Discuss the power of language (diction) and its effectiveness in portraying theme or character in Waiting for Godot.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the key themes of this excellent play is the absurdity of life, where humans find themselves pitted against a universe that is profoundly indifferent to them at best and antagonistic towards them at worst. Beckett, and other dramatists like him, tried to express this rather bleak and pessimistic vision of the universe through a new literary form of drama called the Theatre of the Absurd, which meant the abandonment of traditional drama forms and the portrayal of such a meaningless existence through the form of drama. The use of diction is one way in which Beckett strips his audience of the security of knowing what is going on through the deliberate inclusion of characters like Lucky, whose dialogue takes the form of two pages of incomprehensible nonsense:

Wattman it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labours of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard...

Such diction deliberately robs the audience of any clear sense of meaning, which is of course the kind of vision of the world that Beckett is trying to evince. Although this is an extreme form of the absurd nature of diction in this play, it is also important to consider the conversation between Vladimir and Estragon and the way that non sequiturs are used and the pattern of conversation appears to be extremely random. Absurdity is conveyed through careful word choice.

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