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Staging the Past in Yeats and Beckett: Purgatory and Krapp’s Last Tape

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2009, 22(1), pp.189-213
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Rim, Dohyun 1

1서울시립대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article explores the ways in which Yeats and Beckett present consciousness on the stage. In particular it discusses both playwrights’ theatrical devices used to incorporate the heroes’ past events through a comparative analysis of Yeats’s Purgatory (1939) and Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (1958). Both dramatists choose distinctive instruments for the purpose: the former’s tool is a ghostly dumb-show, while the latter’s a voice recorded on a tape recorder. Using these devices, they project the past on to the stage. In addition, they make it possible for the past to confront the present on the stage. This article argues that through the oscillation between past and present, Yeats and Beckett’s heroes experience a kind of purgatory because they relive their pasts. Furthermore, Yeats’s theory of Purgatory as postulated in A Vision is discussed in order to make clear a specific definition of Purgatory. In conclusion this article claims that Yeats’s exploration of the soul is reflected in Beckett’s “searching for the self” because the latter also pursues to explore an inner part in “the deeps of the mind” even though his purpose of searching for the mind could not be the same as his predecessor’s.

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