پایان نامه رشته زبان انگلیسی:A Deleuzean Study of Samuel Beckett’s Three Plays: Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I, Endgame

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عنوان : A Deleuzean Study of Samuel Beckett’s Three Plays: Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I, Endgame

 

         I.A.U

       Islamic Azad University- Central Tehran Branch Faculty of Foreign Languages

A Thesis

Submitted to the Department of Postgraduate Studies in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of M.A.

Title:

           A Deleuzean Study of Samuel Beckett’s Three Plays: Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I, Endgame

Thesis Advisor:

Azita Ariyan

Tehran, Iran

September 2014

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Abstract

The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine Beckett’s three plays Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I, and Endgame in the vein of Gilles Deleuze’s tenets such as becoming, body without organs, smooth space and nomadic character. Deleuze and Guattari’s creation of schizoids has been one of the most controversial projects in during the recent decades in fields such as philosophy, psychology, linguistics and singular modes of art especially cinema. The schizoids create a world of randomness or fortuitous oscillations in which possibility resides everywhere. This chaos, this flow, this body which has lost its organs is able to demolish whatever is in its way; it is however capable of fabricating any new machine by its connection to other machines accessible. The main aim of this thesis is in the first place to investigate the way each individual loses its individuality by becoming and to introduce the main dangers of one constant machinic connection resulting in entropic dullness. In such situations, the lines of flight or deterritorializations provide an exposure by another coherence. Secondly the writer wishes to have a more analytical view on the process of subjectivations produced in each becoming by emphasizing the operation of body without organs.

    Key Words:

Body without Organs, Deterritorialization, Becoming, Identity, Smooth Space, Lines of Flight.

Table of Content:

  1. Chapter One: Introduction
  2. General Overview …………………………………………………….………5
  3. Statement of the Problem…………………………………………………..…10
  4. Significance of the problem…………………………………………..………12
  5. Delimitations…………………………………………………………..…..…17
  6. Approach and Methodology…………………………………………………19
  7. Literature Review…………………………………………………………..….21
  8. Definition of the Key-terms……………………………………………..……23
  9. Chapter Two: Deleuze’s tenets in Krapp’s Last Tape……………………………….26
  10. “Arbre”, “Rhizome”, and “Becoming” in Krapp……………………….…..27

Becoming Imperceptible in Krapp…………………..………….……31

  1. Language in Deleuzean perspective in Krapp’s Last Tape.……………..…..37
  2. Krapp’s Last Tape and Body without Organ…………………………….……41
  3. Krapp and Smooth Space………………………………………………….….44

III. Chapter Three: Deleuzean perspectives in Not I………………………………….…46

  1. Not I and Nonsignifying Language……………………………………….…..46

Regimes of signs…………………………………………………….…53

  1. Becoming process in Not I……………………………………………………59
  2. Not I and Body without Organ (BwO)………………………………………..64

Smooth Space…………………………………………………………67

  1. Negation of Ego- Not I………………………………………………………..70
  2. Chapter Four: Deleuzean themes in Endgame…………………………………..…..76
  3. Endgame and Language 1…………………………………………………….77
  4. Endgame and Language 2…………………………………………….89
  5. Endgame and Repetition………………………………………………96
  6. Endgame and Body without Organs (BwO)………………………………….99
  7. Endgame and Smooth Space…………………………………………………110

Endgame and Nomadic Characters………………………………….114

  1. Chapter Five: Conclusion
  2. Conclusion……………………………………………………………………117
  3. Summing up……………………………………………………………………121
  4. Findings……………………………………………………………………….125
  5. Suggestions for Further Reading……………………………………………..126
  6. Bibliography…………………………………………………………………..128

 

Chapter One

1.1 General Background

Samuel Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) is an outstanding Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor. Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is considered one of the last modernists. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. Furthermore, he is one of the key writers in the “Theatre of the Absurd“. Besides, Beckett’s work has extended the possibility of drama and fiction in unprecedented ways, bringing to the theater and the novel an acute awareness of the absurdity of human existence_ our desperate search for meaning, our individual isolation, and the gulf between our desires and the language in which they find expression. Beckett was awarded Croix de guerre (France), Medaille de Resistence (France), honorary doctorate from Trinity College (1959-Dublin), International Publishers’ Formentor Prize (1961), Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1968), and in 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”. Beckett studied French, Italian, and English and he went to Paris while there, he was introduced to a renowned Irish author James Joyce. This meeting had a profound impact on the young man.

No doubt the best known of Beckett’s mature efforts written originally in English, Krapp’s Last Tape carries his theatrical experiment one step further, reducing the cast of characters to a single human actor, supplemented by a tape recorder playing back the same voice at a much earlier age, with references to still earlier recordings. Going well beyond the usual dramatic monologue, the interaction of the aging Krapp with his former self (or selves) raises Krapp’s Last Tape to the dimension of full-scale theater. Set “in the future”- tape recorders being relatively new at the time of the play’s composition—Krapp’s Last Tape presents the title character under the strong, merciless light of his workspace. This light is demanded by his increasingly poor eyesight. In this way, light and shadow, sight and blindness figure prominently in Beckett’s attempt to examine. Krapp has apparently intended to surprise himself with memories kept “fresh” on tape, but there are few surprises to be found. Like Vladimir and Estragon, Krapp is rather clownish in appearance and dress, prone to a variety of ailments no doubt inflicted by his lifestyle. A heavy drinker who interrupts the tape more than once to take a nip offstage, Krapp is also hopelessly addicted to bananas, despite chronic constipation. As it could be imagined, dramatization of this play on the stage would expand the boundaries of what can be realized in theatre.

Endgame is a break, from previous on-stage brutalities having a non-linear, freer, more fragmented poetic without any specified stage direction or characters’ movement. It consists of four characters. The setting for Endgame is a bare room with two small windows situated high up on the back wall. This is a shelter for the four characters; the rest of the world is supposed to be dead. Hamm is onstage, seated in chair, and covered with a sheet when the play opens. Clov enters and proceeds to set up a ladder so he can look out both windows. Once he has completed this ritual he leaves the room and goes to his kitchen. Hamm wakes up wanting to play games. He whistles and Clov immediately appears. They discuss Hamm’s eyes, which Clov has never looked at. Hamm asks Clov to put the sheet back over him, indicating that he wants to go to sleep. Clov refuses, and Hamm threatens not to feed him anymore. Clov says that then he will die. Hamm finally asks Clov why he does not leave. Clov indicates that he is trying to leave, and that someday he will. Hamm then wants to know why Clov will not kill him. Their conversation is stunted by the fact that whenever one of them makes a statement, it is countered by the other person. The first speaker then agrees with the counter argument, meaning that the conversation immediately ends. The whole play consists of nonsense conversation between Hamm and Clov who don’t have any choice for changing their life. It might not be quite fair to take this stillness as simplicity while much more complexities are hidden under the apparent tranquil layers of this play. It means that though apparently impossible, multiple interpretations can be brought into the light.

The third play discussed, Not I is a short dramatic monologue written in 1972. It takes place in a pitch-black space illuminated only by a single beam of light. This spotlight fixes on an actress’s mouth about eight feet above the stage, everything else being blacked out and, in early performances, illuminates the shadowy figure of the Auditor who makes four increasingly ineffectual movements “of helpless compassion” during brief breaks in the monologue where Mouth appears to be listening to some inner voice unheard by the audience. The mouth utters at a ferocious pace of fragmented, jumbled sentences which obliquely tells the story of a woman of about seventy- having been abandoned by her parents after a premature birth- has lived a loveless, mechanical life and has suffered an unspecified traumatic experience. The woman has been virtually mute since childhood apart from occasional outbursts, one of which comprises the text we hear. From the text it could be inferred that the woman had been raped but this is something Beckett was very clear about when asked: “How could you think of such a thing! No, no, not at all – it wasn’t that at all” (Beckett 18). It seems more likely that she has suffered some kind of collapse, possibly even her death, while “wandering in a field … looking aimlessly for cowslips” (78). Her initial reaction to the paralyzing event is to assume she is being punished by God, but she finds she is not suffering; she feels no pain, as in life she felt no pleasure. She cannot think why she might be being punished but accepts that God does not need a “particular reason” for what He does. She thinks she has something to tell though doesn’t know what yet believes if she goes over the events of her life for long enough she will stumble upon that thing for which she needs to seek forgiveness. In addition to the continued buzzing in her skull there is now a light of varying intensity tormenting her. As in many of Beckett’s works there is a cyclical nature fading in and out to similar expressions suggesting this is a snapshot of a much larger event. The title comes from the character’s repeated insistence that the events she describes or alludes to did not happen to her.

During the 15 years following the war, Beckett produced four major full-length stage plays: En attendant Godot ( 1948–1949; Waiting for Godot)Fin de partie (1955–1957; Endgame)  Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), and Happy Days (1961). These plays- which are often considered, rightly or wrongly, to have been instrumental in the so-called “Theater of the absurd”- deal in a very bleakly humorous way with themes similar to those of the roughly contemporary existentialist thinkers. Though many of the themes are similar, Beckett had little affinity with existentialism as a whole. Broadly speaking, the plays deal with the subject of despair and the will to survive in spite of that despair, in the face of an uncomprehending and incomprehensible world. Beckett’s outstanding achievements in prose during the period were the three novels Molly (1951), Malone meurt (1951; Malone Dies) and L’innommable (1953: The Unnamable). In these novels—sometimes referred to as a “trilogy”, though this is against the author’s own explicit wishes—the prose becomes increasingly bare and stripped down. Despite the widely held view that Beckett’s work, as exemplified by the novels of this period, is essentially pessimistic. After these three novels, Beckett struggled for many years to produce a sustained work of prose, a struggle evidenced by the brief “stories” later collected as Texts for Nothing. In the late 1950s, however, he created one of his most radical prose works, Comment c’est (1961; How It Is).

In reading Beckett’s three plays (Krapp’s last tape, Not I, and Happy Days) what comes into focus is the representation of a process of becoming, affect of characters who repressed in modern society. Although the main issue in these plays revolves around absurdity in critical studies, a new study would bring how absurdity reflected in a process of becoming for Krapp and other characters. They keep coming back to themselves no matter how chokingly violent the world is. Despite loneliness, despair, and isolation they got accustomed to survive under the gloomy atmosphere of modern society exemplified in the character of Krapp who tries to find himself among tapes. The language used in these plays is fragmented, chaotic and endless that mocks the structured, highly stylized and codified language of traditional theater; The language that escapes any specific clear one dimensional interpretation. Such notions practiced in Beckett’s plays, have been well expressed, expanded, and theorized by Gilles Deleuze’s postulates in France, which might be another proof for the uniqueness and universality of such issues.

Gilles Deleuze ( 18 January 1925 – 4 November 1995) is a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980). His metaphysical treatise Difference and Repetition (1968) is considered by many scholars to be his magnum opus. Deleuze’s works fall into two groups: on one hand, monographs interpreting the work of other philosophers (Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Bergson, Foucault) and artists (Proust, Kafka, Francis Bacon); on the other, eclectic philosophical tomes organized by concept (e.g., difference, sense, events, schizophrenia, cinema, philosophy). Regardless of topic, however, Deleuze consistently develops variations on similar ideas.

Deleuze’s main philosophical project in the works he wrote prior to his collaborations with Guattari can be boldly summarized as an inversion of the traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. Deleuze claims that all identities are effects of difference. Identities are neither logically nor metaphysically prior to difference, Deleuze argues, “given that there exist differences of nature between things of the same genus” ( Anti-Oedipus 16).That is, not only are no two things ever the same, the categories we use to identify individuals in the first place derive from differences. Difference, in other words, goes all the way down. To confront reality honestly, Deleuze argues, we must grasp beings exactly as they are, and concepts of identity (forms, categories, resemblances, unities of apperception, predicates, etc.) fail to attain what he calls “difference in itself.” “If philosophy has a positive and direct relation to things, it is only insofar as philosophy claims to grasp the thing itself, according to what it is, in its difference from everything it is not, in other words, in its internal difference” (Anti-Oedipus 69).

Moreover, Deleuze claims that being is univocal, i.e., that all of its senses are affirmed in one voice. Deleuze adapts the doctrine of univocity to claim that being is, univocally, difference. “With univocity, however, it is not the differences which are and must be: it is being which is Difference, in the sense that it is said of difference. Moreover, it is not we who are univocal in a Being which is not; it is we and our individuality which remains equivocal in and for a univocal Being”(67) For Deleuze, there is no one substance, only an always-differentiating process, an origami cosmos, always folding, unfolding, refolding. Deleuze summarizes this ontology in the paradoxical formula “pluralism= monism”(Anti-Oedipus 68).

Difference and Repetition is Deleuze’s most sustained and systematic attempt to work out the details of such a metaphysics, but his other works develop similar ideas. In Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), for example, reality is a play of forces; in Anti Oedipus (1972), a “body without organs”; in What Is Philosophy? (1991), a “plane of immanence “ or “chaosmos”(90).

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