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SILENCE IN JOHN CAGE AND SAMUEL BECKETT: 4' 33" and "Waiting for Godot"

Deborah Weagel and JOHN CAGE
Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui
Vol. 12, PASTICHES, PARODIES & OTHER IMITATIONS / PASTICHES, PARODIES & AUTRES IMITATIONS (2002), pp. 249-262
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25781422
Page Count: 14
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SILENCE IN JOHN CAGE AND SAMUEL BECKETT: 4' 33" and "Waiting for Godot"
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Abstract

In this essay I discuss silence as it was incorporated by John Cage and Samuel Beckett, and specifically address 4' 33" and Waiting for Godot. Both Cage and Beckett were intrigued with silence, and granted it equal status with words and/or notes. However, the aleatory nature of Cage's composition makes it almost impossible to analyze using certain theories but the more structured nature of Beckett's silence lends itself to a more systemized analysis. I apply Heinrich Schenker's theory of hierarchical levels to Beckett's play, and assert that this same theory is not applicable to Cage's piece because of its 'freer' nature.

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