Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In a circle of light surrounded by darkness, Krapp sits at a table in his den. Pale and clownlike in appearance, he has a bulbous purple nose and wears old black trousers, a dirty white shirt with a black vest, and oddly oversized dirty white boots. His gray hair is messy, and he needs a shave. It is his sixty-ninth birthday. Krapp fumbles in his pocket, withdraws an envelope, and takes out a small bunch of keys. He goes to his desk where he unlocks a drawer and removes a recording tape. After peering at the tape he puts it back and unlocks the second drawer, taking out a banana. Krapp strokes the banana, peels it, and puts the end in his mouth, meanwhile staring into space. Finally he eats the banana and drops the peeling. In gestures suggesting a clown’s comic pantomime, he paces back and forth, slips on the peeling, then nudges the banana peel off stage with his toe. He takes out another banana, fondles it suggestively, peels it, tosses the peeling, and puts it in his mouth. Then he thinks of something. Krapp sticks the banana in his pocket and leaves the scene. A few moments later he returns with a ledger.
Scanning the ledger, for the first time Krapp speaks aloud. “Box . . . three . . . spool . . . five.” He studies the ledger in which he records the contents of tapes he makes each year on his birthday and searches through his boxes of tapes. The one he is looking for is from his thirty-ninth birthday. A ledger note refers to his mother’s...
(The entire section is 1064 words.)
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