What are some similarities and differences between Molloy and Moran in Beckett's Molloy? What relationship do they have to one another?

1 Answer | Add Yours

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is exactly the kind of question that cannot be answered, and should not be asked, of Beckettian “characters.”  Beckett spent his professional life “effing the ineffable,” that is, giving voice to that part of Man’s existence that does not answer to social categorization or psychological analysis.  All the “M” characters in the Beckett trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable) are embodiments of Beckett’s own intellectual inability to find sense in human endeavor of any kind, and cannot be subjected to literary/social analysis.  From Molloy’s first actions (the narrative character sits at a table filling a blank page with words, only to have some unknown person take it away and replace it with another blank page), Beckett is both parodying and damning the very act of his own writing.  The Trilogy rings the changes on this senseless but inevitable action, a model of all human activity in a world with no design or purpose.  However dismal this view seems, it is the pure and entirely logical conclusion of existentialism—existence precedes essence.  It is the bravery and starkness of Beckett’s perceptions, and the ingenious attempt at giving words to describe this conclusion, that earned Beckett the Nobel Prize for Literature.  From his earliest essays on Proust, he realized that he had neither the vocabulary nor the subject to express anything, merely the “need to express.”  I apologize if this answer dodges your question, but you are off the track, just as if you tried to find shapes in a Pollock painting.  James Knowlson’s biography goes far in explaining the man and his postmodern dilemma -- a writer with nothing to say, because all in inexpressible, ineffable.

We’ve answered 318,914 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question