Samuel Beckett Time Dilemma Analysis

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Beckett’s Time Dilemma: Yesterday as Melancholy and Flux of Time The interrelations between time/existence and past/present are focal issues that Samuel Beckett stresses. Oxford English Dictionary defines time as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole”. Considering the continuity and wholeness of the unique elements of time as expressed in this dictionary definition, Beckett’s perception of the time as a whole and in a continued progress reveals not only his philosophical inquiries such as ‘who are we?’ and ‘why are we chosen?’ but also his obsession with human and ‘being’. Stressing Jean-Paul Sartre’s often-repeated dictum, ‘‘Existence precedes essence’’ (qtd. in Walkey 2009:105) within his works, Beckett predominantly focuses on the latter: essence. In Endgame, Nagg and Nell are staged as moribund characters stuffed into dustbins and unconscious of time phenomenon. They are characterized as the samples of ‘existence’; two…show more content…
The very starting point of ‘yesterday’ is not clearly indicated. This ‘indefiniteness’ echoes an unspecified sign of past experiences of Beckett’s characters. The characters are portrayed to have an unknown past; there is no clear background information related to their former identity. The only timeframe to question their previous identity is ‘yesterday’. Beckett constantly uses this time image to portray backs and forths between yesterday and now to represent the (un)limited period of time. There seems a flux of time, and as expressed by Anthony Uhlmann “The time-image, […], presents the flow of time (which is not simply monodirectional from past to present but involves flux)” (2006: 12). Yesterday as a time image is noticeably revealed in Waiting for Godot as well. Estragon’s unconsciously-uttered statements have a close connection with their previous social life and

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