Samuel Beckett - PowerPoint by 05l5c19


 Irish novelist and playwright
 One of the great names of the “Theatre of the Absurd”
    along with Eugene Ionesco
   Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin into a prosperous
    Protestant family.
   His father, William Beckett Jr. was a surveyor.
   Beckett’s mother Mary Roe had worked as a nurse before
   He was educated at the Portora Royal School and Trinity
    College, Dublin, where he took a B.A. degree in 1927,
    having specialized in French and Italian.
   Beckett worked as a teacher in Belfast and lecturer in
    English at the Ecole Normal Superieure in Paris.
 In his writings for theatre, Beckett showed influence of
    burlesque, vaudeville, the music hall, commedia dell’arte,
    and the silent-film style of such figures as Keaton and
   His plays are concerned with human suffering and survival
   His characters are struggling with meaninglessness and the
    world of Nothing
   A comic writer, as well as a tragic poet
   Considers the bare essentials of the human condition in his
   He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969
 During this time he became a friend of James Joyce,
    taking dictation and copying down parts of what
    would eventually becomes Finnegans Wake (1939).
   He also translated a fragment of the book into French
    under Joyce’s supervision.
   In 1931 Beckett returned to Dublin and received his
    M.A. in 1931.
   He taught French at Trinity College until 1932, when he
    resigned to devote his time entirely to writing.
   After his father died, Beckett received an annuity that
    enabled him to settle in London, where he underwent
    psychoanalysis (1935-36).
 As a poet, Beckett made his debut in 1930 with
    WHOREOSCOPE, a ninety-eight-line poem accompanied
    by seventeen footnotes. In this dramatic monologue, the
    protagonist, Rene Descartes, waits for his morning omelet
    of well-aged eggs, while mediating on the obscurity of
    theological mysteries, the passage of time, and the
    approach of death.
   It was followed with a collection of essays, PROUST (1931),
    and novel MORE PRICKS THAN KNICKS (1934).
   From 1933 to 1936 he lived in London.
   In 1938 he was hospitalized from a stab wound he had
    received from a pimp to whom he refused to give money.
   Around this time he met Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, a
    piano student, whom he married in 1961
 When Beckett won the Nobel Prize, Suzanne
  commented: “This is a catastrophe.” Beckett refused to
  attend the Nobel ceremony.
 Beckett’s career as a novelist really began in 1938 with
  MURPHY, which depicted the protagonist’s inner
  struggle between his desires for his prostitute-mistress
  and for total escape into the darkness of mind.
 The conflict is resolved when he is atomized by a gas
 When World War II broke out, Beckett was in Ireland,
  but he hastened to Paris and joined a Resistance
 He was sought out by the Nazis but fled with
  Dechevaux-Dumesnil to Southern France, where they
  remained in hiding in the village of Roussillon two and
  a half years.
 Beckett worked as a country labourer and wrote WATT,
  his second novel, which was published in 1953 and was
  the last of his novels written originally in English.
 After the war, Beckett worked with the Irish Red Cross
  in St. Lo in Normandy.
 He wrote a number of other works in French, which he
  explained he felt made it easier to write “without
  style”- he did not try to write elegantly.
 Beckett’s writing attempted to escape from everything
  that he was familiar with.
 His books reflected Beckett’s bitter realization that
  there is no escape from illusions and from the
  Cartesian compulsion to think, to try to solve insoluble
 Beckett was obsessed by the desire to create what he
  called “a literature of the unword.”
 He waged a lifelong war on words, trying to yield the
  silence that underlines them.
 Waiting for Godot (En Attendant Godot) was written
  in 1949 and published in English in 1954.
 It brought Beckett international fame and established
  him as one of the leading names of the theater of the
 Beckett more or less admitted in a New York Post
  interview by Jerry Tallmer that the dialogue was based
  on converstaions between Suzanne Deschevaux-
  Dumesnil and himself in Roussillon.
 The tragi-comedy in two acts, opened at the Theatre
  de Babylone on January 5 1953, and made history.
 Two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, who call each
    other Gogo and Didi, meet near a bare tree on a
    country road.
   They wait for the promised arrival of Godot, whose
    name could refer to “God” or also the French name for
    Charlie Chaplin, “Charlot”.
   To fill the boredom they try to recall their past, tell
    jokes, eat and speculate about Godot.
   Pozzo, a bourgeois tyrant, and Lucky, his servant,
    appear briefly.
   Pozzo says about Lucky: “He can’t think without his
 Godot sends world that he will not come that day but
    will surely come the next.
   In Act II Vladimir and Estragon still wait, and Godot
    sends a promising message.
   The two men try to hang themsleves and then declare
    their intention of leaving, but they have no energy to
   In Beckett’s philosophical show, there is no meaning
    without being.
   The very existence of Vladimir and Estragon is in
   Without Godot, their world do not have purpose, but
    suicide is not the solution to their existential dilemma.
VLADIMIR: We have to come back tomorrow.
ESTRAGON: What for?
VLADIMIR: To wait for Godot.
ESTRAGON: Ah! (Silence.) He didn’t come?
 Beckett demonstrates that when put in extreme
  situations, these characters tell us the most about us
  (the audience) and our own lives.
 Estragon and Vladimir are always on the edge of
  wandering away to another and equally disappointing
  adventure throughout the play.
 Following Godot, Beckett wrote many other works up
  until right before his death.
 To this day he is revered as being an integral part of
  the Western literary canon.

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