“No better, no worse, no change No pain. ” Happy Days’ heroine declares as she’s fixed in a state of endlessness in the middle of nowhere, with a marriage that seems to be working in vain. Beckett provides the audience with a curious plot, along with interesting characters and a peculiar backdrop – and an unexpected, pendent ending. The play opens with Winnie shown buried in a mound of earth which, by itself, continually cases her body upward and does not sink her in as is the usual case.
How this came to be remains to baffle me as the play proceeds to only revolve around the present state of the lead female (Winnie) and her relationship with her aloof husband, Willie whilst in their separate places – Winnie is hopelessly caught in land above ground whereas Willie freely lives in a deep hole a couple of feet from where she stands. However, as was pointed out, their present state is but an extension of their marriage – it wasn’t always like that.
Winnie, as critiques have said, is that ‘hopeful futilitarian’ due to her bleak optimism – an interesting paradox but quite true in her case since she rests in the same spot everyday, stuck with the same routine with a timeline that is neither distinct or indeed existing, and yet she insists to see only the few good things there is. “This will have been a happy day!
” she exclaims, an expression where the past and future collides thus holding no definitive meaning in a temporal universe – such shows that Winnie lives only in the present; ‘…a happy day’, she deems, would be the occasional remarks Willie makes when her annoyance has become too much for him. However, despite her attempts to see the bright side of things, she still acknowledges her fate, which is death: “…wait for the happy day to come when flesh melts at so many degrees and the night of the moon has so many hundred hours.
” Winnie’s loneliness and need for Willie’s attention is already apparent through her volubility and her fabricated personas: Shower/Cooker and his fiancee, made out of the need for the feeling of being cared about. Meanwhile, Willie, is a character that is of her total opposite – he tends to dwell in the past as is represented by his recurring read of the same old edition newspaper; he lives in silence, speaking only when his wife pesters him so; insensitive; and dirty-minded (having laughed at the word ‘fornication’ for being sounding like ‘fornication’, and keeping a sexually-appalling postcard among his possessions).
Though a major character, he’s barely shown on-stage. Happy Days’ is a dialogue, but with Winnie’s incessant talking and Willie’s indifference towards her, it might as well be a monologue. Regardless, both characters are similar in that they recognize the inevitable: death. Winnie has this black shopping bag where she keeps her everyday necessities: her almost bristle-bare toothbrush, a comb, a magnifying glass, and a revolver.
This daily routine somewhat turned into some sort-of death ritual for her, considering that there is nothing else to come but the expected; the revolver, most especially, is a significant symbol considering that it gives her the option to simply kill herself at anytime. The approach of death is also evident as Winnie is being buried alive and Willie, in due course, weakens in crawling out of his hole.
The play ends as Willie, dressed formally, comes up to Winnie and whispers ‘Win’; they, then, look at each other through a long pause as the curtains dramatically closes before them. Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” will keep the audience entranced and thinking all throughout. Its relentless comic efforts and real-life metaphors maintain a dramatic yet light-hearted setting that somehow highlights it as a one-of-a-kind literary piece. I personally enjoyed it – it wasn’t an absolute drama but rather one with a ridiculous blend.
The whole time it kept me wondering how they ended up in such position and what really went on inside Willie’s head. Winnie, on the other hand, is a character I found amusing, albeit charming – her expressions where especially noteworthy. Happy Days left me no disappointments or regrets, it appealed to my humorous nature and creative interests since it gave me an option to construct my own alternate sequel on account of the pending ending, as well as the mysterious story before all these.
Courtney from Study Moose
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