The Power of Language
Language is the means by which people function in society. Written text works to expose how language dictates the power one holds in society. This word defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way (OED). The way in which people communicate defines how they progress in society. Those who articulate language well have extreme power over those who don’t. Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication. (Wiki). To have language is to have power. This idea of language relating to power is so prevalent in our literature that one rarely identifies it as the major theme, however, it is. Power is language and language is power. In the play Waiting for Gadot by Samuel Beckett and in the novel The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish we see just how much language has control over literature. Both of these works of art have the underlining theme of language controlling the power. This paper will demonstrate how the characters that articulate their language elegantly display the most power. Estrogen and Valdimir in Waiting for Gadot demonstrate their dependence on Gadot and lack of power, which is shown in their language, while the Empress in Blazing Worlds holds all the power through her language. Waiting for Gadot is based on the power of language. Language is something that is rarely associated with power, but in all literature power is exposed through words. In The Blazing Worlds language connects directly to power “Empress had an excellent gift of preaching, and instructing them in articles of faith; and by that means, she converted them not only soon, but gained an extraordinary love of all her subjects throughout the world.” (Cavendish 163). This line demonstrates that the Empresses way of expressing her language captivates the people and gives her the power to bring her own religion to the world and have all the people worship it and love her. However, Waiting for Gadot does something interesting with its language relating to power. The dialogue between the characters has no real meaning; it’s the stage direction that tells the readers what truly is going on. “Estrogen: Well, shall we go?
Vladimir: Yes, lets go
They do not move.” (Beckett 59 Act I)
The power in this story is displayed through actions rather than words. The fact that the characters do not act on their words shows that their language is meaningless, which displays they hold no power. In the play Henry V, Henry uses his power of language to manipulate his troops into believing that they are able to win the war. His speech further articulates the point that language is equivalent to power. He made his men believe that they had the power to conquer the war through his language, not through their ability. Henry was a likable character, similar to the character of Jack in the Unfortunate Traveler. Jack uses his language to manipulate the bar tender to provide the troops with free alcohol. Although this power is not measurable to the power that Henry V holds, this demonstrates just how convincing language is. This simple mission proves that articulating language in a certain way can make one gain power. The Empress in Blazing Worlds expresses her power of language when she banishes the and lice-men whom were the mathematicians, “neither truth nor justice in their profession; and so dissolved their society. (Cavendish 160). Due to the fact that the Empress could not understand their language she dissolved their society. The Empress was threatened by not understanding their language, she knew that language was power; hence she destroyed their language to rid their potential power. This extremely different then in Waiting for Gadot, Vladimir and Estrogen do not hold power that’s why their language is meaningless. They say things and never do it. For instances the...
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