M.A English Part 2 Notes |
Question :
Language in Beckett's plays serves to express the disintegration of language.Where there is no certainty, there can be no definite meaning and impossibility of over attaining certainty is one of the main themes of Beckets plays.Discuss with respect to Waiting for Godot.

Answer :

Man has been blessed with an extraordinary ability to speak, Man uses it as a vehicle to communicate and express his thoughts:

'This ability distinguishes man from an animal too "Beckett's plays are concerned with expressing the difficulty of funding meaning in a world subject to change. His use of language probes the limitations to language both as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the expression of valid statements, an instrument to thought."

By staging the drama, Beckett tried to give another turn to the art of expression, which he perhaps could not do with the use of normal language. On the stage,' one can use one's ability to dispense with words and convey his thought with action for instance, the two tramps at the end of each Act of waiting for Godot, go against what they say.

"Let us go," they do say on the stage, whereas they don't move at all. Though they say, "Let us as go", but by action of staying on they reveal that they have no plans to move. It shows that" on the stage language can be put into such a relationship with action that facts behind the language can be revealed, like the pitfalls of Vladimir and Estrogens, and similarly with Lucky's hat. Beckett's usual effort has been always to convey language through actions on the stage. "Language" in his plays, therefore, serves to express the breakdown of language. Where there is no certainty, there can be no definite meanings and the impossibility of ever attaining certainty is one of the main themes of Beckets plays. "When we read his play" Waiting for Godot,1 'we find that1 Godot's promises made through his boy messengers seem to be vague and uncertain.

It will be quite interesting to note that there are ten different "modes of disintegration" of language in this tragicomedy. They are clinches, repetitions of synonyms, inability to find the right words, telegraphic style and dropping of punctuation marks, such as question marks.

These are the indications that language has lost its function as a means of communication, and quotations have turned into statements, which do not 'require any answer. A complete list of passages made by a critic shows that the assertions made by one of the characters are gradually qualified, weakened and hedged in with reservations until they are completely taken back. Molloy, while summing up Beckett's characters in this regard remarks;" Not to want to say, not to know what you want to say, not to be able to say what you think you want to say, and never to stop saying, or hardly ever that is the thing to keep in mind."

The breakdown which occurs in the language is on account of the nature of dialogue itself, because these dialogues do not consist of any logical discussion or exchange of thoughts: Such vague dialogues are like purposeless world that is devoid of any aim or objective. The way Beckett uses the language to convey the thought is nothing but an effort to devalue the language. But still he succeeds in communicating the incommunicable.

Becket's main objective is to search for reality, which lies behind more reasoning in conceptual terms. Though, in the play, he devalued the language in communicating thought, but he is great master of language, by moulding words artistically into a. superb instrument of communication of thought. This way he added anew dimension to language the counter poinfof action, concert, and many faceted, not to be explained.