Samuel Beckett Drama Analysis
The dramatic works of Samuel Beckett reflect the evolution of his interests in various means of artistic expression, as he composed plays for stage, radio, cinema, and television. In his stage plays, he parodies traditional dramatic action and borrows the techniques used in other modes of entertainment. His themes are not constant, but they are grimly developed through a steady mood of ironic laughter if not outright sarcasm. Like the character “O” who runs from the camera’s eye (“E”) in Film, Beckett’s art finds its form in a flight from conventional expectations and traditional observations. What seems meaningless and absurd is shown to be the only meaning possible in a universe where the human experience of consciousness (as subject) seems trapped by a nature and body (as object) without consciousness. Laughter is an intellectual triumph over material absurdity, and self-denial is self-affirmation. Beckett’s plays are made of such paradoxes.
Whether it is in the nameless characters in Play, the lone and aging Krapp awaiting imminent death in Krapp’s Last Tape, the pathetic Winnie sinking in her grave in Happy Days, the dying family in the masochistic Endgame, the monotonous life of waiting of Estragon and Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, or the down-and-outers in other dramatic works, Beckett demonstrates a preference for passive characters who attempt to make sense of an increasingly...
(The entire section is 3171 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Samuel Beckett Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!