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Essay/Term paper: Waiting for godot- lucky's speech

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English

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One of the most unusual parts of the play is, not surprisingly, one of the most important parts. This is Lucky's "speech", which is given near the middle of the play. It's importance is signalled not only by its content, but by its style and structure as well. While any other line in the play is important, if for no other reason, just for being there, Lucky's speech is utterly significant. In general, the other lines are short, limiting themselves to a sentence or just a few curt words. While Lucky's speech is also one sentence, it can be considered so only becuase it has one period. It takes up nearly three pages of the play in itself.

Though the sheer length of the speech is peculiar alone, the actual text is exceptionally bizarre. It is a seemingly senseless arabesque thoughts, nonsense and symbols; reminiscent of 'train-of-thought'-like style, associated largely with Beckett's contemporary James Joyce, and perhaps even more so with the style of a later author and thinker, the somtimes surreal William S. Burroughs and the "cut-up" method he employed. This deconstructed style could be argued to be either inferior to traditional language structure in its confusion, or superior in its sense of purity, creating images and sensations, not restriciting the reader to mere words.

Lucky's speech is preceded by Vladimir reqesting Pozzo make Lucky speak. Pozzo insits that Lucky needs his hat to do so. After Lucky has his hat placed upon his head, Pozzo orders him to "Think!" Lucky begins, while the others create a sense confusion: Pozzo becomes increasingly appalled by Lucky's words, while Vladimir and Estragon waiver between attentiveness and disgusted pain.

The speech is reflective of the rest of the play (and transitively, life itself), and therefore open to interpretation. In fact, Beckett himself stated the great importance of the passage, suggesting that one note the "ups and downs" of the speech; here, he said, one could find "hope".

The passage becomes something of a Rorschach image with its layers of symbols and tones, perhaps paradoxical. Potential allusions, sometimes masked or bastardized, litter the prose, as well as sophistric names and words. Phrases are repeated in a sort of non-patter adding to a tone that sometimes creates the feeling of a prayer, though strange and mocking. The interpretations are endless, but a few interesting notes will be made.

There are a number of reoccuring phrases within the passage, all of which offer a bit of insight. These subject the reader or audience as it may be to different feelings while the passage is being read or spoken. At the start of the speech, words like "divine" are repeated; images of God are juxtaposed with a Dante-esque piece: "...plunged in torment in fire...flames". Other very significant phrases include: "...reasons unknown but time will tell...", "...I resume...", and "...left unfinished...", which, incidentally, ends the speech.

Other interesting phrases include "Fartov and Belcher", seemingly important names, but ammusingly degrading at the same time, also the presence of the words "defecation" and "wastes". Another similar phrase is "the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry", note the presence of "caca" ("anthropometry" is the study of human body measure for use in anthropological classification).

"Essy and Possy" most likely is a play on the Latin words esse: to be, and posse: to be able. "Miranda" is the name of a character in Shakespeare's The Tempest. "Connemara" is a region in western Ireland, as well as a type of Irish pony. "Aphasia" is an interesting word to have appeared in the text, being a mental condition which causes impairment of an individual's ability to comprehend language. "Apathia" is probably a play on the word apathy.

Some sentences appear only once: "...so calm with a calm which even though is intermittent is better than nothing", "...I resume for reasons unknown...", "...time will tell...", are among others.

Other images created are those of a beautiful nature and uiversality, contrasted by those of sports (perhaps sgnifying a game's elevation in aggressiveness), and darker ones of death, close to the end of the speech ("...abode of stones...", "...the skulls..."), nostalgic of a possible Biblical interpretation.

Clearly, there is more than meets the eye for Lucky's speech. However, it is up to oneself to interpret the images as they fit, for the meaning of life and oneself can be found within it.

 

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