Bridging Music and Language in Samuel Beckett’s Ghost Trio and Nacht und Träume

Lucy Jeffrey


Beckett’s use of music in his late teleplays Ghost Trio and Nacht und Träume forms part of his aesthetics of failure. This paper explores Beckett’s compositional style and asks how and why his use of music complicates the overall shape of the work. Beckett at once fragments and loops extracts of Beethoven and Schubert to dictate the thoughts and movements of Figure and Dreamer, the protagonists in these plays. Music’s temporal form and spatial realisations are considered in relation to Dreamer and Figure’s memories and sense of imprisonment. Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida are employed to unpack this entropic and purposely unsettling form.


Samuel Beckett; Music and Literature; Beethoven; Schubert; Deconstructivism; Suffering; Aporia; Repetition; Nothingness; Endlessness; Ineffability; Modernism

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