Ah Well, Stop And Listen To The Bells

1053 words - 5 pages

It is human nature to look back at one’s ignorant younger self with disbelief. In Samuel Beckett’s one-act play, Krapp’s Last Tape, he does a wonderful job of portraying this human element. Beckett develops an interesting storyline by giving the present views of both a seventy year old and a thirty-nine year old using the clever aid of a tape recorder. Becket creates an incredibly relatable character, Krapp, by emphasizing the variances between the character’s younger and older self.
There are strikingly obvious differences between Krapp’s thirty-nine and seventy year old self. The stage direction reads the present Krapp as a “Wearish old man.” (1403) and describes the younger Krapp to have ...view middle of the document...

Later in the play, the younger Krapp talks about how his happiest days are over and says “But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now.” (1409). The fire being his drive to become a great writer and focus on his work. It’s ironic that he says he wouldn’t want them back, because the older Krapp looks up this specific tape to play over and over again listening to his past life. The older Krapp realizes as he says “stop and listen to the bells. And so on. Be again, be again.” (1408) that he should have lived in the moment a little more and wishes that he could relive it again, focusing less on work.
Krapp takes an interesting perspective on the women while they are in his life compared to when they are not. When talking about a new lamp, the younger Krapp eludes to another aspect of his life saying “with all this darkness round me I feel less alone. In a way. I love to get up and move about in it, then back here to… me. Krapp.” (1404). Light and dark imagery and symbolism is used throughout the play. Darkness is associated with several things such as alcohol when used in the stage direction “into darkness. Ten seconds. Loud pop of cork.” (1403). The darkness represents distractions to the thirty-nine year old Krapp, chiefly women. Krapp uses darkness when talking about several women within the play. He gives one woman the title “The dark nurse,” (1404). While talking about his own mother he says “I was there when the blind went down,” (1406) and relates her to a black bird “The vidua-bird!” (1406). When talking about the time spent with an unnamed woman he states “I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. Let me in.” (1407). Krapp says he feels less alone in the darkness, among the distractions, and that he likes to get up and move about in them but then returns back to himself, his work. Krapp merely...

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