- Friday, November 21, 1986
- The Dialectics of the '' Wait'' Motif in Beckett and Aqel
- Published at:A paper presented at the international British , American and comparative literatures conference , hosted by the Department of English at Yarmouk University , October 1986.
It might very well seem preposterous to compare one of few most innovative of contemporary Western dramatists and the leading exponent of the Theatre of the Absurd, with his keen sense of theatre, his supreme mastery of craft and profound and gnawing awareness of ontological dilemmas, with a Palestinian playwright still, in a sense or two, feeling his way into dramatic construction (but doing so, firmly and bravely) and with no equally flattering consicousness of ontological perplexities. Moreover, that our playwright has been influenced by Beckett is out of the question. Yet, intriguing are the affinities one finds between the works of both: a devotion to the “wait" motif and its dramatization in a metatheatre peopled by metafictional characters.
Such convergencies in choice of motif, treatment and theme are perhaps only a measure not only of the "fundamental homogeneity of … the literary intelligence common to all national elites," but also of the essential sameness of the condition of universal man.
Beckett and Aqel’s characters strive, in their different ways, to retrieve to a hopeless world its forfeited “possibility of tragedy", to bridge a disorienting rift between man/character and universe, and, within a dialectic of self and role, of character and actor, try to make illusion a reality, apparent nonsense a meaning, absurdity a purpose.
A few affinities of form,especially the expressionistic juxtaposition aside, the plays of both playwrights belong to a tradition of exile - willed or imposed, the" experience of a lost country" (as Williams, in the context of Beckett, puts it) - lost differently in the case of each - and with it a lost identity, a self torn apart, and a quest for Deliverance.