How Do Samuel Beckett (“Waiting for Godot”) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (“Chronicles of a Death Foretold”) Manage to Break the Chains of a Circular Novel/Play?

Topics: Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Theatre of the Absurd Pages: 3 (1105 words) Published: October 1, 2008
In “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett and “Chronicles of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the reader is presented with an un-orthodox beginning of story in both novels. While Beckett’s play starts with the antithesis of a usual opening line “Nothing to be done”, Marquez’s novel does the same “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar” thus condemning the novel to a foretold destiny. These approaches withdraw any initial suspense that the novel or play could offer; this then poses a question: what is the reader’s interest in the remainder of the story? How does the author manage to maintain a grip on the reader throughout the rest of the story, with the end already foretold? There are not many similarities in between the two authors and therefore the methods used by the authors might be different in how they are used to achieve the goal, but in terms of the objective they are quite similar. Once read, both stories seem to have a circular pattern to them. “Waiting for Godot” ends up where it began, while “Chronicles of a Death Foretold” ends with the already expected death. So, how do Samuel Beckett and Gabriel Garcia Marquez change their story, with an apparently circular theme?

In “Chronicles of a Death Foretold”, such un-orthodox starts shatter any illusion that the reader might have of a police thriller is blown away by the opening sentence of the novel “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.”. Instead, as the title suggests, the novel is a re-telling of a death which was already announced. The narrative that the story uses, a first person re-telling with occasional first hand witnesses, withdraws any cliché build up to any event. Instead, the reader is being told what has happened bluntly, with no hesitant fear and paying no great deal of attention to the death itself. The death then becomes a setting to the story instead of the...
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