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Towards a Deconstructive Text: Beyond Language and the Politics of Absences in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

Authors: Afia Shahid


The writing of Samuel Beckett is associated with meaning in the meaninglessness and the production of what he calls ‘literature of unword’. The casual escape from the world of words in the form of silences and pauses, in his play Waiting for Godot, urges to ask question of their existence and ultimately leads to investigate the theory behind their use in the play. This paper proposes that these absences (silence and pause) in Beckett’s play force to think ‘beyond’ language. This paper asks how silence and pause in Beckett’s text speak for the emergence of poststructuralist text. It aims to identify the significant features of the philosophy of deconstruction in the play of Beckett to demystify the hostile complicity between literature and philosophy. With the interpretive paradigm of poststructuralism this research focuses on the text as a research data. It attempts to delineate the relationship between poststructuralist theoretical concerns and text of Beckett. Keeping in view the theoretical concerns of Poststructuralist theorist Jacques Derrida, the main concern of the discussion is directed towards the notion of ‘beyond’ language into the absences that are aimed at silencing the existing discourse with the ‘radical irony’ of this anti-formal art that contains its own denial and thus represents the idea of ceaseless questioning and radical contradiction in art and any text. This article asks how text of Beckett vibrates with loud silence and has disrupted language to demonstrate the emptiness of words and thus exploring the limitless void of absences. Beckett’s text resonates with silence and pause that is neither negation nor affirmation rather a poststructuralist’s suspension of reality that is ever changing with the undecidablity of all meanings. Within the theoretical notion of Derrida’s Différance this study interprets silence and pause in Beckett’s art. The silence and pause behave like Derrida’s Différance and have questioned their own existence in the text to deconstruct any definiteness and finality of reality to extend an undecidable threshold of poststructuralists that aims to evade the ‘labyrinth of language’.

Keywords: Différance, language, pause, poststructuralism, silence, text.

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