Waiting For Godot Essay

2197 words - 9 pages

ANALYZING THE CONCEPT OF
DERRIDA’S DECONSTRUCTION
IN SAMUEL BECKETT’S WAITING FOR GODOT
ANALYZING THE CONCEPT OF DERRIDA’S DECONSTRUCTION
IN SAMUEL BECKETT’S WAITING FOR GODOT
Deconstruction is a literary theory and philosophy of language derived principally from Jacques Derrida's 1967 work Of Grammatology. The premise of deconstruction is that all of Western literature and philosophy implicitly relies on a metaphysics of presence, where intrinsic meaning is accessible by virtue of pure presence. Deconstruction rejects the possibility of a pure presence and thus of essential or intrinsic meaning.
Due to the impossibility of pure presence and consequently of intrinsic meaning, any ...view middle of the document...

Derrida insists that meaning is made possible by the relations of a word to other words within the network of structures that language is.
When asked "What is deconstruction?" Derrida replied, "I have no simple and formalisable response to this question. All my essays are attempts to have it out with this formidable question".1 Derrida believes that deconstruction is necessarily complicated and difficult to explain since it actively criticizes the very language needed to explain it.
1 Derrida, Jacques, Language Against Itself. Deconstruction, Ed. Christopher Norris. USA: Routledge, 1982, p. 4
2 Derrida, Jacques, Of Grammatology, Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1974, p. 5
3 Derrida, Jacques, Positions, translated and annotated by Alan Bass (1st ed). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981, p. 40
Derrida states that “Deconstruction is not a method, and cannot be transformed into one.” 2 This is because deconstruction is not a mechanical operation; it is not a theory, an analysis, a method or a critique. It would be irresponsible to try a deconstruction with a complete set of rules, because this understanding would reduce deconstruction to a thesis of the reader that the text is then made to fit. Deconstruction is not a method and this means that it is not a neat set of rules that can be applied to any text in the same way. Each deconstruction is necessarily different (otherwise it achieves no work) and this is why Derrida states that “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event”. Each example of deconstruction must be different, but it must also share something with other examples of deconstruction. Deconstruction is therefore not a method in the traditional sense but is what Derrida terms "an unclosed, unenclosable, not wholly formalizable ensemble of rules for reading, interpretation and writing."3 2
“Waiting for Godot” presents the events of two consecutive days in the life of Beckett's non-heroes Estragon and Vladimir. As they wait for the ambiguous Godot to arrive, they pass the time by debating about whether to commit suicide. While they wait, the two friends occupy themselves with daily tasks such as taking on and off a pair of boots; taking off a hat, adjusting it and then putting it back on again; and arguing about eating vegetables. On both days, they encounter a master Pozzo who drives his slave Lucky about the stage with a rope around his neck. On the first day, Pozzo is bringing Lucky to the fair to sell him. On the second day, Pozzo has gone blind and needs Lucky to lead him around the stage. Each day ends with a young boy sent as a messenger to say that Godot is not going to come.
“Waiting for Godot” is part of the Theater of the Absurd. This implies that it is meant to be irrational. Absurd theater does away with the concepts of drama, chronological plot, logical language, themes, and recognizable settings. There is also a split between the intellect and the body...

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