"Is it not time for my pain-killer?": Endgame and the Paradoxes of a Meaningless Existence

Fernando Aparecido Poiana
2011 ABEI Journal  
This article analyzes the nonsense and violence embedded in the very "logicality" of language in Endgame, and how this aesthetic mechanism creates an entropic universe in the play. It also focuses on Beckett's insistence on the vagueness of temporality, on habit and on human memory as products of constant repetition which transfigure the reified empirical world of History into the aesthetic realm of this play, whose central axis revolves around an absurdly repetitive stasis. This repetitive
more » ... This repetitive stasis triggers the characters' gloominess in face of their impotence to break free from their farcical and cyclical repetition of beginnings and endings. "The end is in the beginning and yet you go on." Samuel Beckett's Endgame (1958) could be defined as a dramatic work that presents a post-nuclear holocaust landscape in which a repetitive cycle of beginnings and endings suggests a post-apocalyptic mood. This mood, in turn, drains away any possibility of heroism and grandeur, with the result that the characters' need to find meaning in a meaningless existence is both the source of and reason for their torture. Given that, I intend to focus on the way Beckett aesthetically exposes the nonsense and violence embedded in the "logicality" of language. I also intend to show how this strategy creates an entropic universe in the play, in which the failure of language to produce clear references and communication that is free from ambiguities and misunderstandings creates an impasse between the obligation to express and the absence of means or of will to do so. I shall reveal how this entropic universe and its insistence on temporality, on reminiscence, on habit and on human memory as products of constant repetition can aesthetically transfigure the reified empirical world of History into the fictional world of Endgame. In this world, the characters' gloominess in face of their impotence to break free from their farcical and cyclical repetition of beginnings and endings transfigures the poverty of communicable experiences of twentieth-century man, as well as the traumas he is subjected to, looking for a way out of a ruinous environment, knowing simultaneously that "(...) there is no cure for [being on earth]" (Beckett 125).
doi:10.37389/abei.v13i0.3627 fatcat:majpjktikrgjxbir32bphrhxvu