Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5d6d958fb5-c6lpx Total loading time: 0.281 Render date: 2022-11-28T06:42:36.702Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

5 - Happy Days

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2010

Get access

Summary

At first sight, Happy Days appears to have several features which significantly change, if not reverse and parody, the remorseless worlds of the preceding plays. Winnie, who dominates the play, is an average, world-loving woman as against the decaying male intellectuals who keep recurring in the earlier plays (Nell in Endgame is the only previous female character). Winnie's optimistic chatter can also be contrasted with the frequently lifedenying, nihilistic utterances of protagonists in the other plays. Winnie's tone of voice often rises from cheerful to exuberant, from little phrases of consolation to fragments of prayer, hymns of praise, lyric poetry and a song: her performance makes us almost forget that the speaker is buried in a mound of earth. Blazing light illuminates the stage in contrast to the dark interiors of Endgame and Krapp's Last Tape; and the stage may be seen to be open to infinite space while the two earlier plays mentioned have closed prison-cell-like scenery. It takes time for the reader or the audience to realise that the blazing light may be a form of ‘hellish light’ and that the open expanses of space may point only to infinite emptiness. It also takes time to become fully aware of the terrible irony in Winnie's praise for the created world.

That terrible irony – an enchanted voice tied to a dying body – links up with other family resemblances to the preceding plays.

Type
Chapter
Information
Samuel Beckett , pp. 76 - 91
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1989

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×