The Double Position of Waiting for Godot

Ali Taghizadeh1 & Gholamhossein Mahmoud Soltani2

 1Assistant Professor at the English Department of Razi University of Kermanshah, Iran.ORCID: Email: 2PhD Candidate in English, Razi University,Iran. Email:

Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.13

Received March 27, 2016; Revised July 24, 2016; Accepted July 07, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


No way can one exaggerate the unique position possessed by Samuel Beckett and his seminal play Waiting for Godot on the stage and in the dramaturgy alike. Undoubtedly, nestled in the core of this work lies some working which has bestowed it with such roaring success. Beckett’s play is an embodiment of the idea that binary oppositions are not more than conventions which therefore can be subverted to allow a wide gamut of unprivileged voices to find a leeway. Waiting for Godot is full of ambiguities and binary oppositions, just to name the extreme one, the concept of “waiting” and the implicit binary of “substance/form.  Therefore, it can be read as a dramatization of how it neatly pits such hierarchies against the deconstructionist suspicion of the accepted binary items present in the Western philosophical tradition. Considering how much affinity Derrida himself has seen with Beckett, Waiting for Godot is a ground conducive to the concepts of deconstruction to be practiced.

 Key Words: Deconstruction, Duality Ambiguity, Substance, Form, Incubation

The Iterability of the Woman Condition: a Derridean Reading of Glaspell’s Trifles

Noorbakhsh Hooti1 & Mohammad-Javad Haj’jari2

 1Associate Professor in Dramatic Literature, Razi University, Iran. E-mail: 2PhD Student, Razi University, Iran. E-mail:

 Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.18

Received April 22, 2016; Revised July 12, 2016; Accepted July 25, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


Derrida defines artifactualities as artificially made norms by institutions and hierarchies which turn into conventions over time in dominating mankind, conventions which must be recognized and dismantled. Every particular event or presence can assume its singularity outside such biased tautology by iterating itself to generate its own specific body of norms in supplementing itself. Accordingly, this study tries to highlight the female logic and the iterability of the woman condition against patriarchal artifactualities in Glaspell’s Trifles (1916). The women of the play illuminate a world invisible to patriarchy, an overlooking gaze blurred by artifactualities. Dismantling the binary opposition of male/female, the play highlights the singularity of females in discussing the truth of its events. Moreover, the women’s aporetic decision in the play not to reveal Minnie’s killing motive is an attempt to defend the female cause and highlight the iterability of the woman condition against patriarchy. Thus, the researchers aim at interpreting Trifles through a Derridean perspective to dig up and open up the stifled woman question against patriarchal artifactualities. Contrasting the collective female knowledge to logocentrism, this study illuminates Glaspell’s attempt at foregrounding the unique sphere of women’s knowledge over patriarchal artifactualities. Glaspell anticipates Derrida’s remarks in turning logocentrism and artifactualities over their heads in favor of the singularity of any phenomena which can iterates itself to proof its unique position outside artifactialities.

Keywords: artifactualities, deconstruction, iterability, Trifles, woman condition

The Importance of Being Postmodern: Oscar Wilde and the Untimely

Jonathan Kemp, Birkbeck College, University of London
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“It is to criticism that the future belongs”

– Oscar Wilde[1]

 “In protesting the independence of criticism,

Wilde sounds like an ancestral …Roland Barthes”

– Richard Ellmann[2]

 “Postmodern is not to be taken in the periodizing sense”

– Jean-François Lyotard[3]

 The above three quotations delineate the typography of a particular trajectory within literary theory which covers more or less the entire span of the twentieth century.  Wilde’s prediction in 1891 seems to find its answer in Lyotard’s claim less than a hundred years later that postmodernism must not in any way be understood as a temporal marker, but rather as an aesthetic attitude or position.  For, if we are ‘in’ the postmodern we are in it precisely because we always already inhabit the possibility of its recognition, presentation or expression.  As such, texts or artworks that predate the critical emergence of the term can nevertheless be understood to be postmodern – and usefully so.  For it gives us permission to name, once again, though differently, perhaps, a particular phenomenon, or a particular convergence of phenomena; one we most typically name the avant garde.  In this essay I would like to use the above three quotations as markers for the trajectory of my argument.  In this sense, I will be using Wilde and Lyotard as both meetings points and end points for an arc that loops around to create a circuit, or a band, upon which – or within which – we might usefully place the concept of the postmodern/avant garde in ways which will shed light upon the notion of the untimely.  I would suggest that the postmodern and the untimely are, in short, other ways of naming and apprehending the avant garde as that which emerges without consensus, but which contains within it the criteria for its own assessment.  As Ellmann comments, Wilde seems, in his formulation of a new kind of art-criticism, to express something that Roland Barthes would develop sixty odd years later[4]: the self-sufficiency of criticism as an end in itself, or as a new form of aesthetic expression.  In this sense, Wilde’s work will be understood as posthumous, or untimely.[5]  That is, avant garde.

Rules of Language in Rules of the House: Study of Tsering Wangmo Dhompa’s Tibetan English Poetry

Shelly Bhoil, Research Scholar, Barzil

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The displacement of Tibetans in exile has also displaced the Tibetan language to some extent among the new generation of Tibetans who are born or educated in exile. However, with the new languages and forms of expression in exile, they are negotiating their culture, identity and aspirations. Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, the first Tibetan woman poet in English to be published in the West, is one of the representative voices of New Tibetan Literature in English (NTLE). Her first book of poems Rules of the House was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Awards in 2003, and brought NTLE to academic attention. This paper is a thematic study of the philosophical and the social aspects of language in the poems from Rules of the House.

The Poetics of John Ashbery

Gargi Bhattacharya, Rabindra Bharati University

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John Ashbery (1927- ) takes the postmodernist polysemy of meaning in interpreting a work of art and the polyphony of styles in composing as his forte. He questions the various linguistic codes and makes us aware of the artificiality of the language. All political, ethical and aesthetic imperatives are rhetorical constructs. The writer uses language to persuade the reader to accept the formulated truth and he intervenes in the process of perception by his/her politics of representation. Though his iconoclastic approach towards writing and individuality of style has kept him aloof from mainstream academic syllabi, yet he has now become a prominent figure in Contemporary American Literature. It is interesting to note how Ashbery’s poetry revives the Romantic sensibility while applying the digitalized methods and the postmodern syndromes of immediacy, indeterminacy, disjunctive syntax, open-ended and multiplicity of interpretations. This paper explores the aesthetics of John Ashbery’s poetry.

Language as Remnant: Survival, Translation and the Poetry of Paul Celan

Dipanjan Maitra, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

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This paper is an attempt to explore the relation between poetry and survival taking as a point of focus the poetry of the post-war European poet Paul Celan. By drawing attention to the French thinker Jacques Derrida’s several influential studies of Celan’s poetry on the problems of “witnessing”,  “testimony” and the “idiomatic” this paper finally examines the Italian thinker Giorgio Agamben’s notion of the “remnant” to understand a poetics of survival.

Singing Specters: Phenomenology in the Performance of Music

Dan W. Lawrence, Michigan Technological University

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In this article, I write along with key 20th century thinkers—Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jacques Derrida—to understand how a phenomenological examination of the performance of music can contribute to a meaningful exploration of the roles of consciousness and presence in the process of rhetorical invention. I begin by looking at Plato’s Phaedrus and assess the notion of “fit” as it relates to rhetoric and performance as well as the mythical trope of the cicadas. I will then explore how Plato’s rendering of madness in this piece might help us understand Derrida’s almost paradoxical construction of the voice in Voice and Phenomenon. From here, I move to analyze the figure of the ghost as presented by Derrida and relate this to the non-presence of presence while asking: how might this notion better help us understand how rhetorical decisions are made by performing artists? The argument I put forth is that there is a subtle difference between the aleatoric moments of invention that occur in the process of solitary composition and those that occur on the stage. My conclusion points toward further research that would analyze these elements in recorded music and digital recording technologies which further problematizes the notion of non-presence: what would it really mean to have a ghost in the machine? Do we perform a séance each time we press “play”?

Mary Magdalene or Virgin Mary: Nationalism and the Concept of Woman in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Sayyed Rahim Moosavinia, Seyyede Maryam Hosseini & Shahid Chamran

University of Ahvaz, Iran

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Foucault believes that people live in systems of power different from one era to another. He applies the term “power archives” to demonstrate that those inside an institute cannot be aware of the subtle ways of power imposed on them. Likewise, it would be oversimplification to think that with the apparent end of colonialism, the colonized subjects will be free from subjugating contexts. In the case of women, the situation is even worse since they are repressed by both the colonialist and the post-colonial nationalist. “Under the anxiety of the influence” of the former colonial father, the once-belittled colonial men turn to support their females in terms of their body and soul, and in this way define them inside a strictly demarcated roles of good wives, mothers, and households or vicious prostitutes. Bessie Head in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece subtly examines this idea and through her coloured protagonist, Elizabeth, attempts to re-deconstruct this notion.

Representation of the ‘National Self’— Novelistic Portrayal of a New Cultural Identity in Gora

Dipankar Roy,Visva-Bharati, India


Any colonial rule involves a systematic and ruthless attack on the culture and heritage of the colonized race. This often results in a total loss or at least maiming of the sense of ‘self’ for the colonized people. The masculinist self of the colonizer labels the self of the colonized as ‘effeminate’. In reaction to this, the nationalist consciousness of the colonized people often tries to replicate the macho virility of the colonial masters in an act of fashioning a ‘nationalist self.’ In the context of Indian colonial history we see development in similar lines. But, the codification of the dominant strand of the nationalist consciousness in overt masculinist terms often have strange reverberations. This paper is about such an act of fashionning selves and its after-effects. To study the issue in the Indian colonial contexts I have chosen Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora as a case-study. The conception of this novel’s central character is largely modelled on the issue of an ‘ideal’ national self.  The author, however, by observing the dialogic principle consistently in the text, problematises the dominant ideas connected with the figure of ‘nationalist self’. How he does it will be my main concern in this article. Whether it is possible to arrive at a general tendency of the nature of India’s colonial encounter with the British in relation to the issue of the development of the national character will be dealt with in the concluding section of this essay.

The ‘Blue Flame’: An ‘Elliptical’ Interaction between Kahlil Gibran and Rabindranath Tagore

Indrani Datta (Chaudhuri),Vidyasagar University, India

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This paper focuses on certain aporias in the life and works of a Lebanese American writer, Kahlil Gibran, that reveal his idiosyncratic interest in and preoccupation with India, neither his native nor his adopted country. It also charts out the ‘elliptical’ connection that this Lebanese immigrant forged with the Indian Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. A “belated” (Behdad 1) reading of these aspects opens up the possibility of critiquing Gibran’s life and writings through the theoretical framework of Nico Israel’s “outlandish”-ness (ix), a state that exists between, as Israel has stated, “exilic emplacement” and “diasporic self-fashioning” (16-17). This kind of “reading behind” (Behdad 4) rewrites “a kind of philosophical décalage” (2) that ruptures existing West-centric discourses by destabilizing and displacing them through “other locations…other trajectories of subjectivity, and…forms of knowledge” (Behdad 1). My critiquing of Gibran’s life and texts, in this manner, show how his sense of identity, generated out of trans-cultural and transnational spaces, not only engenders a counter discursive practice to the West-centric politics of exclusion but also tries to rescue non-Western writers, and their literatures, from the “anamnesiac order” (Behdad 3) of such politics.

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