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’.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1315607Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 911
 C. Belsey, Critical practice, London: Routledge, 2001.
 M. A. &. K. Skoldberg, Reflexive methodology, London: Sage Publications, 2000.
 R. Begum, Samuel Beckett and the end of modernity, Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 1996.
 T. Eagleton, Literary theory: an introduction (2nd Ed.), Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1998.
 T. A. Schwandt, Qualitative inquiry: a dictionary of terms, London: Sage Publications, 1997.
 I. Hassan, The literature of silence: Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.
 F. B. Farrell, Why does literature matter, New York: Cornell University Press, 2004.
 B. S. F. &. J. Fletcher, A students' guide to the plays of Samuel Beckett, London: Faber and Faber, 1985.
 H. Kenner, Waiting for godot, H. Bloom, Ed., New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987, pp. 53-66.
 M. Esslin, The universal image. In R. Cohn (Ed.), Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot, London: MacMillan Education Ltd, 1987, pp. 171-174.
 H. Bloom, Modern critical interpretations: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
 M. Foucault, The archeology of knowledge, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1972.
 E. Loevlie, Literary silences in Pascal. Rousseau and Beckett, New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2003.
 A. Thiher, Samuel Beckett: humanistic perspectives, S. E. G. A. P. A. Morris Beja, Ed., Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1983.
 I. Hassan, The dismemberment of orpheus: toward a postmodern literature (2nd Ed.), London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1982.
 S. Beckett, Samuel Beckett: the complete dramatic works, London: Faber and Faber, 1986.
 J. Kristeva, The Kristeva reader, New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.
 W. V. Peer, Taming of the text: explorations in language, literature and culture, London: Routledge, 1991.
 J. Derrida, Margins of philosophy, New York: The Harvester Press, 1982.
 S. Burik, End of comparative philosophy and the task of comparative thinking: Heidegger, Derrida, and Daoism. Albany: State Univ of New York Pr, 2010.
 M. McQuillan, Deconstruction: a reader, Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 2000.
 C. Nash, The unravelling the postmodern mind, Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 2001.