featuring a clear plot, realistic characters, and conventional dialogue, they are doomed to frustration and many not be able to adjust and simply experience what the play does have to offer.  The movement in Beckett's play, however, is more like a circle.  The play has a beginning, but the beginning seems somewhat arbitrary because what happened before the beginning does not seem important.

 

            Besides, the play has an end, but the end seems to recall the beginning and create a sense of circularity rather than the traditional sense of closure that conventional stories generally provide.  So, Beckett's play could perhaps be described as "All middle".  This, of course, reinforces the Absurdist or Existentialist idea of human life as having no clear purpose or direction, of life being an interminable waiting for a sense of purpose or closure that is not likely to ever arrive.  Seen clearly, life seems to these thinkers as something we simply do while we are waiting to die, and the illusions human beings create to give their lives a sense of teleology or purpose will not finally sustain the thoroughly reflective twentieth-century human being.

                                                                                        (ibid: 21)

 

           In fact, human beings struggle with the simplest of activities, are tempted to give up, but can do nothing to alter their fate except persist.  At the end of each day, a boy-messenger arrives in his stead with the promise that he does not beat the first messenger, who is agoatherd, but that he beats his brother, who is a shepherd.  The two friends feel uneasy about him.  When they meet him they will have to approach him 'on their hands and keeps', and if they stopped waiting he would punish them.  At the end of the second act we hear two more items: Godot does nothing, and his beard is - probably - white.

 

            Metman concludes that 'Beckett points to the sterility of a consciousness that expects and waits for the old activity of Godor gods'.  Insofar as Godot is God, he is a parady of the Christian God, whose service, we are told, is perfect freedom.  Waiting for this God involves the loss of even the ultimate feedom, the freedom to end it all by suicide. (2)

 

 

Notes

 

                   (1) Anouilh, Jean.  Review in Arts Spectacles, February 27 - March 5, 1953, p.1.

                  (2) Bently, Eric. Review in New Republic, May 14, 1956, pp. 20-1.

             (3) Ben - Viz. Linda, Samuel Beckett, Twayne, 1986, p.50.

            (4) Esslin, Martin.  "The Absurdity of the Absurd" and "Samuel Beckett: The Search for the Self," in his the Theatre of the Absurd, revised edition Doubleday, 1969, pp. 1-65.

           (5) Hall, Peter.  Extract Form and Interview on Third Programme, British Broadcasting Company (BBC), April 4, 1961, Reprinted in "Waiting for Godot": A Casebook, edited by RubyCohn, pp. 30-1, Macmillan, 1987.

           (6) Fletcher, John and Beryl, S.  A Student's Guide to the Plays of Samuel Beckett, Second Edition, Faber and Faber, 1985, p. 15.

 

 

References

 

Harold, B. Samuel Beckett: "Waiting for Godot".  Chelsea House, 1987.

 

Hugh, K. A Reader's Guide to Samuel Beckett, Syracuse University Press, 1996.

 

James, K. Damned to Fame: The Life Samuel Beckett, Simon & Schuster, 1996.

 

June, S. & Enoch, B. Approaches to Teaching Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", MLA, 1991.

 

Katherine, W. "Waiting for Godot".  Text and Performance.  Macmillan, 1990.

 

Mel, G. Conversations with and about Beckett, Grove Press, 1996.

 

Peter, V. Stylistics. Oxford OUP., 2000.

 

Ruby, C. Casebook on "Waiting for Godot", Grove, 1967.

 

-----------, "Waiting for Godot": A case book, Macmillan, 1987.

 

Steven, C. "Waiting for Godot" and "Endgame": Samuel Beckett, St. Martin's, 1992.

 


 

) 1) Blin, Roger "Blin on Beckett". Theatre, Fall, 1978.pp. 90-2.

(2) 'Reflectin on Samuel Beckett's plays' , in Samuel Beckett: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed.  Esslin Prentice - Hall, 1965, pp. 124-5.

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