본문 바로가기
  • Home

A Hasidic Panentheistic Perspective on Manichaeism in Krapp’s Last Tape

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2020, 33(1), pp.119-152
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 6, 2020
  • Accepted : April 14, 2020
  • Published : April 30, 2020

Lee, Jooyeup 1

1Univ.of Reading

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper offers an alternative reading of Krapp’s Last Tape, specifically dealing with its underlying Manichaeism, which is its structural device as well as its thematic background. The play stages Krapp’s impractical Manichean scheme through his ambition as a writer, and parodically criticizes both the inherent contradictions in, and the metaphysical obssessiveness of, the strict body-mind dualism of Manichaeism. As Beckett himself commented, Manichaeism practically contradicts itself because the mind can only pronounce the incompatibility between spirit and matter by intellectually intuiting the possibility of their reconciliation. Hasidism recognizes this duality of existence brought about by some primal transgression, but perceives the ultimate and singular divine reality lurking behind all the false appearance of duality. Whereas Manichaeism espouses ascetic and passive life which ultimately ‘leads to’ the immaterial world of spirit insulated from the cursed, material world of matter, Hasidism promotes a full life which redeems ‘holy sparks’ inherent in all beings on all levels, thus debunking the false appearance of duality of existence and ultimately preparing for ‘the arrival’ of the Messiah. Krapp considers himself punished by the Manichaean aeons for his intellectual transgression, because he fails to perceive this divine panentheistic presence. The explicitly autobiographical character of the play makes one wonder whether Beckett’s own post-‘frenzy of writing’ writer’s block is embodied in the figure of Krapp and his useless Manichaeism in the play.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.