Svetlana Sheina (Saratov State Socio-Economical University, Russia)
Samuel Beckett’s Poetry and Solitude
Samuel Beckett seems to be the most well-known and common symbol of solitude, the symbol of the era of human uncommunicativeness. Although man desires companionship, Beckett’s works show him moving ever closer to isolation. There are hundreds of papers and books devoted to the study of his drama and novels but a few of them deal with Beckett’s verse. It is the genuinely personal verse that expresses the poet’s griefs and struggle with words and silence in the best way.
Beckett’s characters are not simply lonely, the loneliness becomes the way of their existence. The image of the inner landscape of the mind, a skullscape is developed both in his prose (well-known “Murphy”, “Malone meurt”, “L'Innomable”) and poetry: “my skull sullenly/ clot of anger/ skewered aloft strangled in the cang of the wind” (“Enueg I”), “dragging his hunger through the sky / of my sky shell of sky and earth” (“The Vulture”), “so stir /long past /head fast /in out as dead” (“Dread nay”).
But it becomes apparent that all of Beckett's characters need some ‘other’ against whom their individuality may occur. So it does in his poetry. In the poem “Cascando”, expressing the poet’s desire for love and union, the lover, using informal language, hammers out this dilemma: “if I do not love you I shall not love”; in “Thither” the narcissistic archetype is realized in the symbol of daffodils and “a far cry for one”. Without ‘others’, and especially without need for ‘others’, life and the piece must end. Beckett thus identifies the archetypal desire for society and communication with life itself.
In Beckett’s works it is the language, being the basic means of the dialogue between people, that becomes the means of their dissociation. In many respects the language isolates the individual, making the talk practically useless. The language created by Beckett breaks logic interconnections and associations, the speeches of the characters are turned inside and deep into the mind. According to Beckett the true spiritual development occurs inside human consciousness. His poetry, sometimes frivolous and relying on puns and neologisms, is obscure and this obscurity is in agreement with the task of art which must not be straight but at a tangent. On the other hand, it is the verse where Beckett can expose himself and his preoccupation with the problems of creation.