The Rhetoric of Beckett on Film

This post was written by a student in Susan Schuyler’s Narrative, Rhetoric, and Identity class at Stanford University.  Each student in this class will complete a research-based argument related to the course topic.

As an avid film fan and filmmaker, I am absolutely fascinated by the power of this medium.  While I have spent most of my time behind the scenes – both as a cameraperson and an editor – I still feel a great sense of artistic responsibility.  The technical aspects of a film – framing, lighting, cutting, etc. – are all deliberately chosen to make a statement and contribute to the work as a whole.  A story can be translated on screen to bear a completely different meaning than the one originally intended.  It is this phenomenon that I wish to investigate.  By examining the plays of Samuel Beckett, I intend to analyze how the filmed version of his works either contribute or detract from the original.  I have chosen Beckett because I am intrigued by the ambiguity of his plays and the profound messages they seem to convey.  I would like to focus on the more technical aspects of the films, but understand it is necessary to examine both the written and on-stage works to better decompose the rhetoric.

To fit with our course topic, I may want to focus on how the different mediums affect characterization.  In other words, I wish to determine what rhetorical devices are used in each case, how it could possibly alter the narrative structure, and, consequently, how the characters are portrayed.

It is my hope that in researching and forming my argument, I will better understand the conventions of film and be able to appreciate the works of Beckett that much more.

– Samantha D. Carreon, Stanford 2014

This entry was posted in CCR exchange: Stanford-CCNY, Fall 2010: Humanities, Identity, and Social Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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