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Memory, Habitus, and the ‘Time in-Between’ in Waiting for Godot

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2012, 25(3), pp.139-170
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Hwayoung Yoon 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Main concern of this essay is to identify and discuss the different concepts of time which the four characters of Waiting for Godot profess or signify during the course of the play. The argument begins with the proposition that the most fundamental conflict of Waiting for Godot occurs between the two contrasting images of mobility and immobility which reflect the aporia faced by the post war intelligentsia. Pozzo and Lucky’s relentless movement toward the unseen Marché de Saint-Sauveur is driven by their belief in the progress and the panacea promised by the development of modern technology and industry, in an inseparable alliance with the power of market. Their mobility contrasts with the static, self-reflecting post war consciousness of Estragon and Vladimir. Surrounded by threatening others and lacking in positive initiation for the suffering others, their everyday existence as such consists in habitus-present, which Gilles Deleuze defines as one of the characteristics of modern time. In Waiting for Godot, both of the blind belief in the future (progress) and the reactive memory of the past deprive them of the positive power to act. Curiously, it is Estragon, without memory of the past promise or illusory expectation for the future, who stands out to be the one character of the play whose notion of time does not change throughout the play. He allegorically personifies or is tantamount to the artistic principle of the play which can be summarized to be ‘the in-betweenness’, the ‘perhaps’ principle, or the undeterminable 50/50 ratio of the virtual coexistence of the possible.

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