Lecture Nineteen full lecture notes

Lecture Nineteen full lecture notes - Lecture...

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Lecture Nineteen—Finding Meaning in the Absurd Key Questions: 1) In what way is Waiting for Godot an enactment of existentialist philosophy? 2) What made Beckett’s unconventional 1952 play, with no plot, no definite setting, no protagonist even, such an enduring testimony of the human condition? I) Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot a) Problem of Time in Modernity i) Fragmentation of time: Eliot’s “Prufrock” (1) “I’ve measured my life in coffee-spoons” ii) Compression of time: Technology and the Fordist assembly-line (1) Speeding up of time iii) In Beckett’s play, time simply dissolves b) The Dissolution of Time i) Time understood as one endless, repetitive cycle (1) None of the characters can be sure when something happened (a) Was it yesterday when the boy last showed up? (b) When were they supposed to meet Godot exactly? (c) When did they last see the tree? How could four leaves appear from the bare branches overnight? (2) When no events occur, or when we cannot remember them, then it becomes impossible for us to measure time (a) E.g. we cannot say: “Remember the time when we…” ii) Overwhelming sense of temporal disorientation (1) No clear distinction of past, present, and future (a) Confusion about time of day (dawn or dusk?), sequence of days (Was it yesterday Pozzo and Lucky showed up?) (b) At one point, Didi even says “Time has stopped” (37) (c) Humanity suspended in a constant state of ahistoricity, a monotonous cycle of
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This note was uploaded on 03/04/2011 for the course MMW 6 taught by Professor Chang during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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Lecture Nineteen full lecture notes - Lecture...

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