What role have women played in Krapp's life?

1 Answer | Add Yours

herappleness's profile pic

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

Posted on

Women play an extremely important role in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tapes.

Krapp, our main character, is an older man who has lived for the past thirty years with a false sense of grandiosity which cripples his common sense.

Earlier in his life, Krapp decides that he is some sort of tortured writer who needs to be isolated from everyone so that he can complete his greatest work. As a result, he totally shuts himself from everyone, especially women. He feels that the emotions that women bring into a man's life only end up slowing the man down. We witness that he may not be entirely mistaken, after all.

Although his former girlfriend, Bianca, seems to be a very good girl (he even admits to that during his taped monologues) he cannot stay with her after the death of his mother. When Krapp's mother dies, his whole world comes crumbling down. He leaves Bianca, and basically gives up on love altogether. From these actions we can safely conclude that Krapp's attachment to his mother is so strong that her death becomes his own.

We can further acknowledge the fact that Krapp's deep attachment to his mother must be a form of psychological flaw. After her death Krapp's life spirals down and he simply cannot function with women in any capacity. He receives visits from Fanny, whom he describes as

a bony old ghost of a whore

but his last meaningful contact with any female happens years earlier when, during a boat trip, he spends time with a girl. This is the one part of the recording that Krapp listens to over and over again. He realizes the huge mistake he has made in isolating himself from everyone: He has achieved nothing, and he has not being able to find someone to share his dreams with.

We can conclude that Krapp's life is anchored by the love of his mother, whose loss affects Krapp immensely. Additionally, Krapp's own sense of grandiosity makes him eliminate any possible companions, since he feels that he needs isolation to write. However, it is his connection to his mother what makes Krapp a man who needs a woman in his life to support and lead him: He has thrown away all of that, however, in favor of a fantasy life that he really does not lead at all.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,933 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question