PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF DEVIATIONS OF COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES IN SAMUEL BECKETT’S WAITING FOR GODOT
Keywords:Pragmatics; Deviations; Cooperative Principles; The Theatre of the Absurd; tragi-comedy
There is no denying that for a meaningful communication to take place, the interlocutors ought to observe in the words of Paul Grice (1975) ‘Four Maxims of Cooperative Principle’. However, for the communication to become meaningful and effective, utterances are interpreted and understood in context, not in isolation. Pragmatics, a relatively new branch of linguistics, deals with all the sociological and psychological phenomena which occur in the functioning of speech. It does not interpret a textual discourse at its surface level but goes to its meanings at deeper level. Samuel Beckett, the pioneer of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’, affirms that we try to conceal reality behind words but we fail because language reveals more than is intended by the speaker. Beckett’s master piece Waiting for Godot provides rich foregrounded material for pragmatic analysis as characters of the play frequently flout the maxims of Cooperative Principles. For a lay man, the utterances of the dramatis personae seem to communicate nothing because of repetitive sentence structures, unconventional dialogues and untraditional symbols. But, this research paper aims to establish that all these deviations/floutings of Cooperative Principles would yield a variety of meanings when analysed in context. A number of passages from the text are selected for analysis on the basis of their stylistic and thematic significance. Mick Short’s (1997) model of description, interpretation and evaluation has been applied for the analysis of the selected texts.
Beckett, S. (1985). Waiting for Godot. UK: Faber and Faber Berlin, N. (1981). Samuel Beckett: The language of self. University of Massachusetts Press.
Bradford, R. (1997). Stylistics: The new critical idiom. London: Routledge.
Dutton, R. (1986). Modern tragicomedy and the British tradition: Beckett, Pinter, Stoppard, Albee and Storey. Great Britain: The Harvester Press Ltd.
Esslin, M. (1980). The Theatre of the Absurd. Great Britain: Pelican Books.
Fletcher, B. S. & Fletcher, J. (1985). A Student’s guide to the plays of Samuel Beckett. London: Faber and Faber. Fletcher, J. & Spurling, J. (1985). Beckett: The playwright. London: Eyre Methuen Ltd.
Graver, L. (1989). Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot. London: Cambridge University Press.
Grice, P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and Semantics Volume 3: Speech Acts. Academic Press.
Grice, P. (1991). Studies in the way of words. England: Harvard University Press.
Hasan, I. (2002). Samuel Beckett: Wordmaster ‘Waiting for Godot’ (Text
with Critical Commentary). Pakistan: Oxford University Press.
Hausman, C. R. (1989). Metaphor and art: Interactionism and reference in the verbal and nonverbal arts. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Katz, A. N. (1996). On interpreting statements as Metaphor or Irony: Contextual Heuristics and Cognitive consequences. In J. S. Mio & A. N. Katz (Eds.), Metaphor: Implications and applications. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlaum Associates, Inc. Pragmatic Analysis of Deviations 65 Leech, G. N. (1989). A Linguistics Guide to English Poetry. England: Longman Group Ltd.
Lyons, C. R. (1983). Samuel Beckett: Macmillan Modern Dramatists. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd.
Pickering, K. (1988). How to Study Modern Drama. Houndmills and London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Pilling, J. (2001).
The Cambridge Companion to Beckett. England: Cambridge University Press.
Russell, S. (2001). Grammar, Structure and Style: A Practical Guide to Advanced Level English Language. London: Oxford University Press.
Short, M. (1997). Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose.
London and New York: Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.
Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
Yule, G. (1997). The Study of Language (2nd ed.). U.K.: Cambridge University Press.