A string would give

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  • TraductoraPobleSec

    Senior Member
    Catalan & Spanish
    Sorry, dear, but there is hardly no context. It's a play by Beckett and character just utter sentences with no apparent connection...

    Dora used to say, the days I hadn't earned enough, You and your harp! You'd do better crawling on all fours, with your father's medals pinned to your arse and a money box round your neck. You and your harp! Who do you think you are? And she made me sleep on the floor. [Pause.] Who I thought I was [Pause.] Ah that. . . I never could... [Pause. He gets up.] Never could.. . [He starts groping again for his stool, halts, listens.] If I listened long enough I'd hear it, a string would give.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Sorry, dear, but there is hardly no any context. It's a play by Beckett and character just utter sentences with no apparent connection...

    Dora used to say, the days I hadn't earned enough, You and your harp! You'd do better crawling on all fours, with your father's medals pinned to your arse and a money box round your neck. You and your harp! Who do you think you are? And she made me sleep on the floor. [Pause.] Who I thought I was [Pause.] Ah that. . . I never could... [Pause. He gets up.] Never could.. . [He starts groping again for his stool, halts, listens.] If I listened long enough I'd hear it, a string would give.
    I think it means that a string on the harp would break.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it means that a string on the harp would break.
    Yes, or possibly that rather than breaking, the string just lost tension, making a sound? If, say, structural steel 'gives', it can just bend rather than breaking.
    It seems most likely that the string refers back to the harp; but I don't think that Traductor's play is available on-line, so I can't verify whether or not the string seems to refer to another part of the play.
     
    Strings sometimes break when instruments are played. That would be the literal meaning here -- a string might snap while the harp was played, and one would hear it if one listened long enough. There might also be a figurative meaning that something would "snap" emotionally if one "listened long enough" to the things just said.
     

    tinlizzy

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The coil of string around a tuning pin (for harps and pianos) is called a becket. If the string gives it could no longer tune the instrument.

    Maybe he means if he listened long enough to the silence he could "tune her out" of his head - forget her disappointment in him.

    His way of injecting himself into that character in the play or was that character him?

    Ps- another thought because this is a play, it could be a "stage direction" for the orchestra or harpist to begin or for the sound of a broken harp string as the others have guessed.
     
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