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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 101-102 | volume  | November-December, 2015



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 101-102November-December, 2015

On Beckett’s Expression – Complexity and Minimalism

p. 1
Lidija Mitoska


On Beckett’s Expression – Complexity and Minimalism

    Translated from Macedonian by the author
    But I don’t say anything, I don’t know anything, these voices are not mine, nor these thoughts, but the voices and thoughts of the devils who beset me.

    Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
    It appears that this sentence, uttered by the narrator of the Beckett’s novel The Unnamable, pictures the author’s attitude towards his own works, the whole literature, and even towards the communication in general. Beckett deals with the language system and the presumption that as a complex system of signs, it cannot convey meaning. Throughout his plays, he presents reality the way he perceives it – as an endless string of signifiers, which in fact do not signify much. His works emphasize the irony of the fact that human existence involves speech, and in order to speak, one must adopt language – a system of words which do not have inherent meaning.
    Any attempt to arrive to a clear and exact interpretation by establishing the identity of Godot by means of critical analysis, would be as naïve as an attempt to discover “the clear outlines hidden behind the chiaroscuro of a painting by Rembrandt by scraping away the paint”.[1] When Alan Schneider, who was to direct the first American production of Waiting for Godot, asked Beckett who or what was meant by Godot, he received the answer “If I knew, I would have said so in the play”.[2] His answer is a warning of essential importance to anyone who approaches Beckett’s plays with an intention to discover a key to their understanding, and to show their true and precise meaning. But nevertheless, considering the fact that his plays are written in such a peculiar and unusual way, it is natural to feel the need for explanation, the need to discover their hidden meaning and translate it into common language. The source of this fallacy can be found in the misconception that there must be a way of reducing these plays to the conventions of the “normal” theatre, and to plots that can be summarized. Such attempts, of course, cannot be successful: instead of linear development, Beckett’s plays represent the author’s intuition on the human condition through a rather polyphonic model; their audience is confronted with an organized structure of statements and images deeply entwined with each other and that must be perceived as a totality, like the different


1. Esslin, Martin. The Theatre of the Absurd. 3rd ed. London: Methuen, 2001. Print. P.45
2. ibid. 44

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