Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 238
Waiting for Godot, Beckett’s 1952 play, is his most famous and widely-studied work. Its minimalist plot concerns two tramps who wait in an unnamed place for an appointment with Godot a mysterious figure who never appears but who always promises to arrive the following day.
Like Krapp’s Last Tape, Beckett’s 1957 play Endgame explores the effects of isolation and the human tendency to impose order on a completely chaotic world.
Beckett’s trilogy of novels, Molly, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable (1959) are considered his greatest achievement in prose. The novels explore many of the themes found in Krapp’s Last Tape, such as loneliness, isolation, and the creation of identity.
James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) follows the exploits and artistic awakening of Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s autobiographical counterpart. Like Krapp, Stephen is often convinced that he is destined to rise above what he sees as the ignorance of his contemporaries.
Vladimir Nabokov’s 1965 novel Despair follows the sinister exploits of Hermann a Krapplike character who views himself as superior to others and who (again like Krapp) is used by his creator to comment on the issue of artistic creation.
Perhaps the most famous American play of the twentieth century is Arthur Miller’s 1949 drama Death of a Salesman, which treats the theme of memory and reminiscence in a way very similar to that found in Krapp’s Last Tape.