Technology and Beckett’s Play, Krapp’s Last Tape Essay

Technology and Beckett’s Play, Krapp’s Last Tape Essay

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Technology and Beckett’s Play, Krapp’s Last Tape

“bois seul
bouffe brûle crêve seul comme devant
les absents sont morts les présents puent
sors tes yeux détourne-les sur les roseaux
se taquinent-ils ou les aïs
pas la peine il y a le vent
et l’état de veille”[1][1]
-Samuel Beckett, Untitled

As an avant-garde writer and a trend starter, Beckett was intensely in touch with his own time and its most significant realities, one of which being technological progress. In his play Krapp’s Last Tape, first performed in 1958, we meet yet another one of his spiritually crippled and disillusioned characters: Krapp, an old recluse. Krapp is alone on the stage, seconded only by a tape player/recorder. As an embodiment of his memory, the machine completes Krapp and provides him with a link to his past, a grounding force which serves to give him a stronger presence. Ultimately, however, Krapp is no better off than analogous characters in Beckett’s work. Whatever crumbs of hope the machine may bring, the core of the human problem is still the human condition, and that itself may not be changed by any form of insight into the past, however clear.

“A late evening in the future.” starts Beckett’s script of Krapp’s Last Tape. One needs not to imagine what this future is like; if this indication is significant at all, its meaning does not exist has a stage direction to be interpreted creatively by the theatrical director. Rather, this indication concerns the whole mood and pace of the play; this is to be the future; that time or state after all that we may have planned or expected has passed. The world which Krapp inhabits is far away from our own; his “den” might as well be on another p...

... middle of paper ...

...t or indirect manner. In fact, one would be in the right to propound the contrary; that the machine, in Beckett’s opinion, is a distraction from the meaningful aspects of existence, a superficial solution to the real problems of life.

Works Cited and Consulted

Astro, Alan. Understanding Samuel Beckett. Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1992.

Beckett, Samuel. Collected Poems in English and French. New-York: Grover Press, 1977.

Beckett, Samuel. Endgame. New-York: Grove Press, 1970.

Beckett, Samuel. Krapp’s Last Tape and Embers. London, Faber and Faber,1968.

Beckett, Samuel. Beckett: The Complete Short Prose,1929-1989 ed. S.E. Gontarski. New-York: Grove Press, 1995.

Durozoi, Gérard. Présence littéraire : Beckett. Paris: Bordas, 1972.


1 Collected Poems in English and French, 45.

2 The Complete Short Prose, xi

3 Durozoi, 101

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