[Solved] oh the sorrow

During the 20th century, there was an evident disillusion and disintegration in religious views and human nature due to the horrific and appalling events andimprovements in technology of this time, such as the Holocaust and the creation ofthe atom bomb. This has left people with little, if any, faith in powers above or intheir own kind, leaving them to linger in feelings of despair and that life is anabsurd joke. From these times grew the Theater of Absurd.Here they attemptedto depict the very illogical and ridiculous life they were living. In comparison totraditional characteristics of earlier plays, the plots are seemingly deficient, if notsparse with little resolution. Yet despite this, these plays make very bold andphilosophical statements about life in the 20th century. The playwrightsindiscreetly utilize metaphoric and symbolic details to support their message. In”Krapp’s Last Tape,” Samuel Beckett exploits such techniques in expressing hisown bleak and pessimistic view of the world.

In his middle years of his life, Krapp retained this rigid and anal retentivenature. He kept these tapes in which he would constantly reevaluate his own lifeand try to always improve it, using these tapes as “help before embarking on a newretrospect” (1629). He had also stored these various tapes organized in boxes withtheir location written in a ledger. Yet in his latter years, there is an apparent decayof this regimental attitude. His very appearance is an indication of this decline. He is described as wearing “Rusty black narrow trousers to short for him. Rustyblack sleeveless waistcoat. Surprising pair of dirty white boots. Disordered grayhair. Unshaven. Very near-sighted (but unspectacled),” which is not thedescription of an anal retentive person (1627). Also despite the ledger and theboxes, he still cannot find the tapes which evidently have obviously becomedisorganized over time. And in his ledger, he has made various notes about thesubject matter of tapes, but he fails to understand them. In addition, whilereviewing his last tape, his younger self begins to speak of his profound revelationthat has changed his life, but impatiently the elder Krapp forwards past it. Hisgoal of self-improvement has unmistakably been abandoned and replaced by anuncaring and callous temperament. These remnants of his once fastidious nature,further support the deterioration of his former self.

Beckett also bestows the use of color to further uphold his view on life. Hemanipulates imagery of the color black to further intensify the mood of pessimismand death. By the house on the canal, Krapp recollects of a “dark young beautywith a black hooded perambulatory” (1630). Beckett describes this baby carriageas being a “most funeral thing,” resembling the lack of hope that baby has as if itwould better off dead (1630). This usage of color can also be seen when hismother had passed away. At the very moment his mother was “all over and donewith,” Krapp is sitting holding unto “a small, old, black rubber ball” that he hadbeen playing with a dog with (1630-1). For a moment, he considers keeping thisas a cherishable memento of his mother’s death which he would “feel until hisdying day. But I gave it to the dog” (1631). He simply imparts these reminiscentand sentimental thoughts of his mother to a dog, reflective of the relationship andhis feelings towards his mother.

Further use of color as symbolic imagery is seen with the various womenKrapp encounters in his life. As he attempts to find happiness in his variousrelationships, he merely just falls further from this goal, which is represented inthe decline of color. During his youngest years, he is involved in a relationshipwith Bianca, “a girl in a shabby green coat” which ends up failing (1630). He nextencounters a nurse “all white and starch,” representing her purity and perfection(1630). Though despite her beauty, she is unattainable for Krapp for she threatensto a call a policeman. He is next in a relationship with Effe, who is not physicallydescribed besides the scratch on her thigh. For Krapp, because of this flaw, she isimperfect, therefore he cannot find any happiness with her. Then finally, heresorts to Fanny, “a bony old ghost of a whore” (1633). Their relationship is noteven described, but is merely implied as purely sexual on Krapp’s part. As thecolors disappear to nothingness so does his chances of acquiring any possiblehappiness.

Though Samuel Beckett does not yield any kind of complex profound plot,he provide an intriguing and outstanding job of exploiting the details of imageryand dialogue to express his despairing and cynical interpretation of the world. Because of his emphasis upon the “trifles” of the play, he is able to reemphasizeand convincingly convey Krapp’s disenchantment with his own life. Works Cited:Beckett, Samuel. “Krapp’s Last Tape,” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyers. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press,1993. 1627-1633. ————————————————————–

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