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Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2013) : 71-86
Waiting for Blanchot
A Third Act for Beckett’s Play
Arleen Ionescu
Rubric A: Literature and Philosophy
Rubric B: Irish Literature



Waiting and expecting structurally presuppose a futurity conditioned by doubt and uncertainty about the object of the wait. But what can waiting signify when one no longer waits for something/someone to come in a determinable future or when the horizon of such a traditional form of waiting starts receding? This paper attempts to frame this problem within a “dialectical” reading of Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, starting from the existential-temporal dimension of humanity’s Dasein as “destined-to-death,” which traces the limits of waiting with/for an end as the time of the always missed/deferred encounter with Godot, symbolizing the ultimate appointment with death. As the play unfolds, the main characters may be seen to approach, albeit unwittingly, the threshold of another, more objectless waiting: that of Derrida’s arrivant or waiting without (messianic) expectation in a future-to-come (avenir). Finally, after a detour via Blanchot’s own modes of waiting and, as a possible remedy, the form of negation known as forgetting (Awaiting Oblivion), it returns to the ultimate inescapability of waiting beyond the “end” of Beckett’s play and, following Abraham and Torok’s speculative endeavor to write a “Sixth Act” in order to put to rest the dramatic uncertainties of Hamlet, it attempts to imagine a “third act,” once the curtain has fallen on Beckett’s characters.

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