Krapp's last tape essay

This reliving of the details surrounding the affair only takes up the first half of the text however; Beckett called this part the ‘Narration.’ [35] As Paul Lawley says in "Beckett’s dramatic counterpoint: a reading of Play ", “[T]he second half of the text (preceded by a five second long blackout) – called ‘Meditation’ by Beckett himself – sheds a subtle new light on the first. In the Meditation each of the heads casts about for the sense of its situation, considers the nature of the light, probes for certainties amid the darkness and then makes an attempt to imagine what has happened to the other two corners of this particular Eternal Triangle … We can now see that the heads are not chained exclusively to their ‘past’, their narration(s): they are victims of the light, certainly, but not only victims, for they can recognize themselves as such and can speak of the light when forced to speak by the light. The light obliges them to speak but it does not necessarily determine what they speak – yet we only realize this in the Meditation section of the text.” [36]

Beckett’s work lends itself well to an absurdist interpretation. In Waiting for Godot , the characters are cartoonish and exaggerated, and their predicament is contrived to make a philosophical point. The Zoo Story , on the other hand, is much more realistic in its approach — although it should be noted that realism and absurdism are not mutually exclusive. Realism is a style, and absurdism is a philosophical orientation. Peter and Jerry have quotidian nuanced personalities and quotidian back stories, and the play’s plot, which revolves around an awkward conversation between strangers, is drawn from a common situation of urban life. It could be said, then, that Albee’s work is innovative because it imports an absurdist outlook to the realist dramatic tradition. That it does this with such seeming ease and naturalness is a testament to its greatness.

The Zoo Story is a stunning tour de force by a new playwright. It is theatrically simple yet thematically complex. The long one-act play has only two characters, strangers to each other, who meet in Central Park on a summer Sunday afternoon. When the curtain rises, Peter is sitting on a park bench reading a book. Albee describes him as “a man in his early forties, neither fat nor gaunt, neither handsome nor homely.” The other character, Jerry, walks in and sees Peter. Albee’s brief description is as follows: “a man in his late thirties, not poorly dressed, but carelessly.” He exhibits “a great weariness.”

Krapp's last tape essay

krapp's last tape essay

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