Language in ‘Waiting for Godot’


Aspasia Velissariou


Que voulez-vous, Monsieur? C’est les mots; on n’a rien d’autre.1

            Nous ne sommes hommes et ne nous tenons les uns aux autres que par la parole.2


Beckett’s work is defined by the consciousness that words are incapable of expressing the inner self and by the simultaneous acceptance of the fact that language is intrinsic to the human situation and thus not a removable element. Beckett regards language as constitutive of the identity of the self; it is on this conviction that his despair for the human condition and the power of his writing depend. Despair, because the self can only be approached asymptotically and expressed, words moving in an orbit without ever touching the centre, the essence; power, because he sees in language’s struggle to achieve expression the striving of the self to define its own identity. His attitude towards language is, then, the paradoxical acceptance of self-refutation as the condition for any artistic practice; a recognition of the inherent inability of words to correspond to anything other than themselves together with the potentiality of expressing this very inability to express. What Beckett is above all conscious of is the dialectical relationship between the object to be expressed (theme, subject matter) and the mode of expression (form of language, style). Regarding the latter as constitutive of the former, he foregrounds the comic absurdity of their dissociation into two non-interacting elements, whilst maintaining the dialectic through the overall theatrical form. However, because Beckett does not regard language as a self-sufficient system of concepts exoteric to the theme it is bound to express, the imposition of dramatic form is in turn problematized. Only a Naturalistic view of language as having a direct and unambiguous relation to the world can allow for an unproblematic organization of meaning at this level. By radically subverting such a notion of language Beckett sets all elements of his drama into a type of free-play. It is the movement within this free-play, taking in all previously fixed points (self, language, material reality, etc), which I have described as the dialectic in his work. In this context artistic expression can only be formless so long as the world it speaks about is itself formless: ‘. . . hence the quest for the art form that is capable of accommodating the formless. The only form that can do so is one in which the form itself is at issue’.3 In such a view, form, far from being a servile reflection of an external reality, establishes a much more complicated relationship with it; form is granted a relative autonomy from the substance it expresses and thus actively intervenes in the artistic process by shaping the raw material and by subtly imposing an integral order upon it. The ‘formlessness’ of any particular form is therefore merely phenomenal, because it actually masks a highly organized and disciplined structure. This-is particularly clear in Beckett’s theatre where the almost physical experience of words as a natural and random flow obliterates the audience’s elementary awareness that speech on stage is not spontaneous but part of a carefully structured text. Beckett feels that the domain of the writer-playwright is that of a form which creates meaning through its struggle to express meaning. He does not, therefore, resort to the formalistic demand for an art synonymous with form, but rather attempts to solve the problem of their relation by preserving the dialectic. He is on record as saying that the world is a mess; the implication is that, by its very nature, the world is the polar opposite of art, which is form, and thus destructive of the very thing that art holds itself to be. A corollary of this would be that any acceptance of a correspondence between art (form) and the world (substance) would refute the very existence and operation of art. He is naturally very careful, therefore, to make a distinction between the two, to ascribe to each of them a certain autonomy, whilst always seeking to find the ‘raison d’être’ for the former:


            The form and the chaos remain separate. The latter is not reduced

            to the former. That is why the form itself becomes a preoccupation,

            because it exists as a problem separate from the material it accom-

            modates. To find a form that accomodates the mess, that is the task

            of the artist now.4

In his essay on Proust Beckett describes style as pertaining to a particular authorial vision rather than to technique. In the case of the novelist Proust the quality of his language is the predominant factor, the element which incorporates and shapes his vision of the world. In drama, naturally, language cannot play the same absolute role; theatre as a medium provides the playwright with a space to be covered with tangible and visual images, it does not merely serve a context within which the text is animated. Beckett has, of course, fully developed this stage potential in an ascetic dramaturgy organized around verbal constructs of condensed meaning and possessed of a unique ability to articulate visually both silence and absence on stage. Yet Beckett’s drama remains primarily one of language, of a language which does not pretend to convey the essence of things, which accepts the existence of the mess and which is aware of its own degradation. His choice of dramatic speech as the fundamental level of action, rather than its subordination to gestures, movements and setting, is therefore far more complicated than at first it seems to be. For whilst such a choice clearly does not entail his abandonment of ‘pure’ stage elements the power of his purely poetic images threatens to engulf them. And at the same time the choice posits the terms in which, out of its failure to express, language may be re-created. This commits him to an intrinsically self-defeating process. For whilst admitting language to be the primary reality, he is deeply suspicious of the words at his disposal; they are unable either to communicate or to express, and so they can only fail, even though verbal expression may be a compulsive need.5 It is precisely this impulse to speak, this sense of an undefined compulsion to speak, which allows Beckett to attain the apparently impossible, namely the verbal and visual articulation of an unverbalized, undifferentiated self.


In Beckett’s plays, for the first time, theatre’s potential is extended so as materially to present abstraction and absence, not just as partial components of the main body of speech but as the very subject matter of the drama and as the constitutive elements of dramatic language. ‘Self’ is seen as a tendency away from any particular spatial and temporal context, away from the concreteness of being and sensation which resides in chaos, mess and rubbish. The only material dimension it is capable of grasping is by virtue of its voice, its capacity to speak even when the whole body is reduced to a head protruding from a dustbin, as in Endgame, or to a pair of lips, as in Not I. Words are the condition. and substance of consciousness and consciousness the only register of existence. For Beckett the self cannot be defined in positivist terms, that is merely temporally and spatially. It strives to exist in an undefined place, outside history, to reach a still point, a world of solitude and peace. The tragedy of the human situation, in his eyes, lies in the fact that language frustrates the very movement which it instigates, by tying us to an inauthentic non-self in the material world. Language only permits the articulation of self in relation to what it is not. Beckett’s urge towards stillness and nothingness is in reality an all-pervading desire to transcend the socio-historically determined human condition in order to attain the realm of the real self. The process which runs parallel to this desire in his drama is that whereby theatrical language tries to break logical sequences and associations so as to express the movement and fluidity of consciousness. And for Beckett the only process which corresponds to it is inwards and downwards: ‘The only possible spiritual development is in the sense of depth. The artistic tendency is not expansive, but a contraction. And art is the apotheosis of solitude. There is no communication because there are no vehicles of communication.’6 Beckett’s denial of the possibility of communication stems from his awareness that absolute meaning is absent from a world which is in itself the absence of the absolute. Language-as-communication therefore tends to become ‘private’ because the lack of any absolute external criteria to which it might be compared makes it inherently self-referential. Reality cannot, then, be artistically depicted, even in terms of a sterile description of external characteristics. Beckett’s conviction that the subject’s perception of a particular object destroys its relation to the object by transforming the object into a mere intellectual pretext, negates the possibility of experiential knowledge and the validity of experiential testimony. His rejection of Naturalism in art stems from a radical repudiation of its very basis, the assumption that the human mind is capable of capturing and accurately registering phenomena exterior to it.7 The cause of the absence of absolute meaning is precisely the intellect’s inability to establish continuity with the world. The myth of the existence of a unique and totalized world collapses from the very moment that the relationship between reality and mind is disrupted. The two fragments start moving in parallel orbits without ever re-establishing their time-honoured continuity. Beckett’s work is a testimony to what kind of human existence is possible within the gap created by the disruption of this previously unquestioned unity.


To a very large extent traditional Western thinking has been based upon attempts to formulate a principle of congruity between Cosmos and Logos. Truth has been identified with WHAT IS, that is with presence testified through the senses; in this tradition WHAT IS NOT cannot be expressed because it is non-recognizable and unexplorable within the paradigm. According to Parmenides ‘it is the same thing to think and to be,’ and ‘that which it is possible to think is identical with that which can be.’8 These statements delineate the nature of the world by ascribing to it a series of characteristics and simultaneously establishing man’s relation to it. If visibility and tangibility constitute reality, then absence is non-existence. If to be is synonymous with to think, then the world is intelligible to man, who by using his mind discovers meaning; the path he follows is that of a strict causality already implicit in the initial assumption that equates presence with existence. Man thinks and speaks in harmony with this meaningful causal world of ‘objective’ phenomena; thus verbal expression, being the extension of reality, reinforces the bipolar unity.


Beckett’s refusal of such tenets along with his rejection of Naturalist theatre effectively places him in a very different philosophical tradition; a tradition which makes language its central and crucial concern. It is to this extent that the work of linguist Ferdinand de Saussure can help us in understanding the dynamics of Beckett’s work. At the beginning of the present century he defined language as a system of differences, in which a series of binary oppositions sustains the verbal system, with oppositions between presence and absence and positive and negative being the most determinate ones. Within these pairs of antithetical notions the one pole ‘is apprehended as positively having a certain feature while the other is apprehended as deprived of the feature in question’.9 In Waiting for Godot Beckett embodies these specific binary oppositions in the very structure of the play. Didi and Gogo stand in opposition to Godot much as presence stands in opposition to absence in the Saussurean system. In line with our expectations Beckett thus deals with the structure and operation of language both at the level of dramatic speech and at the level of dramatic form, using the Saussurean model of presence and absence as a metaphor for his more traditional, sceptical view of perception. Only insofar as they can be seen can Didi and Gogo be sure about their own presence, their own existence. In the first of his ‘Three Dialogues witrh Georges Duthuit’ Beckett identifies nature as a composite of perceiver and perceived; Waiting for Godot is built upon such a composite. Didi feels lonely when Gogo sleeps because so long as the perceiver (Gogo) does not see, then the perceived (Didi) cannot be sure if he lives. Hence the violence of Didi’s outburst to the boy in the second act: ‘You’re sure you saw me, you won’t come and tell me tomorrow that you never saw me!’.10 Presence is always, however, dependent on absence; the latter verifies the existence of the former because it is the very element which constitutes consciousness. Such a relationship, Saussure would argue, is inherent in any language which opposes person (I or thou) to non-person (he or it), the sign of an absence which can never embody itself as presence.11 Didi/Gogo are in a binary relationship with Godot incapable of dissociation because they are referential one to another. The play is predicated upon this awareness, either by means of direct references to their relation with him (Estragon: ‘We’re not tied! . . . Vladimir: But to whom. By whom? Estragon: To your man’.)12 or by incorporating the awareness into the texture of their dialogue. In this latter respect words seem to carry them away from the painful knowledge that they depend on Godot. Words enable them to recover from the consciousness of their difference from Godot at the moment of their utterance; but their sense of difference cannot be removed because it is intrinsic to the very language they employ, woven into their very being.


Godot lives outside space in a feedom uncontrolled by temporal restrictions. He is an abstraction existing in the peace of Nothingness. He does nothing. Didi and Gogo are deprived of these specific features. As they move towards the zero point at which they would overlap with the opposite term, they still do something; they wait, think, speak and move. Didi and Gogo are tangible presences; compared with the zero point of Godot they are obviously ‘positive’. The repetition of the word ‘nothing’ (‘nothing to be done,’ `nothing to show’ etc.) does not, then, express their actual situation, so much as their desire to become the nothing. The arrival of Godot would collapse the gulf between desire and actuality because it would render the two poles synonymous: presence would be absence, the positive would be zero. Since Godot does not come, only language remains to articulate their difference from the desired absence-negativity. The circular structure of the play epitomizes the asymptotic and futile movement of the self towards a state of ‘authentic being’. This structure challenges the basic assumption of the absolute world that nothingness is equal to non-existence and therefore cannot be experienced. The audience experiences the presence of absence in the lonely gestures of Didi and Gogo, in their tautologous utterances and in the long silences which condense what has, necessarily (given Beckett’s views on language), remained unsaid. The recurrence of the phrase ‘We are waiting for Godot,’ which becomes synonymous with ‘We are waiting for nothing,’ establishes absence as the very element constitutive of Didi and Gogo’s condition of existence. If, as Democritus says in one of Beckett’s favourite quotations, ‘Nothing is more real than nothing,’13 then it is impossible for man to make any positive statement. When reality is not measured by time and is not limited by spatial boundaries but lies in an infinite time and an abstract space, then words can never be definite about a meaning which must perpetually elude them. The lack of a ‘positive’ meaning, or rather the existence of a reality difficult or impossible to articulate verbally, compels language to enter a process of self-repudiation. A word like ‘unhappy,’ for example, a word which inevitably bears an enormous sentimental burden, is too definite to remain unrefuted:


            Estragon: I’m unhappy.

            Vladimir: Not really! Since when?

            Estragon: I’d forgotten.

            Vladimir: Extraordinary the tricks that memory plays!14


In this simple exchange each line obliterates the preceding one. Their language is constructed out of an abiding awareness of the nothing, their acceptance of an essential negativity which nullifies any hope of absolute meaning. These innocent, ‘clarifying’ questions disclose the hollowness of certain words which were basic to a world of ‘inner spirit’ but which now seem absurd: ‘Vladimir:... Two thieves crucified at the same time as our Saviour. One - Estragon: Our what? Vladimir: Our Saviour’.15 The absence of any internal logic in this world or of belief in a supernatural power able to impose a spiritual order upon the mess makes man especially suspicious about those words which have been particularly heavily invested with meaning. At the same time this ‘negative’ consciousness entails a tormenting recognition on the part of Didi and Gogo of the uncertainty of their particular situation. They attempt to defer this uncertainty by resorting to a series of repetitions which give them the happy illusion of temporary affirmations; yet these very repetitions are soon refuted by the recurrence of the specific word with which they began: ‘Vladimir: Say, I am happy. Estragon: I am happy. Vladimir: So am I. Estragon: So am I. Vladimir: We are happy. Estragon: We are happy. (silence)’. . .16 The consolation that the recurrence of the same word appears to offer as something conceptually and audibly familiar is easily transformed into a menace for both speaker and listener; the simplest words become grotesque and forbidding. Repetition, the factor which permits language to establish itself as a code, is used by Beckett as the means whereby it may be repudiated as a system of definite concepts.


In Waiting for Godot, the catalysts of speech are ‘Silence’ and ‘Pause,’ the very elements which undermine the emotions to which the characters lay claim and which prevent them occupying any decisive area of commitment. Silence breaks the continuity of words and conveys meaning in its totality. The silences in Beckett’s plays effectively ‘bracket’ the terms an audience might adopt in order to understand them; the meaning is communicated by the intervals between words. In Didi and Gogo’s dialogue about the dead voices the silences are evenly distributed, atomizing the exchange into fragments of cross-talk. The empty stage is filled for a moment with the presence of dead people, worn out voices, fragmented whispers, murmurs and rustlings, and this sudden proliferation of the thoughts, speech, and noises of dead people suffocates Didi and Gogo because they themselves are emblematic of that dead humanity. Beckett stages the sounds of silence, the other side of language, and Didi and Gogo, in their yearning for authenticity, aspire to the point of overlap, to the zero, to the point where all difference is obliterated. It is a form of death-wish. The dead voices are heard inside their silences talking of the past, of dreams and hopes; presence is once again commensurate with absence. Their words report what they hear, describe it, even criticise it. But absence is clearly part of their own language and is read out loud by them for the audience. Silence performs the structural function of integrating the dialogue; in this respect it becomes as explicit as speech itself. The causal logic which says that ‘what is not’ cannot be experienced is here being radically subverted; thought is no longer the servant of material presence and the conclusion is no longer dependent upon the premise. The terminal juxtaposition of ‘Let’s go’ and the stage direction ‘They do not move’ disrupts the causality between language and gesture. Beckett has the body ignore and annul the language which normally instigates its physical action, once more emphatically relating the discontinuity to that between the basic levels of dramatic form.


Even when utterances appear to have a degree of connection with the stage directions there is a linguistic wit threatening to separate them. The words ‘just the same’ in the following extract play this role, mocking the attempt being made to establish difference, preference and temporal sequence:


            Pozzo: (having lit his pipe). The second is never so sweet . . . (he

            takes the pipe out of his mouth, contemplates it) . . . as the

            first, I mean. (He puts the pipe back in his mouth.) But it’s

            sweet just the same.17


As words gradually acquire more and more independence from their task of inducing causality they are liberated to interact solely with one another. Didi and Gogo play incessantly with words; they treat the same word as its opposite, they find synonyms, they use scientific terms because they sound bombastic, they rhyme. But at the same time they dismantle language into fragments of religious, moral and scientific thought. Biblical quotations (‘Hope deferred maketh the something sick’) are cited not for their meaning but for the gratification offered by their shape, their musical feeling and their evasive nostalgia. By parodying the pretentious rhetoric and logic of conventional philosophical thinking they demystify Logos by questioning the very elements it is presumed to be endowed with: clarity, intelligibility, rationality, causality. The myth of meaning is demolished. To be replaced with what? The third of the Duthuit dialogues is unequivocal: ‘The much to express, the little to express, the ability to express much, the ability to express little, merge in a common anxiety to express as much as possible, or as truly as possible, or as finely as possible, to the best of one’s ability.18 It is above all, as commentators on the play have often stated, in Lucky’s repetitious, bombastic, pseudo-scientific speech that Beckett congeals the disarticulation of the rational language inaugurated by Didi’s playful dealings with quotations. Here unmediated speech is used against the mediated language representative of conventional literary, religious and scientific discourses. Lucky’s speech is not, however, merely anti-intellectual, however much it may situate the intellect as the domain responsible for the mind’s appropriation of feelings and sensations. For Beckett the problem does not so much reside in the split between the mind and the body which language initiates, but rather in the specific mode of articulation of different discourses with each other for the synthesis of a rational Logos. Lucky systematically disconnects these various discourses from their ‘spinal cord,’ from their point of convergence: a conception of the world in terms defined by the presence of an absolute. The fragmentation and repetition of his speech reflect the linguisticintellectual chaos which results from the ‘absolute absence of the absolute.’19 The ‘absolute’ organizes human Logos by imposing an internal order; Lucky’s speech deconstructs that unity, and with it the congruity of man with the absolute by which it is determined.


The speech starts with a hypothetical statement about the existence of a personal God, outside time, living in divine ‘apathia’ (non-responsiveness), divine ‘aphasia’ (speechlessness), and divine ‘athambia’ (lack of the capacity for amazement). This personal God loves us dearly, with some exceptions, but he does not communicate with us, cannot feel anything for us, and finally condemns us ‘for reasons unknown’.20 In this respect he is utterly absent from that humanity which, deprived of the meaning its attachment to any absolute could provide, is scattered in pieces across philosophical, religious and scientific domains. Despite its apparent haphazardness, however, the speech is carefully structured around recurrent phrases and words. The particular phrase ‘for reasons unknown’ recurs more often than any other; it functions as an effective condensation of Lucky’s message to the audience - the impossibility of reasoning when causes are unintelligible. Beckett once said that ‘there is an endless verbal germination, maturation, putrefaction, the cyclic dynamism of the intermediate,’21 and Lucky’s speech is based precisely upon such a circular movement of language from its initial stage of exemplary articulation (scientific hypothesis) to its final decay (childish gibberish). Human Logos might, we infer, progress towards its perfection insofar as it were able to reflect the internal unity of a world inspired by the absolute, but ‘the personal God’ (whether absent or present) is neither charitable, intelligent nor in the least bit interested in humanity: Logos as progress is subverted by Logos as regress. Lucky’s reduction of speech to a chaotic juxtaposition of irrelevant words expresses the decay of one kind of order, but his ‘think’ also embodies the germination of another kind; in Andrew Kennedy’s words, ‘the deteriorating syntax releases, as through fission, isolated word clusters which sound like the lost “true voice” in the speech’.22 In the event, however, even this ‘true’ voice in its linguistic anarchy fades away; ‘There is an end to his thinking’ as Pozzo says. In Act II we find out that this has become a permanent condition for the dumb Lucky. Lucky, the slave, has by this time lost the last index of his humanity, the ability to articulate words and thoughts, and definitively regressed to the animal condition which his role as slave implies. But, astonishingly enough, Lucky’s deterioration is not accompanied by an concomitant increase in Pozzo’s status as master. Pozzo has not only gone blind; he is less articulate than he was in Act I. His loss of articulacy goes hand in hand with his loss of sight; both are emblematic of Pozzo’s having himself entered a world in which time and space are meaningless. For to be blind is to be unconscious of whether or not you are perceived by Godot, the timeless/ spaceless witness, whose coming would soothe the anxieties of uncertainty and confirm humanity’s existence. Where there is hope for Didi and Gogo, for Pozzo there is only despair. Even if he is perceived by Lucky he can never be reassured that this is the case because Lucky is not in a position to articulate his presence. Furthermore, to be blind is to live in a void, to be unable to perceive either the passage of time or the change of place. The notion of time is even more meaningless than the notion of space because it can in no way be empirically experienced. Time division is arbitrary because it is established in terms of purely subjective criteria; it is the result of a general concensus to accept a certain timing system as the most suitable for given social purposes. Hence Pozzo’s outburst to Vladimir:


            Pozzo: (suddenly furious) have you not done tormenting me with

            your accursed time! It’s abominable! When! . . . One day . . .

            like any other day, one day he went dumb, one day I went

            blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one

            day we shall die, the same day, the same second, . . .23


For the Pozzo who experiences the flow of time as a raw material there is nothing ‘natural’ in the names those with sight give to their time divisions. For him words like ‘yesterday’ and ‘today’ do not correspond to any physical reality. Time is not for him equal to the hours, days and years which are the mere notation of its passing, its arbitrarily defined time-signs. Here Beckett penetrates to what really undermines the myth of a ‘natural’ language, the acceptance of the notion of the ‘arbitrariness’ of the sign.24 Pozzo’s experience is of stopped time because in the absence of accredited divisions time cannot be experienced as a movement. He reacts violently to the use of words like ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’ because language as expression has for him ceased to be related to experience in an unproblematically ‘natural’ manner. If space and time have been dismantled, so too has causality, and with it discourses structured around a coherent internal principle of the validity and efficiency of reasoning. Blind Pozzo, deprived of the experience of those essential notions sustaining rational discourse, is no longer articulate. In the past he derived authority from his eloquence, from his lyricism and from his ability to reason. These three qualities constitute what in Happy days finds its verbal and visual quintessence: the ‘old style’.


The Pozzo of Act I seems to be a living embodiment of the ‘old style’. He explains (!) the twilight in a lyrical spirit which cannot conceal his fundamentally positivist preconceptions. His speech is larded with phrases which carry a residual poetical feeling (‘touch of autumn in the air this evening,’ for example) and by witticisms of an ambiguous kind. This vocabulary is enriched with a variety of synonyms noisily put together so as to select the ‘right one’. Thus ‘impress’ is rejected for ‘mollify’ and this in turn for ‘cod’ so that he may ‘accurately’ explain why Lucky ‘does not make himself comfortable,’ in other words why he suffers. For Pozzo even suffering can be attributed to the free choice of the victim through the distorting effects of reasoning: ‘Why he doesn’t make himself comfortable? Lets try and get it clear. Has he not the right to? Certainly he has. It follows that he doesn’t want to. There’s reasoning for you’.25 By disclosing the ground against which ‘reasoning’ figures, Beckett shatters the illusion that causality is a straightforward and ‘objective’ mental process and demonstrates the contrary, namely that rational discourse effectively distorts reality because it claims to reflect it. This is the unacceptable face of ‘the old style’ as reflected in the theatrical language of nineteenth century realism. Pozzo’s wit, lyricism and rationality are wiped out by his experience of approaching the zero degree. But even this experience can be dynamic, as Vladimir and Estragon have shown, for it can lead to the attempt to articulate new meanings in new ways. In this respect Waiting for Godot inaugurates the project which underpins all of Beckett’s subsequent drama: to present the search for self and meaning in terms of a dramatic language which derives its power from its own self-questioning coupled with its ‘obligation to express’. At every level of organization we encounter ‘the dynamism of the intermediate’. There are no fixed frames of reference. We are from the start trapped in the realm of human existence, oscillating between the poles of difference, between presence and absence, between self and other, at once longing for and fearing the apotheosis of the zero. It is in accordance with Beckett’s views on such matters, as epitomized and dramatized in Waiting for Godot, that value should be seen to reside not so much in any result of the process as in the process itself.


1 Martin Esslin, The theatre of the absurd. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1977, p. 84. All subsequent references are to this edition.

2 Jacques Lacan, The language of the self: the function of language in psychoanalysis, trans., A. Wilden, New York, Delta Books, 1968, 159; a quotation from Montaigne.

3 David H. Hesla, The shape of chaos: an interpretation of the work of Samuel Beckett, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1973, 226.

4 Ibid., 7.

5 Andrew Kennedy, Six dramatists in search of a language, studies in dramatic language, Cambridge University Press, 1976, 134.

6 Ronald Hayman, Samuel Beckett, Contemporary Playwrights Series, London, Heinemann, 1374, 10.

7 Ibid., 16.

8 The shape of chaos, 9.

9 Fredric Jameson, The prison-house of language: a critical account of structuralism and Russian formalism, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1974, 35.

10 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Faber and Faber, London, 1978, p. 92. All subsequent references are to this edition.

11 Roland Barthes, ‘To Write - An Intransitive Verb?’ in The structuralists from Marx to Levi-Strauss, ed. Richard and Fernando de George, New York, Anchor Books, 1972, 160-161.

12 Waiting for Godot, 20-21.

13 The theatre of the absurd, 72.

14 Waiting for Godot, 50.

15 Ibid., 12.

16 Ibid., 60.

17 Ibid,, 28-29.

18 Samuel Beckett, ‘Three Dialogues’ in Samuel Beckett. a collection of critical essays, ed. M. Esslin, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1965, 19.

19 Samuel Beckett, ‘Dante . . . Bruno. Vico . . Joyce,’ in Our Exagmination round his Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress, Paris, Shakespeare and Co., 1929, p.

20 The theatre of the absurd, 55.

21 Six dramatists in search of a language, 138.

22 Ibid., 140.

23 Waiting for Godot, 89.

24 The prison-house of language, 31.

25 Waiting for Godot p. 31.