How is subjectivity constructed through Krapp's "recorded" journal? 

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Subjectivity is constructed in a sort of inverted scaffold in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tapes. What this means is that our character, who is an elder man, looks back in time to find himself again. He tries to find the man whom he hopes to become, in tapes that he records during his younger years. We realize, as the tapes go on, that Krapp has gone from much to nothing. Therefore, the effects of the tapes on the main character are really what give consistency to the subjectivity of the plot.

Krapp is celebrating his 69th birthday. Decades seem to be of importance to Krapp because he has the habit of recording himself speaking about his goals since he was 29 years old. Each time he reaches a birthday ending in the number 9, he would go and record his goals and past achievements.

We find, however, that Krapp has not achieved much since his earliest tapes. He is still stuck in the same rut. Somehow has not transmuted into what he he hopes to become, as evidenced in his earliest tapes. So "stuck" is he, that he still has the same "bowel" problems that he has had for years. This is an ironic way for Beckett to demonstrate the extent to which Krapp *also an ironic name and a pun* is "stuck"(Krapp- crap/ stuck- no bowel movement).

Hence, subjectivity is rampant in the play. It comes from the tapes, from the puns that Beckett utilizes to bring color to the plot, and it also comes from the sadness of Krapp, who runs in and out of stage to help himself to alcohol each time he touches on a sad subject which he has not been able to get over. The play is rich with the subjectivity of the main character.

 

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