”Kvinnan föder grensle över en grav”: En studie av det groteska i Samuel Becketts I väntan på Godot
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
”They give birth astride of a grave” : A study of the grotesque in Samuel Becketts Waiting for Godot (English)
This essay examines the grotesque in Samuel Becketts wellknown play Waiting for Godot. The play is primarily seen as an icon of absurdism, and it is such not appropriate to examine the play as if it belongs to the litterary genre of grotesque. The primary purpose of absurdism is to reveal the pointless- and emptiness of existence. In order to illustrate these points absurdism will often make use of the common characteristics of the grotesque. With this in mind I present, within this essay, an eximination of whether Samuel Becket makes use of these characteristics to assist his portayal of emptiness in Waiting for Godot.
A prior understanding of absurdism is required and i have as such primarly used Martin Esslins famous studies.
The studies of the grotesque are mainly represented by two theorists. Michail Bachtin's theory is based around the medieval carnival culture, whose archetype was the duality of the body expressed through the pregnant death. Bachtin seeks to highlight the grotesques close connection with laughter as a relief and covers it's use during the middle ages and the renneissance. Wolfgang Kayser studies the term as it is used during the romanticism and modernism. Kayser describes the grotesque as "cold" and alienating. He describes the word as an ”estranged world”.
The analysis relies mostly on Bachtin's theories and examines the play from the viewpoint of the picture of the grotesque body, sense of time, the logic of the upside down world and the connection to the carnivals culture of laughter but also examines if Kayser's theories of the ”estranged world” are compatible.
Finally, I reach the conclusion that even though Bachtins theory treats the grotesque in a time long before Beckett's, a reading of Waiting for Godot from the perspective of the carnival culture is interesting. The laughter and the open, grotesque body, plays as expected a large role in the handling of the emptiness, the cyclic sense of time is found in the play and never ceases to repeat, the upside down world's logic and it's abolition of hierarchies is significant and the world in the play seems alien to itself.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 28 p.
Det groteska; Michail Bachtin; Wolfgang Kayser; Per Bäckström; Samuel Beckett; I väntan på Godot; Absurdism; Martin Esslin; Litteraturvetenskap;
General Literature Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-31541OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-31541DiVA: diva2:698408
Subject / course
Bäckström, Per, Professor
Wijkmark, Sofia, Universitetslektor