Sunday, November 27, 2011

Waiting for Godot -- Reading Godot, the conglomerative effect

      The heart of Lois Gordon's book is her interpretation of the various features of the play in terms of Freudian conglomeration.  She says:

"Freud uses the term conglomeration in the process of collecting the fragmentary components of the dream.  This is a concept akin to the mental operation of "secondary revision", which gives final shape and form to the compressed dream image.  In following Freud's procedure, I shall speak of the conglomerative effect or conglomerative refrain in order to indicate what traditionally would be called the dominant theme of the play, always in the form of thesis and antithesis."(pg. 75)

Thus, we see the various verbal formulations, including the ambiguous or self-contradictory speeches, dialogues, stage directions(when compared with the dialogue), as if they were disorganized components of a dream.  The assemblage of a theme is therefore analogous to the assembling of a narrative and meaning among the pieces of a dream.

She says of Lucky's monologue that it is
"a disjointed worldview of a onetime philosopher-poet: (1) The universe is ruled by an enigmatic, capricious deity...;(2) the human creature 'wastes and pines' despite all the 'strides' and 'labors of men', intellectual, social, and physical; (3) only a stony, indifferent earth survives....Almost every word and activity in the play is an incremental repetition of this worldview"(pp. 76-77)

She indeed proceeds to show how the main characters in the play manifest this theme.  While there is nothing particularly Oedipal about the play in the Freudian sense, there is the sense that each character is at the mercy of forces both inside and out.  I didn't get the depth psychology I asked for in the last post, but I did get a connection with dreams and their interpretations.

No comments:

Post a Comment