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The self obscure : the influence of Dante on Beckett Cavell, Anthony Richard 1974

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THE SELF OBSCURE. THE INFLUENCE OF DANTE ON BECKETT  RICHARD ANTHONY CAVELL B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1971  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n t h e Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1974  In  presenting  an  advanced  the  Library  I further for  degree shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  this  thesis  in  at  University  the  make  that  it  purposes  for  freely  permission may  representatives. thesis  partial  be  It  financial  for  of  Columbia,  British  gain  Depa r t m e n t Columbia  for  extensive by  the  understood  permission.  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  of  available  granted  is  fulfilment  shall  Head  be  requirements  reference copying  that  not  the  of  agree  and  of my  I  this  or  allowed  without  that  study. thesis  Department  copying  for  or  publication my  i  ABSTRACT B e c k e t t has c o n t i n u a l l y a l l u d e d t o Dante his career.  throughout  T h i s t h e s i s t r a c e s the e x t e n t o f the i n f l u e n c e  of Dante on B e c k e t t , and i n t e r p r e t s B e c k e t t i n the l i g h t  of  that influence. Dante f i g u r e s i n B e c k e t t ^ two major c r i t i c a l works, "Dante...  Bruno.  Vico..  J o y c e " and P r o u s t .  on Joyce B e c k e t t g i v e s h i s own post-mortal states.  essay  d e f i n i t i o n s o f the t h r e e  I n the essay on P r o u s t , B e c k e t t d e f i n e s  the a r t i s t i c p r o c e s s as a descent toward the The  I n the  essence.  e a r l y f i c t i o n and p o e t r y i s d i s t i n c t from the  later  works i n t h a t the a l l u s i o n s t o Dante a r e more f r e q u e n t more o b v i o u s . Belacqua Shuah. purgatory  and  The a n t i - h e r o o f More P r i c k s t h a n K i c k s i s Belacqua*s  eponym appears i n t h e  Ante-  ( P u r g . 4) where he i s p i c t u r e d r e l i v i n g h i s l i f e  b e f o r e a s c e n d i n g t o the scourges  o f the Mountain.  Belacqua's  f o e t a l s t a t e , c a l l e d the "Belacqua b l i s s " i n Murphy, i s the s t a t e t o w h i c h a l l o f B e c k e t t ' s c h a r a c t e r s a s p i r e , from Shuah t o the l o n e s e a r c h e r i n The L o s t Ones. B e c k e t t uses the Commedia as an i r o n i c frame o f r e f e r ence i n Watt, as he does i n Three Novels» M o l l o y i s i n f e r n a l , Malone D i e s p u r g a t o r i a l and The  Unnamable p a r a d i s a l .  The  Commedia i s a l s o used i n v e r s e l y , t o i n d i c a t e t h e r e g r e s s i n t o h e l l , f o r each o f the f o u r n a r r a t i v e s i n Three Novels  repre-  s e n t s the same s t o r y t o l d a t f o u r d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s o f a b s t r a c tion.  These l e v e l s c o r r e s p o n d t o the f o u r a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l s  ii on  which  Dante  B e c k e t t ' s  s a i d  work,  h i s  poem  however,  t h e r e  a b s t r a c t i o n ,  and  each  f u r t h e r  the  e s s e n t i a l  from  In the  the  t r i l o g y  c o u l d  word  i s  h i s  B e c k e t t ' s the  I n f e r n o ,  d e s c r i b e s  those  i n  the  V e s t i b u l e  of  d e a t h .  as  are  The i s  Dante  no  of  them  damnation  i n  and  who  a l l  w a i t  B e c k e t t ' s  e x p r e s s .  i s  to  shows  w i t h o u t  t h r e s h o l d  of  to  be  cosmos  i s  them  s e c t i o n  Dante  t h e r e f o r e  the  t o  Dante t h a t  h e l l .  of  removes  w i s h  to  e s p e c i a l l y  on  c h a r a c t e r s ,  debt  of  l e v e l  speak  they  In  w h i c h these  hope  judgement, judged. t h a t  there  damnation. Godot  a l l u s i o n s which  no  l i v e s . works,  and to  Endgame  Dante  l o n g e r How  as  It  the  Is  i s  o b v i o u s l y  metaphor  i s  I n f e r n o  f o r  the  one  g o r i s t  of  such  of  only  of of  a r t ,  i s  the  The  the  of  t r a m p s '  of  B e c k e t t ' s  and  f o u r t h  L o s t  c y l i n d e r  v a l u e  o r d e r  Ones  i s  a  w h i c h  I r o n i c a l l y ,  i s  the  the l o s t  i t . t h a t  a t t i t u d e , In  t h i r d  h e l l .  t r a n s c e n d e n c e .  c o n c l u d e s i n  i s  a n c i e n t  governs  the  the  work  d e s p a i r .  ( f o r  mud  The  Dantesque  r u b b e r  beyond  s h i f t  o b v i o u s l y  the  an  s t i l l  The  go  a  w h i c h  most to  suggest  Dantesque.  ones  i n d i c a t e  former  Dantesque.  l i f e  h o l d s  t h e s i s  o v e r t l y  i n d i c a t e *  i t  T h i s  n o t  y e t  the  p o s s i b i l i t y cannot  the  a l l u s i o n s  of  a l s o  i n  are  o b t a i n s ,  c i r c l e s  to  l i v e d ,  p l a c e s  B e c k e t t ' s  essence  never  u l t i m a t e  major  of  having  no  n o t h i n g n e s s  canto  as  i n t e r p r e t e d .  n a r r a t o r s  t h i r d  s i n n e r s  be  a  w o r l d  the  from  a l l u s i o n s one  w i t h o u t  t r a d i t i o n  i n  which the  w h i c h  t o  Belacqua  a d m i t t e d  L o g o s , B e c k e t t  the  hope a l l e -  w r i t e s )  iii  can a c h i e v e o n l y c o n f u s i o n .  H i s o n l y hope i s t h a t by w r i -  t i n g c o n t i n u a l l y he can a b s t r a c t h i s b e i n g t o i t s e s s e n t i a l nothingness.  Because B e c k e t t ' s a r t responds t o t h e t r a d i -  t i o n e p i t o m i z e d by t h e Commedia, and because he has continually  invoked Dante as h i s s t a n d a r d ,  t h e s t u d y o f Beck-  e t t i n terms o f Dante p r o v i d e s t h e c l e a r e s t view o f h i s a r t .  iv  CONTENTS BECKETT ON DANTE I.  C r i t i c i s m j "Dante... Bruno. V i c o . . Joyce," P r o u s t , and t h e "Review o f P a p i n i ' s Dante." ..... 1  EARLY FICTION AND POETRY II. III. IV. V.  More P r i c k s Than K i c k s  15  Poems i n E n g l i s h  38  Murphy  49  Watt  54  THREE NOVELS: FOUR LEVELS VI.  Moran  66  VII.  Molloy  81  Malone  93  VIII. IX.  Unnamable  108  W a i t i n g f o r Godot  122  Endgame  126  DRAMA X. XII  V  LATER FICTION XII. XIII.  How I t I s The L o s t Ones  129  135  DANTE ON BECKETT XIV.  Conclusion Bibliography  139 144  or f u s i f a t t a l a sembianza v o s t r a ? Dante, P a r a d i s o 3 1  s c r a p s o f an a n c i e n t v o i c e i n me n o t mine B e c k e t t , How I t I s  PREFACE The  comparison o f Dante and B e c k e t t  g r e a t e s t a u t h o r i t y from B e c k e t t  derives i t s  h i m s e l f , who  a l l u d e d t o Dante t h r o u g h o u t h i s c a r e e r .  has  constantly  C o u l d we not  a d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e , the comparison would s t i l l be even n e c e s s a r y — f o r  the w r i t e r s a r e m u t u a l l y  Recognizing identifications"  valid—  informing;  w h i l e each works w i t h i n a d i f f e r e n t cosmos, b o t h s i m i l a r a r t i s t i c and m e t a p h y s i c a l  trace  consider  questions.  t h a t "the danger i s i n t h e n e a t n e s s o f 1  I do not propose t h a t B e c k e t t  can  be  viewed o n l y w i t h i n a Dantesque framework, but I do maint a i n that Beckett  c o n s i s t e n t l y uses the Commedia as  f r a m e w o r k — m o s t o f t e n i r o n i c — f o r h i s own  works.  a  Ultimate-  l y , however, one can o n l y w r i t e o f Dante and B e c k e t t  "per  a p p r o v a r l a , non p e r t e r m i n a r l a . " T r a n s l a t i o n s a r e my I n my  own,  unless stated  otherwise.  t r a n s l a t i o n s o f passages from t h e Commedia, I have  a t t e m p t e d t o convey the l i t e r a l sense u s i n g modern d i c t i o n . I n some quoted m a t e r i a l , I have changed an upper case t o a l o w e r , o r v i c e - v e r s a , w i t h o u t so i n d i c a t i n g . to Beckett's  works a r e t o t h e Grove paperback e d i t i o n s ,  where a v a i l a b l e . the s t a n d a r d 1  References  R e f e r e n c e s t o l a D i v i n a Commedia a r e  to  t h r e e volume e d i t i o n e d i t e d by N a t a l i n o Sapegno  B e c k e t t , " D a n t e . . . B r u n o . . Y i c o . . J o y c e , " i n Our E x a g m i n a t i o n Round H i s F a c t i f i c a t i o n f o r I n c a m i n a t i on of Work i n P r o g r e s s (Londont Faber and F a b e r , 1 9 2 9 ) » p» 3«  CHAPTER I CRITICISM. "DANTE... BRUNO. VICO.. JOYCE," PROUST, AND THE "REVIEW OF PAPINI'S DANTE." Whether t h e a r t i s t , l i k e Dante, w r i t e s o f t h e abs o l u t e l y meaningful, or l i k e Beckett, of the a b s o l u t e l y meaningless,  he must s t i l l attempt  cannot be e x p r e s s e d .  t o express t h a t which  B e c k e t t has d e f i n e d h i s own t a s k  accordingly* there i s nothing t o express, nothing w i t h which t o e x p r e s s , n o t h i n g from which t o e x p r e s s , no power t o e x p r e s s , no d e s i r e t o e x p r e s s , t o g e t h e r with the o b l i g a t i o n t o express. 2  F o r b o t h Dante and B e c k e t t , R e a l i t y — w h a t e v e r they  indi-  v i d u a l l y c o n c e i v e i t t o b e — c a n n o t be expressed by words a l o n e , f o r words l i m i t what i s l i m i t l e s s . The g r e a t e s t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e two w r i t e r s under c o n s i d e r a t i o n i s n o t i n t h e i r a r t i s t i c g o a l s , n o r even i n t h e i r s u b j e c t m a t t e r ; t h e d i f f e r e n c e l i e s i n t h e cosmos i n w h i c h each w r i t e s .  F o r Dante, t h e cosmos was  the c r e a t i o n and e x p r e s s i o n o f God, and man was i n t r i n s i c a l l y a part of that creation.  S i n c e i t was God*s p l a n  t h a t each man who chooses t o s h o u l d know Him t h r o u g h H i s works, He made t h e w o r l d i n t e l l i g i b l e t o " i l ben d e l l * intelletto"  ( I n f . 3 . 1 8 ) ["the good o f t h e i n t e l l e c t " ] .  2 B e c k e t t , Three D i a l o g u e s  1 9 6 5 ) , P. 1 0 3 .  (London. John C a l d e r ,  2  F o r i n knowing God,  man  would know h i m s e l f , f o r h i s r e -  t u r n t o the Godhead would be a c o m p l e t i o n o f the  self.  Dante m a i n t a i n s t h a t i n God  i s found the p e r f e c t i o n o f  personality.  "l'amor che move i l s o l e e  S i n c e God  was  l ' a l t r e s t e l l e " ( P a r a . 33.145) ["the  l o v e t h a t moves t h e  sun and the o t h e r s t a r s " ] , a l l t h i n g s i n the u n i v e r s e moving toward Him moved toward l o v e and goodness. cause God Man  was  had c r e a t e d l i f e ,  i t was  the  o r d e r e d and  in  Be-  just.  g i v e n t h e " l i b e r o a r b i t r i o " (Purga . 16.71) [ " f r e e  w i l l " ] t o choose e i t h e r t o obey o r t o d i s o b e y God's l a w s . Dante's v i s i t o l t r e t o m b a examined the r e s u l t s of t h a t choice. Beckett's  cosmos i s t h e a n t i t h e s i s o f Dante's.  c o r e of t h a t a n t i t h e s i s i s the doubt s u r r o u n d i n g e x i s t e n c e of God, To say t h a t God  and t h e word "doubt" must be  i s dead i n B e c k e t t ' s  The  the emphasized.  cosmos i s s i m p l i s t i c .  T h i s would be a s t a t e of c o m p a r a t i v e s e c u r i t y , a s t a t e t h a t c o u l d be u n d e r s t o o d , a s t a t e t h a t had a f i r s t In Beckett's  cosmos, God  f o r c e r t a i n , and  i s not dead f o r c e r t a i n , n o r  His c r e a t i o n s — i f i n d e e d t h e y a r e  mirror that incertitude. o b l i g a t i o n to express,  principle.  The  one  to s t a t e .  c e r t a i n t y i s the S i n c e h i s own  alive  His— artist's  existence  i s u n c e r t a i n , by v i r t u e o f the u n c e r t a i n t y of God's e x i s t ence, he must express t h a t which he does n o t , c a n n o t , know. Whereas Dante overcame the a r t i s t i c dilemma t h r o u g h f a i t h , Beckett  has n o t h i n g  i n which to place h i s f a i t h .  The  3 a r t i s t has n o t h i n g t o work w i t h , and he i s o b l i g e d t o express t h a t n o t h i n g . portrait  Beckett's p o r t r a i t  of nothing, a p o r t r a i t  o f man i s a  of the s e l f obscure. Y e t ,  because he has o n l y words on h i s p a l e t t e , he i s f o r c e d t o p a i n t s o m e t h i n g , so t h a t even t h e " n o t h i n g t h a n w h i c h . • . 3 nought i s more r e a l " i s i t s e l f a semblance. Beckett's c r i t i c i s m , a l l w r i t t e n early i n h i s career, o c c u p i e s i t s e l f w i t h t h e a r t i s t ' s p r o b l e m s t what t o e x p r e s s a n d how t o e x p r e s s i t . That B e c k e t t b e l i e v e d Dante's a r t i s t i c e n t e r p r i s e b o r e d i r e c t l y upon h i s own s t u d y o f t h e problems i s a t t e s t e d t o by Dante's p r e s e n c e i n t h e e s s a y s on J o y c e and on P r o u s t . 4 Vico..  Joyce"  I n "Dante... Bruno.  B e c k e t t draws a p a r a l l e l between Dante and  Joyce t h e s t r e n g t h o f w h i c h d e r i v e s m o s t l y from B e c k e t t ' s e n t h u s i a s m f o r h i s mentor. the  essay n o t s o l e l y  I n f a c t , Dante i s i n c l u d e d i n  on t h e b a s i s o f h i s r e l e v a n c e t o  Joyce. What t h e essay does show i s t h a t Dante i n f o r m s Bruno and V i c o a s much, i f n o t more, t h a n J o y c e .  G i o r d a n o Bruno  was d i r e c t l y i n f l u e n c e d by Dante's p h i l o s o p h i c a l l o v e p o e t r y , h i s m y s t i c i s m , and by t h e De M o n a r c h i a ; he was 3 B e c k e t t , Murphy, 2nd e d . (1938; r p t . New Y o r k . Grove P r e s s , I n c . , 1957)> P« 246. h  B e c k e t t , "Dante... Bruno. V i c o . . J o y c e , " i n Our E x a g m i n a t i o n Round H i s F a c t i f i c a t i o n f o r I n c a m i n a t i o n o f Work i n P r o g r e s s (London t F a b e r and F a b e r , 1929)• Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t .  4  i n d i r e c t l y i n f l u e n c e d by Dante t h r o u g h M a r s i l i o F i c i n o ' s w r i t i n g s . G i a m b a t t i s t a V i c o i s more p e r t i n e n t t o  our  s t u d y i n t h a t he urged the s t u d y o f language as a means of h i s t o r i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n .  H i s i n t e r e s t i n language i s  e x p r e s s e d i n an essay he wrote on Dantej he s t a t e d t h a t i t was together  there  a m i s c o n c e p t i o n t o b e l i e v e t h a t Dante g a t h e r e d  the speech o f a l l the v a r i o u s  Italian dialects  t o c r e a t e the language o f t h e Commedia. Beckett  discusses  t h i s point s p e c i f i c a l l y .  From the  De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a he quotes the passage i n w h i c h Dante, s p e a k i n g o f the Tuscan d i a l e c t , s t a t e s t i f we e x a m i n e t h e Tuscan d i a l e c t s , r e f l e c t i n g how the w r i t e r s commended a b o v e [ G u i d o , L a p o , C i n o Q h a v e d e v i a t e d f r o m t h e i r own d i a l e c t , i t does not r e m a i n d o u b t f u l t h a t the v e r n a c u l a r we a r e in s e a r c h of i s d i f f e r e n t from t h a t which the people of Tuscany a t t a i n to. 6  Beckett  proceeds t o s t a t e t h a t Dante's c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t  "he who  would w r i t e i n the v u l g a r must assemble the  elements from each d i a l e c t and l a n g u a g e " (18).  Which, B e c k e t t  what he [ D a n t e ] d i d . . . .  purest  construct a synthetic states, " i s precisely  He wrote a v u l g a r t h a t  could  See F r a n c e s A. Y a t e s , G i o r d a n o Bruno and the Hermetic T r a d i t i o n (New Y o r k j V i n t a g e Books, I 9 6 9 ) • Aldo T a g l i a f e r r i , i n Beckett e 1'iperdeterminazione l e t t e r a r i a ( M i l a n o : F e l t r i n e l l i , 196?), t r a c e s Bruno's i n f l u e n c e t h r o u g h o u t B e c k e t t ' s canon. J  ^DDante, "De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a , " i n A T r a n s l a t i o n o f the L a t i n Works, t r a n s . A. G. F. H o w e l l and P. H. W i c k s t e e d TLondon. J« M. Dent, 1904), p. 44.  5 have been spoken by an i d e a l I t a l i a n who  had a s s i m i l a t e d  what was  country."  b e s t i n a l l the d i a l e c t s o f h i s  I t i s odd t h a t a t t h i s p o i n t B e c k e t t does n o t t o V i c o ' s " D i s c o v e r t a d e l v e r o Dante," i n w h i c h he  turn statest  i t i s s t i l l commonly supposed t h a t Dante g a t h e r e d t o g e t h e r the speech o f a l l the v a r i o u s I t a l i a n d i a l e c t s . Which f a l s e n o t i o n must have t a k e n r o o t i n t h e s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y . . . • Such a n o t i o n about Dante i s f a l s e f o r two s e r i o u s r e a s o n s . F i r s t , F l o r e n c e , even i n h i s t i m e s , must have s h a r e d the g r e a t e r p a r t o f her speech forms w i t h a l l the o t h e r c i t i e s o f I t a l y i o t h e r w i s e , t h e I t a l i a n tongue would n o t have had a n y t h i n g i n ; : common w i t h t h a t o f F l o r e n c e . And second, s i n c e the o t h e r c i t i e s i n t h o s e unhappy times p o s s e s s e d no w r i t e r s o f t h e v u l g a r tongue • . • Dante's whole l i f e would n o t have s u f f i c e d t o l e a r n the v u l g a r speech o f so many communities and t o g e t from them t h a t abundance o f forms he needed and employed t o e x p r e s s h i s t h o u g h t i n the comedy.' Had B e c k e t t s u b s c r i b e d t o V i c o ' s o p i n i o n , the  relation-  s h i p w h i c h he had s e t out t o e s t a b l i s h between J o y c e Dante, t h a t the language i n w h i c h they wrote was spoken by t h e i r c o n t e m p o r a r i e s but was would have been weakened. i n no way  not  a s y n t h e t i c language,  However, t h i s i m p l i c i t weakness  a f f e c t s the v a l i d i t y o f the a p p l i c a t i o n o f V i c o  and Bruno t o J o y c e , w h i c h forms the body o f B e c k e t t ' s The  and  essay b e g i n s w i t h t h e wry  young B e c k e t t .  essay.  humour t y p i c a l o f the  He i d e n t i f i e s the p h i l o s o p h i e s o f Bruno  ' V i c o , " D i s c o v e r y o f the True Dante,V i n D i s c u s s i o n s o f the D i v i n e Comedy, ed. and t r a n s . Irma B r a n d e i s (fiostont D. c"T"Heath, 1961), p. 11.  6 and V i c o , comparing the l a t t e r ' s i d e a o f "a L i b e r t y t h a t (7).  i s n o t chance" w i t h "Dante's 'yoke o f l i b e r t y ' " T h i s r e f e r s t o a passage  i n Dante's " S i x t h E p i s t l e , " i n  w h i c h he a d d r e s s e s the F l o r e n t i n e s who r e s i s t t h e emperori "For ye f i r s t and a l o n e , shunning t h e yoke o f l i b e r t y , have murmured a g a i n s t t h e g l o r y o f t h e Roman p r i n c e , t h e g k i n g o f the w o r l d and t h e m i n i s t e r o f God."  The  paradox  of a freedom t h a t r e q u i r e s s u b m i s s i o n p l a y s a s u b s t a n t i a l role i n Beckett's l a t e r f i c t i o n . From h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f V i c o , B e c k e t t moves t o a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f J o y c e , making t h e s t a t e m e n t s t h a t i n J o y c e , "form i s c o n t e n t , c o n t e n t i s form . . . » w r i t i n g i s n o t about something; i t i s t h a t itself"  (14).  His  something  To e x e m p l i f y h i s i d e a and t o i n d i c a t e t h e  t r a d i t i o n i n w h i c h Joyce w r i t e s , he quotes from J o y c e and compares t h o s e q u o t a t i o n s w i t h two o f Dante's r i m e , "Donne c h ' a v e t e i n t e l l e t t o d'amore" ( V i t a Nuova, 19) [ " L a d i e s who il  have u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f l o v e " ] and " V o i che, i n t e n d e n d o , t e r z o c i e l movete" ( C o n v i v i o 2 . 1 )  l e c t i o n , move t h e t h i r d h e a v e n " ] . i n e f f e c t poems on p o e t r y .  ["You  who,  by  intel-  B o t h o f t h e s e poems a r e  I n t h e f i r s t , Dante s e a r c h e s  f o r t h e words w h i c h w i l l b e s t d e s c r i b e h i s l o v e , the poem Q  Dante, " E p i s t o l a p a r a . 2 , p. 317* L. E. and C r i t i c (New J e r s e y * p. 3 1 2 , m i s t a k e n l y c i t e s the s o u r c e .  V I , " i n A T r a n s l a t i o n , op. c i t . , Harvey, Tn Samuel B e c k e t t t Poet Princeton University Press, 1970), De M o n a r c h i a , Bk. I I , c h . 1, as  b e i n g t h e r e c o r d o f t h a t s e a r c h ; i n t h e second, Dante i m p l i c i t l y i l l u s t r a t e s t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p o f form and c o n t e n t , c o n c l u d i n g t h a t i f one cannot u n d e r s t a n d t h e c o n t e n t - o f h i s poem, a t l e a s t one c a n admire t h e beauty of t h e form. B e c k e t t t h e n decrees t h a t " t o j u s t i f y o u r t i t l e , we must move N o r t h , villa*"  *Sovra ' 1 b e l fiume d*Arno a l i a g r a n  (17) ['Above t h e b e a u t i f u l Arno r i v e r i n t h e  great cijby*].  The q u o t a t i o n , from I n f . 23» i s Dante's  r e p l y t o t h e H y p o c r i t e s , who had a s k e d him where he was from.  Beckett s t a t e s t h a t "there e x i s t s  c i r c u m s t a n t i a l s i m i l a r i t y " (17)  considerable  between Dante and J o y c e .  The s i m i l a r i t i e s a l l u d e d t o comprise t h e two w r i t e r s * a t t i t u d e s toward language.  I t i s at this point that  B e c k e t t quotes t h e passage from De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a w h i c h has a l r e a d y been d i s c u s s e d .  He t h e n makes a s s e r -  t i o n s , by no means o r i g i n a l , about Dante's p u b l i c .  The  c i t a t i o n of Boccaccio r e f e r s t o that w r i t e r ' s L i f e of 9 Dante;  t h e r e B o c c a c c i o r e l a t e s t h e dream o f Dante's  mother i n w h i c h she saw h e r s o n e a t i n g t h e b e r r i e s o f a l a u r e l t r e e , and c h a n g i n g s u d d e n l y i n t o a peacock.  In  i n t e r p r e t i n g t h i s dream B o c c a c c i o c i t e s one o f t h e peacock* 9 B o c c a c c i o , " L i f e o f Dante," i n The E a r l i e s t L i v e s of Dante, t r a n s . J . R. S m i t h , (New Y o r k i F r e d e r i c k Ungar, 1 9 6 3 7 T P . 77.  8  V  a t t r i b u t e s as " p i e d i s o z z i " (19) [ " s m e l l y  f e e t " ] and says  t h a t t h i s s i g n i f i e s t h e v u l g a r tongue on w h i c h t h e Commedia (peacock) s t a n d s . Quoting  from t h e C o n v i v i o , B e c k e t t damns t h e "mono-  d i a l e c t i c a l a r c a d i a n s " $19) and p r a i s e s J o y c e . to  Referring  t h e former, he q u o t e s i Such a r e t o be r e g a r d e d as sheep and n o t men; f o r i f one sheep were t o f l i n g i t s e l f over a p r e c i p i c e of a thousand paces a l l t h e o t h e r s would go a f t e r i t ; and i f one sheep l e a p f o r any r e a s o n as i t p a s s * es a s t r e e t a l l t h e o t h e r s l e a p , a l t h o u g h t h e y s e e n o t h i n g t o l e a p o v e r . And e r e now I m y s e l f have seen one a f t e r a n o t h e r l e a p i n t o a w e l l because one l e a p t i n t o i t ( t h i n k i n g , I suppose, t h a t i t was l e a p i n g over a w a l l ) . 1 0  R e f e r r i n g t o Joyce, Beckett  quotesi  T h i s s h a l l be t h e new l i g h t , t h e new sun, w h i c h s h a l l r i s e when t h e wonted s u n s h a l l s e t and s h a l l g i v e l i g h t t o them who a r e i n darkness and i n shadow as t o t h e wonted sun, w h i c h s h i n e s n o t f o r them.11 A b r i e f d i s c u s s i o n ensues c o n c e r n i n g Dante's belief' ''' 1  t h a t language was c r e a t e d by God a t t h e same time as man. B e c k e t t f a i l s t o p o i n t o u t , however, t h a t Dante had changed his  o p i n i o n by t h e time he wrote t h e P a r a d i s o , where he  acknowledged t h a t language was a p r o d u c t  o f human r e a s o n  ( P a r a . 26.124-32) and t h e r e f o r e s u b j e c t t o decay. Dante, The C o n v i v i o o f Dante, t r a n s . P. H. Wicks t e e d (London«> J . M. Dent, 1 9 0 3 ) , 1 . 2 , pp. 4 9 2 5 0 . I b i d . , 1.13. v u l g a r tongue. 1 1  12  pp. 5 9 ^ 6 0 .  Dante i s s p e a k i n g o f t h e  S t a t e d i n De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a , 6 , p. 16 o f H o w e l l and W i c k s t e e d t r a n s l a t i o n .  The  end o f the essay i s t h e most i m p o r t a n t f o r our  purposes.  B e c k e t t compares Dante's p u r g a t o r y w i t h  Joyce's  s t a t i n g t h a t Dante's " i m p l i e s c u l m i n a t i o n " (21) whereas Joyce's  "excludes c u l m i n a t i o n . "  He t h e n asks  rhetoric-  ally, i n what sense, t h e n , i s Mr. Joyce's work purgat o r i a l ? I n t h e a b s o l u t e absence o f t h e A b s o l u t e . H e l l i s the s t a t i c l i f e l e s s n e s s o f u n r e l i e v e d v i c i o u s n e s s . Paradise the s t a t i c l i f e l e s s n e s s of u n r e l i e v e d immaculation. Purgatory a f l o o d of movement and v i t a l i t y r e l e a s e d by the c o n j u n c t i o n o f t h e s e two elements. (22) F o r B e c k e t t , H e l l and P a r a d i s e a r e a b s o l u t e i n t h a t they are f i x e d s t a t e s .  P u r g a t o r y , however, i s a s t a t e w h i c h  i s e v e n t u a l l y transcended,  except i n Joyce's  cosmos.  Joyce's p u r g a t o r y i s such because i t i s n e i t h e r H e l l n o r Paradise.  E s p e c i a l l y noteworthy i n B e c k e t t ' s  description  o f the t h r e e p o s t - m o r t a l s t a t e s i s h i s c o n t e n t i o n t h a t " i m m a c u l a t i o n " s h o u l d r e q u i r e r e l i e f , a theme w h i c h he explores i n h i s l a t e r  fiction.  " U n r e l i e v e d i m m a c u l a t i o n " perhaps b e s t d e s c r i b e s B e c k e t t ' s i n t e n t i o n s i n t h i s h i s f i r s t work o f cism.  criti-  What i s most noteworthy i n t h i s s h o r t essay  on  Joyce i s t h a t B e c k e t t manages t o a l l u d e t o every one Dante's works w i t h a p r e c i s i o n t h a t marks h i s g r e a t f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h Dante's works.  of  In c o n t r a s t t o t h e a f f i n i t y B e c k e t t e v i n c e s f o r h i s s u b j e c t i n t h e Joyce e s s a y , h i s tone i s a l o o f i n h i s o t h e r major c r i t i c a l work, P r o u s t . examining  B e c k e t t b e g i n s by  clinically  " t h a t double-headed monster o f damnation and  salvation—Time." 3 1  Each day m o d i f i e s us; we a r e n o t  today who we were y e s t e r d a y , a s s e r t s B e c k e t t .  "We a r e  n o t merely more weary because o f y e s t e r d a y , we a r e o t h e r , no l o n g e r what we were b e f o r e t h e c a l a m i t y o f y e s t e r d a y "  (3  T h i s i s one head o f t h e monster, damnation. B e f o r e examining body, H a b i t .  t h e o t h e r head, B e c k e t t views t h e  H a b i t i s o u r way o f t r y i n g t o adapt t o o u r  e v e r changing concept  of s e l f .  Yet adaptation i s not  attainment» How a b s u r d i s our dream o f a P a r a d i s e w i t h r e t e n t i o n o f p e r s o n a l i t y , s i n c e our l i f e i s a success s i o n of Paradises s u c c e s s i v e l y denied, that the o n l y t r u e P a r a d i s e i s t h e P a r a d i s e t h a t has been l o s t , and t h a t d e a t h w i l l c u r e many o f t h e d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . (14) Then on t o t h e o t h e r headt S a l v a t i o n .  F o r Memory,  a l t h o u g h bound t o t i m e , i s i n i t s i n v o l u n t a r y m a n i f e s t a t i o n t h e one way i n w h i c h time c a n be overcome.  Time  thus i n i t i a t e s t h e damning p r o c e s s o f a t t e m p t i n g t o a t t a i n a s e l f t h a t i s ever c h a n g i n g , and p r o v i d e s t h e o n l y means by w h i c h t h a t e l u s i v e s e l f c a n be r e v e a l e d t o u s . ^ B e c k e t t , P r o u s t (New Y o r k i Grove P r e s s , I n c . , 1 9 3 1 ) * P« 1» Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t .  11  A f t e r d e a l i n g w i t h t h e s e main c o n s t i t u e n t s o f t h e P r o u s t i a n world, Beckett continues, d i s c u s s i n g other elements, among them Love.  "Love he [ P r o u s t ] i n s i s t s ,  can o n l y c o e x i s t w i t h a s t a t e o f d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n " ( 3 9 ) • B e c k e t t d e s c r i b e s t h e h e l l c r e a t e d by Love i n P r o u s t ' s w o r l d as a "Tolomea" ( 4 0 ) , t h e p e n u l t i m a t e r e g i o n o f t h e I n f e r n o , where t h e r e s i d e n t s have t h e g r e a t p r i v i l e g e o f h a v i n g t h e i r s o u l s f r o z e n i n Cocytus w h i l e t h e i r b o d i e s s t i l l l i v e on e a r t h ( I n f . 3 3 . 9 1 - 1 5 7 ) . "But i f l o v e , f o r P r o u s t , i s a f u n c t i o n o f man's sadness,  f r i e n d s h i p i s a f u n c t i o n of h i s cowardice"  says B e c k e t t , and c o n t i n u e s t  " F o r t h e a r t i s t , who does  not d e a l i n s u r f a c e s , t h e r e j e c t i o n o f f r i e n d s h i p i s n o t only reasonable, but a n e c e s s i t y " ( 4 6 ) .  B e c k e t t goes on t o  d e s c r i b e h i s a r t i s t i c credo i n Dantesque terms:  "the o n l y  f e r t i l e r e s e a r c h i s e x c a v a t o r y , immersive, a c o n t r a c t i o n of the s p i r i t , a descent"  (48).  A r t i s necessary, f o r i n  i t a l o n e i s t h e i n n e r meaning d e c i p h e r e d ; i t a l o n e " a t l e a s t an i n c o r r u p t i b l e beauty: com'io s o n b e l l a ' " ( 5 7 ) •  tenders  'Ponete mente almen  The l i n e i s t h e l a s t i n Dante's 14  canzone " V o i c h e , i n t e n d e n d o , t h i s canzone, Dante sorrows  il  t e r z o c i e l movete."  over t h e g r i e f w h i c h t h e  t h i r d h e a v e n — V e n u s — h a s caused him. 14  Vico..  In  In the tornata,  C o n v i v i o , 2 . 1 . Quoted a l s o i n "Dante... J o y c e ; " see above, p. 6 .  Bruno.  12  he e x h o r t s h i s canzone t o say t o t h o s e who cannot unders t a n d i t s i n n e r w o r k i n g s , "At l e a s t c o n s i d e r how b e a u t i f u l I  am." B e c k e t t a g a i n quotes from Dante i n h i s d i s c u s s i o n  of  "time made f l e s h " (57) > which i s d e a t h .  He r e f e r s t o  t h o s e p e n i t e n t s who occupy t h e c o r n i c e o f t h e proud i n t h e Purgatorio: e q u a l p i u p a z i e n z a av,ea n e l l i a t t i , piangendo p a r e a d i c e r i * P i u non posso.* (Purg. 1 0 . 1 3 8 - 9 ) [and he who showed t h e most endurance seemed t o cry o u t : * I c a n endure no more.'] T h i s b r i l l i a n t a l l u s i o n conveys t h e p a r a d o x i c a l i t y o f T i m e — d e s t r u c t i o n and c r e a t i o n , damnation and s a l v a t i o n , d e a t h and r e s u r r e c t i o n — t h r o u g h i t s r a m i f i c a t i o n s . the  For  Proud a r e bowed down by huge s t o n e s on t h e i r b a c k s ,  but because t h e y a r e bowed t h e y c a n see t h e m a g n i f i c e n t s c u l p t u r e s hewn i n t o t h e v e r y f l o o r o f t h e c o r n i c e on which they t r e a d . C a s t i g a t i n g t h o s e a r t i s t s who a r e " p r o s t r a t e b e f o r e the  e p i d e r m i s " (59)  Beckett p r a i s e s the P r o u s t i a n pro-  c e d u r e , w h i c h i s " t h a t o f A p o l l o f l a y i n g Marsyas," t h e p r o c e d u r e f o l l o w e d by Dante: 0 buon A p p o l l o , a l l ' u l t i m o l a v o r o fammi d e l t u o v a l o r s i f a t t o v a s o , come dimandi a d a r l'amato a l l o r o .  13 Entra. n e l p e t t o mio, e s p i r a tue s i come quando Marsia t r a e s t i d e l l a v a g i n a d e l l e membra sue. (Par. 1.13-15. 19-21) [ 0 great A p o l l o , to t h i s u l t i m a t e task i n s p i r e me w i t h your v i r t u e , making me a v e s s e l worthy t o win the beloved l a u r e l . • . • E n t e r i n t o my b r e a s t and breathe t h e r e as when you drew out Marsyas from the sheathe of h i s body.] Whereas i n the previous two  c a n t i c h e Dante had  the Muses, here he invokes A p o l l o , the s p i r i t i t s e l f , so much g r e a t e r i s h i s t a s k .  invoked of poetry  Dante suggests  that  his  instrument,  language, i s as i n s u f f i c i e n t to c a r r y out  his  task as was  Marsyas* instrument,  the f l u t e , i n h i s  15 competition with A p o l l o .  A p o l l o ' s l e s s o n t o Dante  was  t h a t the mind must be p u l l e d f r e e from the body; Proust*s l e s s o n t o Beckett i s t h a t the essence must be p u l l e d f r e e of the  facade.  In the same paragraph Beckett d i s c u s s e s a p o s s i b l e failing  of Dante.  "Dante, i f he can ever be s a i d to have  f a i l e d , f a i l s with his purely a l l e g o r i c a l f i g u r e s . . . whose s i g n i f i c a n c e i s p u r e l y c o n v e n t i o n a l and e x t r i n s i c " 16 (60). These f i g u r e s r e p r e s e n t concepts, and the poet  to my  ^ ^  I am indebted t o P r o f . M. C h i a r e n z a f o r drawing a t t e n t i o n the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s passage i n Dante.  Compare Croce, La P o e s i a d i Dante (1921), i n which he s t a t e s , " * l n p o e t r y , a l l e g o r y never has a p l a c e . * " Quoted i n L e t t e r a t u r a d e l l ' I t a l i a U n i t a . 1861-1968,(Firenze: Sansoni, 1968), p. 472. Compare a l s o J . L. Borges, "From A l l e g o r i e s to Novels," Other I n q u i s i t i o n s (New York: Washington Square P r e s s , 1 9 6 6 ) , pp. 163-166.  14 "does not d e a l i n concepts, he pursues concrete."  Thus Dante, who  was  the Idea,  an a r t i s t above  the all,  " c o u l d not prevent h i s a l l e g o r y from becoming heated  and  e l e c t r i f i e d i n t o anagogy." Thus P r o u s t , and thus B e c k e t t .  One  has the  impres-  s i o n t h a t Dante would s m i l e s l i g h t l y a t the terms i n P r o u s t , so f a m i l i a r t o him, w i t h which Beckett l a r d s h i s t r e a t i s e and w i t h which he ends h i s c r e d o i damnation and salvation. The l a s t words which Beckett wrote d i r e c t l y on Dante appear i n h i s 1934  review of the E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n of 17  G i o v a n n i P a p i n i ' s Dante V i v o . gates P a p i n i , who of Dante the poet. Dante the a r t i s t .  The review  w r i t e s of Dante the man Beckett, t y p i c a l l y ,  justly  casti-  t o the e x c l u s i o n  identifies  with  He s t a t e s t h a t he wants t o read Dante,  not t o l o v e him, and concludes by wryly c i t i n g Dante's own  r e f e r e n c e t o the " i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y "  (the i r o n y i s  B e c k e t t ' s ) of r e a d i n g and l o v i n g , i n the Paolo and  Fran-  c e s c a episode of I n f e r n o 5»  "Quel g i o m o p i u non v i l e g -  gemmo avante" ["That day we  read no more"].  17 "Review of P a p i n i ' s Dante," p.  14.  The Bookman, 87  (1934),  CHAPTER I I MORE PRICKS THAN KICKS The c o n f l i c t between l i v i n g and r e a d i n g which Paolo and F r a n c e s c a experienced, w r y l y commented upon by Beckett i n the P a p i n i review, i s echoed  i n the t e n s t o r i e s 18  t i v e l y c a l l e d More P r i c k s than K i c k s .  The  collec-  title,  which i s i n one sense an i r o n i c comment on the many i n stances of d e s i r e as opposed t o the o c c a s i o n s f o r f u l 19 f i l m e n t , a l l u d e s to I n f e r n o 9 .  In t h a t canto, Dante  and V i r g i l are b a r r e d by a s o r t i e of d e v i l s from e n t e r i n g the c i t y o f D i s .  An a n g e l comes t o t h e i r a s s i s t a n c e ,  s a y i n g t o the d e v i l s : Perche r e c a l c i t r a t e a q u e l l a v o g l i a a c u i non puote i l f i n mai e s s e r mozzo, e che p i u v o l t e v*ha c r e s c i u t a d o g l i a / (Inf. 9.9^-6) [Why do you k i c k a g a i n s t the p r i c k s t o which no one has ever been a b l e t o put an end and which have i n c r e a s e d your pains many t i m e s ? ] The passage may  i n d i c a t e s another sense i n which the  be t a k e n .  We a r e p r i c k e d by an unreasoning  title fate,  both b e f o r e and a f t e r death, f a r more than we can k i c k . 18  Beckett, More P r i c k s than K i c k s ( 1 9 3 4 ; r p t . New York: Grove P r e s s , Inc., 19727^ Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  19  The B i b l i c a l source i s A c t s 9 . 5 ( c f . 26.14). Dante a l s o quotes t h i s passage i n h i s " F i f t h E p i s t l e . "  16 As C h r i s t o p h e r Ricks observes, Dante i s i n t h i s aspect "the supreme i n c a r n a t i o n of the high-minded vengeance t h a t pursues  even beyond the grave and t h a t w i l l not 20 permit of o b l i v i o n . " More P r i c k s than K i c k s c h r o n i c l e s the dying of B e l acqua Shuah.  Belacqua's  eponym appears  i n the f o u r t h  eanto of the P u r g a t o r i o , and would be noteworthy i f f o r no o t h e r reason than t h a t he e l i c i t s Dante's f i r s t i n the Commedia.  The  importance  Beckett's canon i s immense. ter  of Dante's Belacqua  Belacqua  s t a t e i n Murphy and i n the t r i l o g y .  to  i s the main charac-  i n these s t o r i e s ; h i s c o n d i t i o n r e p r e s e n t s an  i m p l i c a t i o n s of Belacqua  smile  ideal  Beckett explores the  f u r t h e r i n How  I t I s , and a l l u d e s  to him i n h i s l a t e s t work of prose f i c t i o n , The L o s t Ones. I t i s important, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t we a s c e r t a i n the exact nature of Dante's Belacqua by a n a l y z i n g the passage i n which he  appears.  Canto f o u r opens w i t h Dante and V i r g i l c l i m b i n g up a narrow c l e f t i n the mountain i n o r d e r t o ascend t o the second  t e r r a c e , where the Late Repentant are t o be  The a s c e n t i s arduous, and the two  found.  poets s t o p t o r e s t  and  c a t c h t h e i r b r e a t h when they reach the t e r r a c e .  Now  he has a moment of l e i s u r e t o look about him the  disorient-  ed Dante i s s u r p r i s e d t o see the sun on h i s l e f t .  Virgil,  C h r i s t o p h e r R i c k s , "Beckett F i r s t and L a s t , " York Review of Books, Ik Dec. 1972, p. 43. 2 0  that  New  17  s e e i n g h i s p e r p l e x i t y , e x p l a i n s i n a very p e d a n t i c , r h e t o r i c a l manner t h a t they a r e s i t u a t e d a n t i p o d a l t o Jerusalem, which accounts f o r the sun's a p p e a r i n g on the left  (when he f a c e s e a s t ) . Once s a t i s f i e d on t h i s p o i n t , Dante asks h i s mentor  how f a r they must y e t journey.  V i r g i l answers t h a t the  f u r t h e r they t r a v e l , the l e s s the e f f o r t r e q u i r e d ( f o r one i s p r o g r e s s i v e l y purged  o f the weight  o f s i n ) and  t h a t when he f i n d s the ascent l e a s t d i f f i c u l t , the journey w i l l be a t an end.  J u s t as he f i n i s h e s speaking a v o i c e  i n t e r r u p t s , and w i t h one m a g n i f i c e n t l i n e undercuts V i r g i l ' s ornate e x p l a n a t i o n s and Dante's n a i v e  both  exuberance.  E c o m ' e l l i [ V i r g i l i o ] ebbe sua p a r o l a d e t t a , una voce d i presso sono; 'Forse che d i sedere i n p r i a a v r a i d i s t r e t t a J ' A l suon d i l e i c i a s c u n d i n o i s i t o r s e , e vedemmo a mancina un gran petrone, d e l q u a l ne i o ne e i prima s ' a c c o r s e . La c i traemmo; ed i v i eran persone che s i stavano a l l ' o m b r a d i e t r o a l sasso come l'uom per negghienza a s t a r s i pone. E un d i l o r , che mi sembiava l a s s o , sedeva e a b b r a c c i a v a l e g i n o c c h i a , tenendo i l v i s o g i u t r a esse basso. •0 dolce segnor m i o , ' d i s s ' i o 'adocchia c o l u i che mostra se p i u n e g l i g e n t e che se p i g r i z i a f o s s e sua s e r o c c h i a . ' x  A l l o r s i v o l s e a n o i e puose mente, movendo i l v i s o pur su p e r l a c o s c i a , e d i s s e t 'Or va t u s u , che s e ' v a l e n t e l '  Conobbi a l l o r c h i e r a , e q u e l l ' a n g o s c i a che m*avacci.ava un poco ancor l a l e n a , non m'impedi l'andare a l u i ; e p o s c i a ch'a l u i f u * g i u n t o , a l z d l a t e s t a a pena, dicendoj *Hai ben veduto come i l s o l e dall'omero s i n i s t r o i l c a r r o mena?* L i a t t i suoi p i g r i e l e corte parole mosser l e l a b b r a mie un poco a r i s o ; p o i c o m i n c i a i i 'Belacqua, a me non dole d i t e omai; ma dimmi: perche a s s i s o q u i r i t t a se*? attendi tu iscorta, o pur l o modo usato t'ha r i p r i s o ? * Ed e l l i j *0 f r a t e , andar i n su che porta? che non mi lascerebbe i r e a* m a r t i r i l ' a n g e l d i Dio che s i e d e i n su l a p o r t a . Prima convien che tanto i l c i e l m ' a g g i r i d i f u o r da essa, quanto fece i n v i t a , p e r c h * i o i n d u g i a i a l f i n e i buon s o s p i r i , se orazione i n prima non m'aita che surga su d i cuor che i n g r a z i a vivaY l ' a l t r a che v a l , che *n c i e l non e u d i t a ? * (Purg. 4 . 9 7 - 1 3 5 ) [And j u s t as he [ V i r g i l ] had f i n i s h e d speaking a v o i c e nearby s a i d . 'Perhaps y o u ' l l need t o s i t down first?* At t h i s sound each of us turned around and saw on the l e f t a huge rock which n e i t h e r he nor I had a t f i r s t n o t i c e d . We drew toward i t ; and there were persons who, i n the shade behind the r o c k , were s t a n d i n g around, l i k e l a z y people o f t e n do. And one of them, who seemed weary t o me, was s i t t i n g h o l d i n g h i s knees w i t h h i s face low down between them. '0 my good l o r d , * I s a i d , 'look c l o s e l y a t him who appears more l i s t l e s s than i f s l o t h were h i s s i s t e r . * At t h i s he turned toward us and granted us h i s a t t e n t i o n , r a i s i n g h i s eyes above h i s t h i g h s , and s a i d : 'Go up now, i f you're so good!* I knew then who he was, and t h a t f a t i g u e t h a t s t i l l kept me p a n t i n g d i d not stop me from going up t o him; when I was c l o s e t o him he s c a r c e l y r a i s e d h i s head, s a y i n g : •Have you understood why the sun l e a d s h i s c h a r i o t from the l e f t ? *  19 His l a z y a t t i t u d e and h i s few words moved my l i p s a l i t t l e t o s m i l e ; then I "began. 'Belacqua, I do not sorrow f o r you any more; but t e l l me: Why do you s i t r i g h t here? Do you await an e s c o r t , o r have the o l d ways overtaken you a g a i n ? ' And he: '0 b r o t h e r , why bother t o go up y e t ? s i n c e I would not be a l l o w e d t o go t o my torments by the a n g e l o f God who s i t s up t h e r e a t the door. F i r s t i t i s necessary t h a t the heavens c i r c l e round me here, o u t s i d e the door, as l o n g as they d i d i n life ( f o r I postponed t o the end the good s i g h s ) , i f I am not helped f i r s t by p r a y e r s t h a t surge from a h e a r t t h a t l i v e s i n grace; f o r what use a r e the o t h e r s , that a r e not heard i n heaven?^] ;  Of Belacqua the accounts are meagre.  Cary  quotes  from the margin o f the Monte Casino manuscript t h a t "'This Belacqua was  an e x c e l l e n t master of the harp and  l u t e , but very n e g l i g e n t i n h i s a f f a i r s both s p i r i t u a l 21 and temporal.'" the of  A c c o r d i n g t o Sapegno, "Belacqua" was  s o b r i q u e t of one Duccio d i Bonavia, a F l o r e n t i n e maker s t r i n g e d instruments.  The d e s c r i p t i o n of Belacqua  made by the Anonimo F i o r e n t i n o , an e a r l y commentator, i s of  s p e c i a l r e l e v a n c e to the B e c k e t t c h a r a c t e r : T h i s Belacqua was a c i t i z e n of F l o r e n c e , an a r t i s a n , and made such t h i n g s as l u t e s and g u i t a r s , and was the most s l o t h f u l man t h a t ever l i v e d . And i t i s s a i d o f him t h a t he would go every morning t o h i s workshop and proceed t o s i t down, and would never get up except when he wished to go t o eat and t o s l e e p . Now the author [Dante] was a very good f r i e n d of h i s ; he would many times, a g a i n and a g a i n , b r i n g up h i s n e g l i g e n c e ; whence, one day, b r i n g i n g i t up a g a i n , Belacqua r e p l i e d w i t h the words of 21  H. F. Cary, t r a n s . , The V i s i o n o f Dante (London: George Newnes, 1844), note t o Purgs. 4.119. Cary's t r a n s .  20 A r i s t o t l e . 'Sedendo. e t quiescendo anima e f f i c i t u r s a p i e n s ; • t o t h i s the author r e p l i e d , 'Surely, i f by s i t t i n g one becomes wise, then no one has ever been as wise as y o u . ' 2 2  B e c k e t t has a s c r i b e d many o f the t r a i t s o f the r e a l Belacqua t o h i s own c r e a t i o n i an i n t e r e s t i n music them. in  l a z i n e s s , w i t t i n e s s , and  (or a r t i n g e n e r a l ) are c h i e f among  Dante's Belacqua, who never looked toward  life,  i s now c o n s t r a i n e d t o l o o k earthward.  f o e t a l p o s i t i o n i s analggous  His  t o the s t a t e o f h i s s o u l ,  which has not y e t been born i n t o i t s new l i f e . 24 Belacqua has l i v e d h i s l i f e  heaven  over a g a i n  When  he w i l l be born  i n t o the scourges and flames o f p u r g a t i o n . works t h i s has i r o n i c i m p l i c a t i o n s *  23 ^  In Beckett's  the b i r t h o f a new  s e l f merely i n c r e a s e s the p a i n o f the o l d , and t h e r e i s no end t o t h i s p r o c e s s . Many o f the ideas and c o n f l i c t s c o n t a i n e d i n the Belacqua passage re-appear as themes i n More P r i c k s than Kicks.  Perhaps  Dantean passage  the most obvious p o i n t o f c o n t r a s t i n the i s t h a t between Dante's g r e a t m o b i l i t y  (mental and p h y s i c a l ) and Belacqua*s  immobility.  Related  Q u o t e d by Sapegno i n h i s note t o P u r g . 4 . 9 8 , p. 4 3 . From t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n B e c k e t t took the t i t l e o f h i s s t o r y , "Sedendo e t Quiescendo," t r a n s i t i o n , 21 (1932), 13-20. 22  ®® I n the B i b l i c a l sense, these s o u l s are i n the Egypt of the s o u l ' s bondage, from which they w i l l e x i t i n t o t h e I s r a e l o f freedom, when they have been purged. 24 Compare Yeats's i d e a o f "dreaming through;" note Murphy, p. 78, where Murphy speaks o f h i s "Belacqua f a n t a s y " and how he w i l l ha^e "dreamed i t a l l through."  to  Dante*s m o b i l i t y i s h i s i n t e r e s t i n the macrocosm,  evidenced by h i s q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the heavens.  The  immobile Belacqua, however, i s more i n t r o s p e c t i v e . Belacqua Shuah s t a r t s out by doing much w a l k i n g about, "with the b e l i e f t h a t the b e s t t h i n g he had t o do 25 was t o move c o n s t a n t l y from p l a c e t o p l a c e "  but moves  about l e s s as h i s l i f e progresses ( i n s p i t e o f him) and eventually achieves s t a s i s i n "Draff."  S t a s i s , the  microcosmic moment where t h e r e i s n e i t h e r time n o r space, is  i n f a c t the g o a l o f h i s wanderings.  The c o n d i t i o n s  which d e f i n e s t a s i s a r e a l s o those t h a t d e f i n e a r t , and so we o f t e n f i n d Belacqua s t u d y i n g a r t as a means t o the attainment o f t h a t same g o a l .  Because Belacqua p l a c e s  such emphasis on h i s mental s e l f , h i s p h y s i c a l s e l f i s q u i t e f o r e i g n t o him; he i s o f t e n seen d i s c o v e r i n g p a r t s of h i m s e l f , as when he s i t s i n the r a i n and s t a r e s a t h i s 26 hands.  Belacqua*s problem i s t h a t the macrocosm h i n d e r s  him from coming completely a l i v e i n h i s mind. At  the b e g i n n i n g o f "Dante and the L o b s t e r " we see  Belacqua attempting t o a t t a i n the microcosmic moment by r e a d i n g canto two o f the P a r a d i s o , "the f i r s t i n the moon" ( 9 ) . 25  o f the c a n t i  Belacqua has not o b t a i n e d transcendence,  "Ding-Dong," p. 3 6 . "A Wet N i g h t , " p. 8 3 .  22 however; he i s "bogged."  27  Being bogged i s not the  c o n d i t i o n he d e s i r e s ; he d e s i r e s to be s t u c k  static  (physically)  and moving (mentally) a t the same time. The use of d i r e c t a l l u s i o n which c h a r a c t e r i z e s these e a r l y s t o r i e s i s e x e m p l i f i e d by t h i s opening Belacqua r e f e r s to " B l i s s f u l B e a t r i c e , " who  passage. i s anything  but i n t h i s canto where she f l a y s Dante f o r h i s t h e o l o g i c a l l y i n c o r r e c t e x p l a n a t i o n of the spots i n theismonn, which she e x p l a i n s "step by s t e p . " t a t i o n , was of  p l a i n s a i l i n g " a l l u d e s to the f i r s t  canto two,  i n which Dante speaks of "mio  cantando v a r c a " (Par. 2.3) _ 28 along"J.  "Part one, the r e f u -  "The  ["my  tercet  legno  che  ship, thatssinging s a i l s  d i s p r o o f , the r e p r o o f , t h a t was  patent"  echoes the "provando e r i p r o v a n d o " ["proving and  reprov-  i n g " ] of Par.  3.3-  Impatient w i t h the tedium wishes to go on to P a r a d i s o 3»  of canto two,  Belacqua  i n which Dante, having  understood B e a t r i c e ' s l e s s o n , " c o u l d r a i s e h i s heavy head" [ " l e v a * i l capo," Par. 3 . 6 ] and i n which P i c c a r d a discourses.  T h i s i s the f i r s t  t u a l i s m which Belacqua  example of the a n t i - i n t e l l e c -  evinces i n More P r i c k s than K i c k s ,  27 '.. The word bogged i t s e l f suggests an i n f e r n a l v i s t a ( c f . I n f . 6 ) . Dante's son P i e t r o , when c o n f r o n t e d w i t h Par. 2, s a i d , "'Work out the r e s t , i n f a c t the whole t h i n g , f o r y o u r s e l f , f o r I see n o t h i n g and understand n o t h i n g . ' " Quoted by D. L. Sayers i n her t r a n s l a t i o n of the Purgat o r i o (Harmondsworth. Penguin, 1955)» P» 335* 28 Longfellow's t r a n s l a t i o n .  f o r although a r t r e p r e s e n t s a d e s i r o u s c o n d i t i o n , i t s w o r l d l y m a n i f e s t a t i o n s a r e t o be avoided. While r e a d i n g , Belacqua f e e l s the i n c u r s i o n o f the macrocosm—his body i s hungry.  T h i s c o n f l i c t has i n f a c t  been p r e f i g u r e d i n the t i t l e , where the p o e t i c world o f Dante i s juxtaposed  t o the m a t e r i a l world  o f the l o b s t e r .  I r o n i c a l l y , Belacqua's p r e p a r a t i o n of l u n c h i s d e s c r i b e d i n a way t h a t parodies B e a t r i c e ' s e x p l a n a t i o n of the moon spots t o Dante.  Thus we have Belacqua t h i n k i n g over h i s  t h r e e goals f o r the day, "one, lunchf two, the l o b s t e r ; t h r e e the I t a l i a n l e s s o n " (10).  So B e a t r i c e i n P a r a d i s e ,  whose three goals were t o show t h a t Dante's  philosophy  e r r s , t o show h i s mistaken assumption r e g a r d i n g the laws of p h y s i c s and t o provide the c o r r e c t t h e o l o g i c a l explana t i o n of h i s q u e s t i o n . Belacqua prepares  h i s l u n c h w i t h a l l the s c i e n t i f i c  accuracy w i t h which B e a t r i c e e x p l a i n s the moon s p o t s .  An  i r o n i c p a r a l l e l i s drawn between the bread Belacqua uses f o r h i s sandwich and Dante's "pan d e l l i a n g e l i " (Par. 2.11) ["bread of the a n g e l s " ] on which he says h i s readers must feed before r e a d i n g the P a r a d i s o . Belacqua goes on t o r e mark t h a t an i n e x p e r i e n c e d person would "make a hash o f the e n t i r e proceedings"  as indeed B e a t r i c e s t a t e s t h a t  Dante has done. "'Certo a s s a i v e d r a i sommerso / n e l f a l s o il  c r e d e r t u o ' " (Par. 2.61-2) ["'without doubt you w i l l  r e c o g n i z e t h a t your b e l i e f i s completely  false'"].  Beckett  24 continues  t h i s parody, d e s c r i b i n g Belacqua's  preparation  of the two s l i c e s of bread i n a way analogous t o B e a t r i c e ' s e x p o s i t i o n o f the two p a r t s of the c o n f u t a t i o n o f Dante's error.  Belacqua p l a c e s a s l i c e o f bread "very pat and  p r e c i s e " ( 1 1 ) on the t o a s t e r ; so B e a t r i c e p l a c e s the f i r s t p a r t o f her c o n f u t a t i o n before  Dante.  acqua must t o a s t h i s bread "evenly"  And j u s t as B e l so B e a t r i c e ' s  argu-  ments had t o be s t a t e d i n harmonious p e r f e c t i o n . While he chars h i s bread, Belacqua continues over canto two o f the Paradiso  and the endeavours  to determine the cause o f moon-spots. the f i e l d " CaM this  to mull there  L i k e "the t i l l e r o f  ( 1 2 ) Belacqua b e l i e v e s t h a t "the spots were  w i t h h i s jbruss o f t h o r n s . "  Dante, however, snubs  explanation: •che son l i s e g n i b u i d i questo corpo, che l a giuso i n t e r r a fan d i Cain favoleggiare a l t r u i ? * (Par.  2.49-5D  ['what a r e the dark spots on t h i s body [ t h e moon] t h a t make those down on e a r t h t e l l t a l e s o f C a i n ? ' ] Before answering t h i s q u e s t i o n , propose h i s own e x p l a n a t i o n , explanation "On his  B e a t r i c e asks Dante t o  but r e j e c t s h i s m a t e r i a l  f o r the c o r r e c t s p i r i t u a l one.  h i s knees" ( 1 2 ) , Belacqua prepares h i s bread,  "offering" ( 1 3 ) .  To complete i t , he must o b t a i n some  Gorgonzola a t the grocery "being a c c o s t e d , "  store.  On h i s way;,- he f e a r s  having the outer world converge on t h e  i n n e r ; thus he had " l o c k [ e d ] the door" his  lunchtime  preparations.  (10) when he began  "His hunger [was] more o f  mind . . . than o f body" ( 1 3 ) . f o r h i s l u n c h i s the o f f e r ing  made by h i s mind t o appease h i s body, which must be  appeased before he can come f u l l y a l i v e i n h i s m i n d — a vicious c i r c l e ,  f o r ultimately i t i s l i f e  i t s e l f which  r e s t r a i n s him from a t t a i n i n g the microcosm, as we see i n "Draff." Belacqua walks w i t h a "spavined g a i t " ( 1 5 ) , r e m i n i s cent o f Dante i n the dark wood who walked " s i che '1 p i e fermo sempre e r a '1 p i u basso"  ( I n f . 1 . 3 0 ) ["such t h a t 29  the f i r m f o o t was always the l o w e r " ] . his  The p a i n from  f e e t i n t e r f e r e s w i t h h i s s l e e p ; even when  the mind i s n o t f r e e from the body.  unconscious,  The c o n f l i c t between  macrocosm and microcosm i s a l s o conveyed through allusions.  Whereas Belacqua  these  i s w i t h Dante and B e a t r i c e  i n p a r a d i s o when l o c k e d away i n h i s own room he i s l i k e Dante l i m p i n g through the dark wood when he s e t s out a l o n g the  street. Having eaten h i s l u n c h i n the pub, Belacqua  to  proceeds  the house o f h i s t e a c h e r , S i g n o r i n a O t t o l e n g h i , who  "was w a i t i n g i n the l i t t l e f r o n t room o f f the h a l l , 29 SSee C. S. S i n g l e t o n ' s note t o l i n e 30 i n h i s Commentary t o the " I n f e r n o " ( P r i n c e t o n t P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1970), p. 9. B e c k e t t ' s remark t h a t one o f Estragon's f e e t i s "damned" takes on s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the l i g h t o f S i n g l e t o n ' s i n f o r m a t i o n . See M i c h a e l Robinson, The Long Sonata o f the Dead (Londont Rupert H a r t - D a v i s , 1969)V pp. 250-1.  26 which Belacqua was  n a t u r a l l y i n c l i n e d to t h i n k of r a t h e r  as the v e s t i b u l e " (18).  N a t u r a l l y , because he has  canto three of the Inferno, and as Belacqua the connection obvious.  passion  f o r such a mind-dweller  between l i f e and  As a p r o j e c t f o r Belacqua, the  suggests t h a t he  literature is  Ottolenghi  "make up Dante's r a r e movements of com-  i n H e l l " (19)•  This r e c a l l s a p a r t i c u l a r l i n e  to Belacqua, " ' q u i v i v e l a p i e t a quand'e ben ( I n f . 20.28).  " ' I wonder how  morta*"  you c o u l d t r a n s l a t e t h a t ? ' "  asks Belacqua f o o l i s h l y , f o r because of the pun (both " p i t y " and The  read  on  "fieta"  " p i e t y " ) the l i n e i s u n t r a n s l a t a b l e .  l i n e , which means l i t e r a l l y ,  "Here l i v e s p i e t y when  i t [ p i t y ] i s dead," i s spoken by V i r g i l to Dante when the l a t t e r i s moved to t e a r s by the s i g h t of the s o r c e r e r s , whose heads are t w i s t e d completely must walk backward.  Beckett  around so t h a t they  has p r e d i c a t e d the s t o r y  the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s q u o t a t i o n , where we c o n f l i c t between d i v i n e judgement and  see  on  the  human mercy.  The  a l l u s i o n t o the punishment of C a i n , the quandary of McCabe ( h e i r o f Cain and A b e l ) , the c r u c i f o r m e x p r e s s i o n g r o c e r , the O t t o l e n g h i ' s  assignment and  the b o i l i n g of  l o b s t e r , a l l r e l a t e t o the l i n e quoted from the canto. but  In the i d e a l world p i e t a i s both p i t y and  i n the outer world i t i s e i t h e r one  often neither.  of the the  twentieth piety,  or the other,  and  Walking home a f t e r h i s l e s s o n , line.  "Why  Belacqua muses on the  not p i e t y and p i t y both, even down below?"  (2G) he a s k s .  When he a r r i v e s home he goes "down i n t o the  bowels of the e a r t h ,  i n t o the k i t c h e n  i n the basement"  (21).  The descent i s o b v i o u s l y  little  h e l l t h a t he w i l l l e a r n h i s r e a l l e s s o n about  t i c e and mercy.  Dantean; i t i s i n t h i s  For i t i s here i n the k i t c h e n  jus-  that h i s  aunt t e l l s him t h a t the l o b s t e r he had purchased f o r h i s d i n n e r must be b o i l e d a l i v e .  Though Belacqua knows he  must be m e r c i f u l , he a l s o knows he must e a t .  Again he  must s a c r i f i c e the needs of h i s mind t o appease the needs of h i s body; the " c r u c i f o r m " the s a c r i f i c e  shape of the l o b s t e r  into a larger significance.  raises  Belacqua'S  p i e t a i s undercut by h i s acquiescence t o having the ster boiled,  j u s t as he a t e h i s sandwich w h i l e  t i n g the hanging of McCabe. than k i c k s ; the p r i c k s f e l t , with l i t t l e  lob-  contempla-  There are indeed more p r i c k s  of the macrocosm are  continually  recompense, and w i l l c o n t i n u e t o be  f e l t even a f t e r death* W e l l , thought Belacqua, i t ' s a q u i c k death, God h e l p us a l l . It  i s not.  Belacqua i s s t i l l moment i n the s t o r y flict  seen s e a r c h i n g f o r the  "Ding-Dong."  microcosmic  In t h i s s t o r y the con-  a r i s e s from Belacqua's d e s i r e to a t t a i n s t a s i s and  yet  be (mentally) moving.  T h i s s t a t e i s epitomized by  the  motion o f the b e l l s , suggested by the t i t l e ,  which  move i n the same p l a c e and which a r e i n f a c t s t i l l  for a  moment i n each c y c l e , a "'moving pause'" ( 3 8 ) . Whereas the c o n d i t i o n o f the microcosm  i s stasis,  t h a t o f "the o u t e r w o r l d " ( 3 8 ) i s one o f unceasing motion. Belacqua a t one time b e l i e v e d t h a t he too had only " t o move c o n s t a n t l y from p l a c e t o p l a c e " ( 3 6 ) i n order t o a r r i v e a t the microcosm, but he i s f i n a l l y disabused o f this notion.  Yet even a t t h i s stage he r e a l i z e s  that  where t h i s outward motion i s d i r e c t e d i s u n i m p o r t a n t — "But as f o r the s i t e s , one was as good as another, because they a l l disappeared as soon as he came t o r e s t i n them."  He i s o b v i o u s l y t r y i n g t o a r r i v e a t an i n n e r  s t a t e , l i k e Dante's  Belacqua.  t e r s t h e r e i s "torment  F o r both o f these c h a r a c -  i n the terms [ l i f e and p u r g a t i o n ]  and i n the i n t e r v a l s [ A n t e p u r g a t o r y ] a measure o f ease." The  " s i n f u l l y i n d o l e n t " Belacqua's moving about i n  order t o o b t a i n s t a s i s i s o f course as i r o n i c as the Unnamable's t a l k i n g i n o r d e r t o be s i l e n t .  Yet a l t h o u g h  Belacqua r e a l i z e s t h a t motion does him " l i t t l e good" ( 3 7 ) he goes on, but only t o s t o p now and then, when he r e a l i z e s he i s g e t t i n g nowhere, l i k e Par. 4 . 1 - 9 ) , to  "Buridan's a s s " ( 3 9 ; c f .  s q u a t t i n g l i k e h i s namesake i n Antepurgatory  wait f o r a s i g n .  U n l i k e the c e l e s t i a l s i g n s  which  mark out the saved Belacqua's w a i t , Shuah observes neon  signs.  For him, these are as good as any, f o r motion i n  the  outer world i s meaningless anyway, and when he does  see  h i s s i g n he moves o f f i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . Where Belacqua r e a l l y wishes t o a r r i v e i s i n "Ego  Maximus" (39) which l i k e p a r a d i s o goes "nowhere, only round and round."  Those who do have a g o a l i n the outer  world a r e t r e a t e d i n a h e a v i l y s a r c a s t i c manner: the " b l i n d p a r a l y t i c " who has made a business ing; the  out o f begg-  the l i t t l e g i r l who i s b l i n d t o a l l but her g o a l i n slums; the queuer who fetches the l o a f , b l i n d t o the  p l i g h t o f the g i r l . Belacqua escapes from t h i s " c i e c o mondo" ( I n f . 4.13) [ " b l i n d world"] t o the pub, h i s haven.  "Here . . . a r t  and l o v e , s c r a b b l i n g i n d i s p u t e o r s t a g g e r i n g home, were b a r r e d " (4l).  I n the outer world, a r t i s argument,  is debilitating. for  love  So Belacqua s i t s i n the pub, and waits  a s i g n which manifests i t s e l f as "a h a t l e s s woman"  (43)  who seems "to be hawking some ware."  T h i s woman's  face i s " f u l l o f l i g h t " ( 4 4 ) — " p e t r i f i e d i n r a d i a n c e " notes Belacqua i n h i s "sweet s t y l e . " of  (45)  The woman i s a type  B e a t r i c e , as the a l l u s i o n s t o Dante i n d i c a t e .  Dante  d e s c r i b e s B e a t r i c e i n terms o f l i g h t throughout the Para30 diso.  Dante a l s o wrote a canzone  about a "donna p e t r o s a "  30 Dante, "Amor, t u v e d i ben, che questa donna," i n Rime, a cura d i G i a n f r a n c o C o n t i n i (1946; r p t . T o r i n o : STnaudi, 1970), 45 ( C I I ) , p. 162.  ["stony  ( p e t r i f i e d ) woman"], and he wrote  i t i n the  "dolce s t i l novo" (Purga  24.57)  ["sweet new  This Beatrice i s s e l l i n g  "'seats i n heaven*" ( 4 5 ; c f .  Par. 3 2 . 7 ) which she says "*goes round  style"].  . . . and round  and round$*" t h i s i s the same d e s c r i p t i o n Belacqua made of h i s microcosmic p a r a d i s e .  Belacqua f i n a l l y  succumbs  to her s a l e s p i t c h , and buys f o u r s e a t s , one each f o r h i s " * f r i e n j ? " " * d a j , " "*ma*," and "*motte*" himself.  (46)--none f o r  For i f Belacqua i s to f i n d h i s p a r a d i s e anywhere,  i t w i l l be w i t h i n h i s mind, and not i n the o u t e r world. The p a r a d i s e the woman d e s c r i b e s i s macrocosmic, and e x t r i n s i c t o the s e l f .  material  "Ding-Dong" ends w i t h an a l l u -  s i o n t o the P a r a d i s o , where "Dante and the L o b s t e r " began. In both i n s t a n c e s the i d e a of a p a r a d i s e e x t e r i o r to the s e l f i s rejected.  In "Ding-Dong," however, Belacqua comes  c l o s e r t o the microcosm who  through contemplating the woman,  a c t s as a c a t a l y s t i n a c h i e v i n g t h a t microcosmic  state,  which i s r e p r e s e n t e d a t the end of the s t o r y by the music t h a t Belacqua t a r r i e s t o hear. That i n n e r being cannot be o b t a i n e d i n the outer world i s the theme o f "A Wet  Night."  In t h i s s t o r y Beckett  s a t i r i s e s the o u t e r world, showing how how  empty i t i s , and  i t c o n f l i c t s w i t h Belacqua*s d e s i r e t o t u r n inward,  where meaning i n the form of i d e n t i t y can be found.  In  the o u t e r world i d e n t i t y i s merely a r e l a t i o n s h i p between f r i e n d s , and these s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s are empty.  "Friend-  s h i p i s a s o c i a l expedient, l i k e u p h o l s t e r y or the  distri-  31  b u t i o n of garbage  buckets."  I t i s e v i d e n t t h a t Belacqua i s aware of the emptiness o f s o c i e t y .  In "A Wet  N i g h t " he emerges from the  depths o f a pub only t o look f o r another where "he n e i t h e r knew nor was  known" (48).  The only o b j e c t between him  and i t i s the world, those he might meet, j u s t as i n "Dante and the L o b s t e r " he was  wary o f anyone i n t e r r u p t i n g  h i s p i l g r i m a g e t o the Gorgonzola.  The road to the pub  i s v i a "long s t r a i g h t Pearsesstreet," ("la d i r i t t a where he hears i n h i s mind "a simple c a n t i l e n a ? "  via"), Dante  a l s o heard a " c a n t i l e n a " (Par. 32.97) a t the end of h i s quest. The D u b l i n through which Belacqua courses i s l i k e n e d to " F l o r e n c e , " and Belacqua i s l i k e n e d as much t o h i s eponym as he i s t o Dante, as was the L o b s t e r . " hended by Chas.  the case i n "Dante and  Belacqua has the m i s f o r t u n e t o be appreTrue t o the type, Chas. i s more of the  macrocosm—"of French n a t i o n a l i t y " (49)—than of the m i c r o c o s m — " a mind l i k e a t a t t e r e d concordance."  Belacqua  asks Chas. "'What's the news of the g r e a t world?'", c a t i n g h i s divorcement from the mundane.  indi-  Chas. reminds  Belacqua t h a t he w i l l see him a t the F r i c a ' s p a r t y , and Belacqua, t y p i c a l l y , r e p l i e s " ' A l a s ' " 31  P r o u s t , p. 46.  (50).  Belacqua has agreed t o t h r u s t h i m s e l f i n t o  this  i n f e r n o o f the F r i c a ' s p a r t y n o t f o r the " b a c k s t a i r s , c l a r e t cup and the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a " Alba, h i s Beatrice.  ( 5 1 ) , but f o r the  L i k e the B e a t r i c e o f the V i t a Nuova 32  A l b a i s going t o wear a " s c a r l e t gown?  t o the p a r t y ,  and w i l l be dressed "to the n i n e s " ( 5 4 ) , which i s B e a t r i c e number ( V i t a Nuova, 2 9 ) . Belacqua muses on h i s B e a t r i c e i n a pub, where he has escapedffrom "the Poet" ( 5 1 ) } here he s i t s w i t h " h i s f e e t on a round so h i g h t h a t h i s knees topped the curb of the c o u n t e r " ( 5 2 ) , the Belacquean f o e t a l p o s i t i o n , which i n d i c a t e s the withdrawal i n t o the s e l f by the i n n e r world o f the pub.  facilitated  The A l b a i s f o r Belacqua,  as a r e a l l women, a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e f l e s h .  He l o v e s  however, "not woman o f f l e s h " ( 5 2 ) , but h i s mental image of her, f o r l i k e Murphy he can love only i n h i s mind. L i k e the B e a t r i c i a n f i g u r e i n "Ding-Dong," the A l b a i s "a woman o f the w o r l d " ( 5 5 ) » a f l e s h l y c o u n t e r p a r t t o the B e a t r i c e o f the Gommedia.  Belacqua attempts t o s o l v e the  problem o f how t o l o v e (mentally) without l o v i n g  (physic-  a l l y ) by voyeurism, as i s seen i n "Walking Out," where he requests h i s f i a n c e e Lucy t o "take a c i c i s b e o "  (102).  That way he c o u l d experience m e n t a l l y t h e i r p h y s i c a l l o v e . 3 D a n t e , La V i t a Nuova, t r a n s . Barbara Reynolds (Harmondsworthi Penguin Books, I 9 6 9 ) » chapter 2 . A l b a has a l s o " l e t h a l eyes" ( 5 4 ) which suggest those o f Beat r i c e i n paradiso. 2  Beckett's w i t f l a s h e s i n h i s s a t i r i c a l p o r t r a y a l of the o u t e r w o r l d .  The  i d e n t i t y o f people t h e r e i s e s t a b -  l i s h e d by i n i t i a l — " P . B." or not a t a l l .  or "S. J . " ( 5 7 ) — b y s o b r i q u e t ,  Mindless d i s p u t a t i o n c h a r a c t e r i z e s an  i n t e l l i g e n t s i a enamoured of i t s own  voice.  These people  c l a i m t o see order i n the "'Gehenna of l i n k s ' " (58)  which  i s i t s e l f merely an a r t i f i c i a l c o n s t r u c t which they  con-  s t a n t l y t r y to j u s t i f y .  "ex-  p l a i n the world"  (58)  e x a c t l y he meant." d i f f e r e n t ways" ( 5 9 )  We  see Chas. attempting t o  but "the d i f f i c u l t y was  t o know what  A l l these people go " t h e i r not so very f o r i n t r u t h they have no  separate  identities. On h i s way h i s hands, and  t o the p a r t y , Belacqua stops t o admire i s i n t e r r u p t e d from h i s r e v e r i e by a member  of the C i v i c Guard, "who the f o x " ( 7 2 ) ;  had much more of the l i o n than of  a t y p i c a l member of s o c i e t y , he i s more  body than mind, u n l i k e Guido da M o n t e f e l t r o , whose a c t i v i ties  "'non  f u r o n l e o n i n e , ma  d i volpe*" (Inf. 27.7^-5)  ["•were not l e o n i n e , but f o x y * " ] .  The a l l u s i o n to I n f e r n o  i s a p t , f o r l i k e the demons t h e r e , the Guard permits Belacqua no r e s t , but f o r c e s him t o "'move o n f "  through  t h i s a l l u s i o n Beckett expands the m o t i f of the outer world as  inferno. The p a r t y epitomizes the outer world, and as  a r r i v e s he r e a l i z e s t h a t " h i s mind . • . had n o t  Belacqua had  l e i s u r e to d w e l l upon the s u f f e r i n g s i n s t o r e f o r i t "  (7*0.  He s p e c i f i c a l l y s t a t e s "mind" because  i t i s h i s mind  which yearns f o r the i n n e r world and which s u f f e r s i n the outer.  A c c o r d i n g l y , Belacqua a r r i v e s i n the " v e s t i b u l e , "  the cloakroom o f h e l l , and i s seen by the A l b a "under the l i n t e l " which r e c a l l s the gates o f h e l l  ( I n f . 3.10-1K).  Appropriately, Beckett lards the text with d i r e c t  allu-  s i o n s t o the Inferno t He [Belacqua] had abandoned a l l hope [ i n f . 3 * 9 ] of g e t t i n g her [ A l b a ] where he wanted her, he :, c o u l d n e i t h e r be on her l e f t hand [ c f . I n f . 10. 1 3 3 ] n o r a t her f e e t . H i s only remaining conc e r n , b e f o r e h i s s o u l heaved anchor [ i n f . 3»827 ] was t o g e t some k i n d f r i e n d t o s c o t c h a wolf [ i n f . 1 . 4 9 ] t h a t he c o u l d n o t h o l d o f f by the ears very much l o n g e r . (80)  ;  Belacqua, who only wants t o l o v e the A l b a i n h i s mind, abandons t h e hope he had o f d o i n g so, f o r he f e e l s the goad o f l u s t , symbolised by a w o l f i n Dante's dark wood. The A l b a , o b v i o u s l y Belacqua's k i n d r e d s p i r i t , him t o take her home.  They escape t o t h i s l i t t l e  asks  world,  where they s i t t o g e t h e r , s h a r i n g the f i r e , a b o t t l e , and the sorrow known by those who t u r n inward.  He emerges  from "Casa A l b a " ( 8 3 ) i n t o the s o c i a l i n f e r n o , soon s t o p p i n g t o take up "the knee-and-elbow position'. " 0  The c o n f l i c t s r a i s e d i n these s t o r i e s a r e r e s o l v e d 33 i n the l a s t one o f the c o l l e c t i o n ,  "Draff,"  which d e t a i l s  33 Compare Cary's V i s i o n o f Dante, Inf.18.112. Note t h a t t h i s canto punishes the "panders" and compare " D r a f f " p. 176.  Belacqua's  f u n e r a l , as p r e s i d e d over by the Smeraldina.  The undertaker who Malacoda,"  i s h a n d l i n g the f u n e r a l i s a  "Mr.  c o u n t e r p a r t of the c a p t a i n of the demons i n  the f i f t h b o l g i a of the I n f e r n o *  Smeraldina r e q u e s t s t h a t  the "demon" (178) "'not be coming up here to torment but Malacoda  me,*"  i s a l r e a d y t h e r e , "with a tape i n h i s b l a c k  claws," an a l l u s i o n t o the g e n e r i c name of the d e v i l s , "Malebranche"  [ l i t . " e v i l claws," I n f . 21.3?].  Hairy  Quin a r r i v e s a f t e r him, and Smeraldina takes him t o the corpse, then l e a v e s the room, c l o s i n g the door "on the dying and the dead" (181). in this storyJ [one's] l i f e " existence;  T h i s u n d e r l i n e s another theme  t h a t f a r from l i v i n g , (176).  Death i s merely a m o d i f i c a t i o n of  "Belacqua was  m u t i l a t e d " (182).  one i s "dying a l l  not wholly dead, but merely  T h i s i s a f a m i l i a r theme i n B e c k e t t ' s  work, and one of the most p e c u l i a r l y  Dantesque.  H a i r y and Smerry proceed t o the cemetery the g r a v e s i t e .  "In the cemetery  t o prepare  the l i g h t was  failing,  the sea moonstone washing the c o u n t l e s s toes t u r n e d up, 34 the mountains swarthy the headstones"  (182).  Uccello [Par.  15*109-11]  T h i s a l l u s i o n t o the P a r a d i s o  c o n t r a s t s w i t h those t o the I n f e r n o which the world Belacqua has l e f t . 34  behind  characterized  Here i n the grave he  Perhaps a l s o the p a i n t e r .  has  found h i s P a r a d i s e , the t i m e l e s s one  he l o s t a t b i r t h .  Any  other Paradise i s a gamble—"Ten to one God  his  Heaven" (186). The  f o l l o w i n g day the f u n e r a l i s h e l d .  a r r i v e s to prepare the corpse, along w i t h (185) [ I n f . 2 1 . 1 0 5 ] aboard. and [inf.  who  was  in  Malacoda  "Scarmiglione"  d r i v e s the hearse, s a y i n g " A l l  A l l souls at half-mast."  That they  all—living  d e a d — g e t i n t o t h i s modern v e r s i o n of Charon's boat 3.82-4] a m p l i f i e s the theme of the l i v i n g dead,  and a l s o suggests worldly  t h a t h e l l i s not e x c l u s i v e l y an  other-  state.  The  death of Belacqua  robs Smeraldina's  " s p i r i t u a l " (18?) s i d e ; she i s now lump of a g i r l " plucking.  life  of i t s  "just a fine strapping  (188) and t h e r e f o r e r i p e f o r H a i r y ' s  Hairy and Smerry r e t u r n from the f u n e r a l to  f i n d "the house i n flames" (189)» the f i r e i n d i c a t i n g t h a t Smeraldina's  l i f e w i t h Hairy w i l l be the opposite of her  l i f e w i t h " B e l - a c q u a " — " c l e a r water." Smerry are u n i t e d and Belacqua  So Hairy  and  f i n d s the s t a s i s f o r which  he had been s e a r c h i n g , a l o n g w i t h "an overwhelming sense t h a t a l l t h i s would happen to him a g a i n , i n a dream or 36 subsequent e x i s t e n c e . " 3^Note the " t i m e l e s s mock" on Belacqua's 36  "What a M i s f o r t u n e , " p. 1 5 0 .  face  (182).  Belacqua's  f a s c i n a t i o n with t i m e l e s s s t a t e s i s a  (somewhat i r o n i c ) r e f l e c t i o n o f h i s s t a t u s as a "poet" (117)» f o r he i s as much Dante as he i s Belacqua i n these stories.  The t i m e l e s s s t a t e i s the p o e t i c s t a t e , the  K e a t s i a n moment.  F o r t h i s reason, Belacqua  no b a r r i e r between l i f e  and l i t e r a t u r e — h e  i s aware o f i s not s u r -  p r i s e d t o meet B e a t r i c e i n a pub, and a cloakroom  becomes  the v e s t i b u l e . It  i s the constant i n c u r s i o n o f the macrocosm, the  outer world, i n t o h i s m e d i t a t i o n s , t h a t c r e a t e s the conf l i c t s which these s t o r i e s r e l a t e .  The macrocosm i s  d e l i n e a t e d i n terms of h e l l , hence the many a l l u s i o n s t o "  t h e  Inferno i n the d e s c r i p t i o n s o f p a r t i e s and the outer  world i n g e n e r a l .  By c o n t r a s t , i t i s when Belacqua i s  alone w i t h h i s thoughts, l i k e h i s eponym i n the Antepurgat o r y , t h a t the Paradiso i s invoked.  There a r e f a r more  r e f e r e n c e s t o t h e Inferno i n these s t o r i e s because t h e r e are f a r more p r i c k s than k i c k s i n (and a f t e r ) l i f e .  The  most s i g n i f i c a n t merit o f these s t o r i e s i s t h a t they d i s p l a y many o f Beckett's l i t e r a r y r o o t s , and propose themes which he explores i n h i s l a t e r  fiction.  CHAPTER THREE POEMS IN ENGLISH Dante f i g u r e s i n f i v e o f the Poems i n E n g l i s h .  37  "Whoroscope," "Enueg I , " " A l b a , " "Sanies I I , " and "Malacoda."  In these poems Beckett i s e s p e c i a l l y  i n the Dante who wrote the I n f e r n o .  interested  The themes o f the  poems echo many of those i n More P r i c k s than K i c k s , ~38 but they a l s o p o i n t toward the l a t e r f i c t i o n .  The  f o l l o w i n g study i s based on the t h r e e most Dantesque poems, "Whoroscope," "Enueg I , " and  "Malacoda."  "Whoroscope" i s a mini-biography of D e s c a r t e s — a f i c t i o n a l i z e d Descartes.  The n o t e s , i n the Nabokovian  r a t h e r than the E l i o t i c t r a d i t i o n , r e v e a l the " f a c t s " of D e s c a r t e s ' l i f e , y e t those f a c t s seem t o d e s c r i b e another person.  The notes g i v e us the macrocosmic view o f  Descartes; the poem, which i s an i n t e r i o r monologue, g i v e s us the p o e t i c v e r s i o n o f h i s l i f e . The poem i s marked by a t e n s i o n between the C a r t e s i a n and the n o n - C a r t e s i a n , between r a t i o n a l i s m and s c h o l a s t i c ism.  T h i s t e n s i o n i s s i g n a l l e d by the t i t l e .  abhorred horoscopes.  Descartes  "He kept h i s own b i r t h d a y t o h i m s e l f  37;Beckett, Poems i n E n g l i s h (New York* Grove P r e s s , Inc., 1 9 6 1 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  08  Any i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the p o e t r y must acknowledge Lawrence E . Harvey's p a i n s t a k i n g and sympathetic e x e g e s i s , Samuel Beckett 1 Poet and C r i t i c (New J e r s e y 1 P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 197077  so t h a t no a s t r o l o g e r c o u l d c a s t h i s n a t i v i t y " ( 1 6 ) . s c i e n t i s t , Descartes was not the f u t u r e .  i n t e r e s t e d i n knowing the  As the f o r m u l a t o r  more, he b e l i e v e d t h a t he was existence.  a  present,  of the c o g i t o , f u r t h e r -  responsible f o r his  own  Such t h e o r i e s o b v i o u s l y are i n d i r e c t  t r a s t t o those h e l d by Dante, and  As  con-  t h i s c o n t r a s t i s another  source of the poem's t e n s i o n . The  poem opens w i t h a q u e s t i o n ,  (1),  "What's t h a t ? *  which i s f o l l o w e d by many o t h e r s .  The more Descartes knows,  the more he has  i t another way,  to know, or to put  more he knows, the l e s s he knows.  And  as we  see  t h i s f i r s t q u e s t i o n , Descartes i s c o n s t a n t l y w i t h the prospect  from  confronted  of not knowing, even i f what he wants t o  know i s something as simple  as whether h i s "eggs [had  hatched from e i g h t to t e n days" ( 1 5 ) . f u t u r e a c c o r d i n g t o Descartes, not know the present, Descartes•  the  but,  One  cannot know the  i r o n i c a l l y , one  monologue i s a remembrance of t h i n g s  the one  f o r lunch.  The  past This  i n "Dante and the L o b s t e r , " where  Belacqua's musings on the Paradiso plans  can-  either.  which i s c o n s t a n t l y i n t e r r u p t e d by t h i n g s p r e s e n t . p a t t e r n repeats  been]  "egg"  are i n t e r r u p t e d by h i s  ( 2 ) which i s t o be  Descartes'  meal a l s o suggests the p r e - n a t a l e x i s t e n c e yearned f o r by Beckett's "'be  c h a r a c t e r s , such as Belacqua Shuah, who  wanted to  back i n the c a u l on [ h i s ] back i n the dark f o r - ^ " F i n g a l , " More P r i c k s Than K i c k s , p.  29.  ever.'"  40 I t a l s o suggests u n f u l f i l l e d b e i n g , and toward the end o f the poem Beckett a f f i r m s the p a r a l l e l between the l i f e o f Descartes and t h e l i f e  o f t h e egg.  The Descartes w i t h whom the poem opens i s b l u s t e r i n g , obscene and s e l f - a s s u r e d , as h i s r e f e r e n c e t o G a l i l e o as a " v i l e o l d Copernican lead-swinging son o f a s u t l e r " (7) indicates. of  The Descartes o f t h i s poem i s not the c r e a t o r  a new p h i l o s o p h y , but the a t t a c k e r o f t h e o l d S c h o l a s t i c -  ism, "throwing J e s u i t s out o f the s k y l i g h t " ( 2 6 ) . Most o f the people mentioned i n the poem a r e enemies o f D e s c a r t e s , from " G a l i l e o " (5^^o  "Weulles"  (9*0.  I t i s t h i s personal  aspect o f Descartes t h a t Beckett e x p l o i t s . of  life  The meaning  i s t o be found i n p e r s o n a l experience, Beckett  suggests, r a t h e r than i n " s o p h i s t r y " ( 1 6 ) . Descartes• philosophy was i n f a c t the r e s u l t o f a p e r s o n a l experience, h i s "days . . . i n the hot cupboard" (26),  where he was enwombed l i k e the egg i n i t s s h e l l .  Here Descartes had the v i s i o n s  ( a s c r i b e d by him t o d i v i n e  i n t e r v e n t i o n ) which l e d t o the f o r m u l a t i o n o f h i s p h i l o sophy.  Dante too had h i s v i s i o n , but h i s l e d t o t r a n -  scendence. Musing on h i s v i s i o n s , Descartes i s i n t e r r u p t e d by the a r r i v a l o f " H a l s " (27) who p a i n t e d Descartes* j u s t p r i o r t o the p h i l o s o p h e r ' s death.  portrait  Descartes has  Hals "wait" (28) and i n doing so draws a t t e n t i o n t o h i s own f a t e , f o r Descartes a l s o w a i t s ; he i s n o t f u l l y i n  41 control after a l l .  His philosophy  cannot account f o r t h e  emotion he f e e l s when he t h i n k s o f h i s former playmate, the " s q u i n t y doaty" (29)» o r the death o f h i s daughter, " F r a n c i n e " ( 3 1 ) t whom he c a l l s a " f o e t u s " which r e a s s e r t s the p a r a l l e l e s t a b l i s h e d i n l i n e two between man and egg. "Foetus"  i s appropriate  f o r F r a n c i n e ; dying " a t the age  of s i x " ( 1 6 ) she had n o t r e a l l y A f t e r speaking  lived.  of h i s v i s i o n s , Descartes  some " E u c h a r i s t i c s o p h i s t r y " ( 1 7 ) , attempting  engages i n to give a  n a t u r a l e x p l a n a t i o n o f the s u p e r n a t u r a l " d o c t r i n e of transubstantiationl "  At t h i s p o i n t the f i r s t  5  to Dante i s made. says,  allusion  Speaking o f the S c h o l a s t i c s , Descartes  "They don't know what the master o f them t h a t do  d i d , / t h a t the nose i s touched by the k i s s of a l l f f o u l and sweet a i r " ( 5 6 - 7 ) .  The a l l u s i o n i s t o Dante's des-  c r i p t i o n o f A r i s t o t l e as " *1 maestro d i c o l o r che sanno" 40 ( I n f . 4 . 1 3 1 ) ["the master o f them who know"]. s o p h i s t r y Descartes  s i d e d w i t h A r i s t o t l e , who  In h i s maintained  t h a t t h e senses r e q u i r e d i r e c t o r i n d i r e c t c o n t a c t i n o r d e r to be s t i m u l a t e d .  More important  however i s the f a c t t h a t  t h i s a l l u s i o n t o t h e a r c h e t y p a l "knower" i s the only 40 Lawrence E . Harvey, i n Samuel Beckettt Poet and C r i t i c , f a i l s t o i n d i c a t e t h a t the a l l u s i o n i s t o Dante's d e s c r i p t i o n o f A r i s t o t l e (p. 2 7 ) . Ruby Cohn, i n Samuel Beckett» The Comic Gamut (New J e r s e y ; Rutgers U n i v e r s i t y Press, 19o*27, p. 13» a s c r i b e s the a l l u s i o n t o the C o n v i v i o , where, however, i t does n o t occur. See Sapegno's note t o I n f . 4 . 1 3 1 , p. 5 0 .  42 a l l u s i o n t o the Inferno i n the poem; a l l o t h e r a l l u s i o n s to  Dante a r e t o the P a r a d i s o .  Augustine"  (17; Par. 3 2 . 3 5 )  " F a l l o r , ergo sum!" ( 7 3 ) •  I n the d e s c r i p t i o n o f " S t .  " t h i n k i n g " becomes  "erring"—  C l e a r l y , the d e s i r e t o know i s  destined to f a i l . In  the next s e c t i o n o f the poem ( 7 7 - 8 3 )  Descartes  "proves God by e x h a u s t i o n " (p. 1 7 ) » o r , p r e c i s e l y , by our i d e a o f p e r f e c t i o n , c o n c l u d i n g t h a t he i s "the l o n e l y p e t a l o f a g r e a t high b r i g h t r o s e " ( 8 3 ) . to  The a l l u s i o n i s  Dante's "Candida r o s a " (Par. 3 1 » 1 ) ["white r o s e " ] ;  w i t h t h a t image Dante r e p r e s e n t e d God surrounded  by a l l  the heavenly beings, each r e p r e s e n t e d as a p e t a l of t h e rose.  The " l o n e l y " Descartes i s much l e s s  than a t the b e g i n n i n g o f the poem.  self-assured  He r e a l i z e s t h a t he  i s n o t completely d i v o r c e d from the S c h o l a s t i c s , nor i s his  being completely a r e s u l t o f h i s own w i l l . At t h i s p o i n t i n h i s monologue, Descartes f i n d s t h a t  his  egg i s " r i p e a t l a s t "  he has r e g r e s s e d . of  (84).  I t has progressed w h i l e  The movement o f the poem i t s e l f i s one  d e c l i n e , from assurance  t o l o n e l i n e s s , from egg t o  " a b o r t i o n " ( 8 7 ) » from l i f e t o death. t i o n (84-98) together. die  the l i f e  In t h i s f i n a l sec-  of the egg and o f the man a r e t r e a t e d  L i k e t h e c h i c k , man l i v e s i n t h e dark, only t o  before having l i v e d — F r a n c i n e , Anna Maria Schurmann ( 6 8 ) ,  who "bloomed and w i t h e r e d " ( 7 0 ) and Henry IV (41), a s s a s s i n ^ a t e d i n h i s prime, a r e a l l examples o f u n f u l f i l l e d  lives.  Descartes, e x i l e d as i t were i n P r o t e s t a n t Sweden, i s a l s o unfulfilled.  He l i k e n s Queen C h r i s t i n a of Sweden to  Rahab (Par. 9 * 1 1 6 ) , who  s h e l t e r e d Joshua*s  spies i n J e r i -  cho, as C h r i s t i n a s h e l t e r s C a t h o l i c Descartes i n P r o t e s t a n t Sweden.  As the h a r l o t of J e r i c h o , Rahab r e c a l l s the  "whore" of the t i t l e Descartes, who  (13).  and the pun i n " p r o s t i s c i u t t o " was  o r i g i n a l l y so s e l f - a s s u r e d ,  now  f i n d s h i m s e l f a t the mercy of the p h y s i c i a n Weulles, h i s enemy.  "Oh Weulles spare the b l o o d of a Frank / who  climbed the b i t t e r s t e p s " ( 9 4 - 5 0 ) . a beggar, l i k e Dante i n e x i l e who lo  has  The b r a g g a r t has become found "come e duro c a l l e  scendere e *1 s a l i r per l ' a l t r u i s c a l e " (Par. 17.59-60)  ["how  hard i s the way  That D e s c a r t e s ' l i f e the next l i n e  (96),  up and down other people's  stairs"].  i s u n f u l f i l l e d i s a l s o suggested by 41 where h i s name r e s t s  incomplete.  With h i s l a s t words, Descartes asks f o r a "second starless inscrutable hot cupboard.  .hour" ( 9 7 - 8 )  His l i f e  like his f i r s t  /  i n the  i s y e t i n ovo; the sky, r e p r e -  s e n t i n g the mysteries of l i f e , as the s h e l l t o the c h i c k .  i s as i n s c r u t a b l e t o him  There i s a l s o the admission,  i n the word " s t a r l e s s , " t h a t h i s l i f e w i l l not end i n transcendence, i n knowing completely, which Dante r e p r e sented by the " s t e l l e " [ " s t a r s " ] w i t h which he c l o s e s of  h i s c a n t i c l e s . With the word "hour" the poem comes 41 Note t h a t " p e r r o n " means " s t e p s . "  each full  /  44 c i r c l e from the "hora" o f the t i t l e , life  which suggests t h a t  i s not a p r o g r e s s i o n but i s s t a t i c .  Descartes looks back upon h i s l i f e , progress he has made.  As the dying  he sees what  little  H i s s o p h i s t r y cannot g i v e him an  i n s i g h t i n t o h i s being,which,  l i k e the egg, i s the "abor-  t i o n of a f l e d g l i n g " ( 8 ? ) . The a l l u s i o n s t o Dante operate on two l e v e l s . primary s i g n i f i c a n c e i s t o suggest the f u t i l i t y ing.  o f know-  A r i s t o t l e , who was t o the S c h o l a s t i c s what Descartes  was t o the R a t i o n a l i s t s , comprises to  Their  Beckett's only a l l u s i o n  t h e I n f e r n o , i n d i c a t i n g ; where the attempts  lead.  to know  On another l e v e l , the a l l u s i o n s t o the P a r a d i s o ,  and by i m p l i c a t i o n t o i t s c r e a t o r , suggest t h a t t r a n s c e n d ence i s p o s s i b l e only through poetry; t h a t a l l knowledge •is u s e f u l only as the s t u f f o f art« For i n the b r i g h t n e s s of a r t alone can be d e c i p h e r ed the b a f f l e d e c s t a s y . . . known b e f o r e the i n s c r u t a b l e s u p e r f i c i e s of a c l o u d , . . . a s p i r e , a flower.^ 2  In  "Whoroscope" Beckett concerns h i m s e l f p r i m a r i l y  w i t h Dante t h e a r t i s t .  I n "Enueg I " however, the Dante  who journeyed through h e l l i s most i n h i s mind.  The enueg,  a P r o v e n c a l form, t r e a t s o f the annoyances o f l i f e . t h i s poem l i f e  i t s e l f i s the annoyance, l i f e  In  is hell.  42 Proust, 57 • words i n the poem.  Note the marked correspondence  with  The n a r r a t o r climbs  " t o the c r e s t o f the surge o f  the steep p e r i l o u s b r i d g e " ( 5 ) which suggests arched r o c k - b r i d g e s  the s t e e p l y -  over the v a r i o u s chasms i n the r e g i o n  of the malebolge ( e . g . I n f . 1 8 . 1 0 ,  79? 2 1 . 8 9 ) .  The  " b r i g h t s t i f f banner" (?) r e c a l l s the banner behind  which  the F u t i l e r u n ( I n f . 3 * 5 2 - 4 ) , here s t i f f e n e d as i f w i t h rigor mortis.  The n a r r a t o r proceeds " i n t o a b l a c k west/  t h r o t t l e d with clouds" ( 8 - 9 ) , t i o n o f h e l l as "d'ogni of a l l l i g h t " ] , hue  r e c a l l i n g Dante's d e s c r i p -  l u c e muto" ( I n f . 5 . 2 8 )  ["silent  " t h r o t t l e d " l e n d i n g an e s p e c i a l l y b r u t a l  t o the a l l u s i o n . As the p i l g r i m p r o g r e s s e s , he f i n d s t h a t h i s " s k u l l "  " b i t e s l i k e a dog a g a i n s t i t s chastisement" Cerberus, throwing  (15)»  like  the hound o f h e l l , which V i r g i l c h a s t i s e s by>d i r t i n t o i t s three mouths ( I n f . 6 . 2 5 - 7 ) .  The  wanderer continues» " I t r u n d l e a l o n g r a p i d l y now on my 43 r u i n e d f e e t / f l u s h w i t h the l i v i d c a n a l " ( 1 6 - 1 7 ) ,  which  r e c a l l s the r i v e r o f b o i l i n g blood t h a t Dante c r o s s e s 12.124-6)  (Inf.  in hell.  "Then f o r m i l e s only wind" ( 2 2 )  suggests  the "bufera  i n f e r n a l " ( I n f . 5 . 1 3 1 ) [ " h e l l i s h wind"] o f the second circle  of h e l l .  The n a r r a t o r encounters  4.136)  then he sees a " f i e l d  Democritus ( I n f .  on the l e f t [ g o ] up i n a  sudden b l a z e / o f s h o u t i n g " ( 3 6 - 7 )  which image suggests  Compare I n f . 3 . 9 8 , " l a l i v i d a p a l u d a , " ["the l i v i d swamp"].  both the r a i n of f i r e i n the seventh c i r c l e  ( I n f . 14.28-30)  and the s h o u t i n g and screaming o f those shipped o f f t o hell  (Inf. 3 . 1 0 7 ) .  i s conveyed (51)  The s t e r i l i t y o f the seventh  i n Beckett's poem by the "grey verminous hens"  and the "mushy t o a d s t o o l " ( 5 5 ) . As i n the I n f e r n o , the way i s "down" ( 6 2 ) .  (69)  circle  and the "sewer" ( 7 2 ) suggest the "pozzo"  The " p i t "  (Inf. 31.32)  [ " w e l l ; " Seesspool"] i n which h e l l ' s g i a n t s a r e c h a i n e d . In the I n f e r n o one o f these g i a n t s a c t s as a l a d d e r , f a c i l i t a t i n g Dante's way t o the nethermost an image conveyed  i n the l i n e  region of h e l l ,  "the f i n g e r s o f the l a d d e r  hooked over the p a r a p e t " ( 7 0 ) .  The g i a n t c a r r i e s Dante  down t o the f r o z e n l a k e of Cocytus, which i s suggested by the " a r c t i c  flowers."  The poem ends w i t h complete n e g a t i o n . transcendence f o r the n a r r a t o r .  There i s no  U n l i k e Dante he does  not emerge from h e l l t o see the s t a r s .  He has only  travell-  ed i n a c i r c l e , and, as i n More P r i c k s than K i c k s , the c i r c l e c h a r a c t e r i z e s the unceasing motion t h a t  results  i n no p r o g r e s s ; t h i s i s the c o n d i t i o n o f h e l l . H e l l as present r e a l i t y coda."  i s a g a i n the theme i n "Mala-  Malacoda ( I n f . 2 1 . 7 6 - 9 ;  23.141) i s the c a p t a i n  of the f i f t h b o l g i a ' s demon army, the "malebranche" 2 1 . 3 7 ) [ l i t . " e v i l claws;" s i n g , "malabranca,"  (Inf.  cf. line  7].  The demons a r e winged, hooved and have t a i l s . ( " M a l a c o d a " l i t e r a l l y means " e v i l tail'.'). of these  elements.  Beckett's poem draws on a l l  " T h r i c e " ( 1 ) , the number w i t h which Dante was sessed  (as Beckett  ob-  i s w i t h t h i r t e e n ) i s the number of  d u t i e s t h a t Malacoda, "the undertaker's man"  (2) i s to  perform* "to measure" ( 4 ) ;  and  cover"  (19)«  "to c o f f i n "  (15);  Malacoda, " i n c o r r u p t i b l e " (6) because com-  p l e t e l y c o r r u p t , waits i b u l e " ( I n f . 3)»  i n the a p p r o p r i a t e l y named " v e s t -  There, out of r e s p e c t , he  s i g n a l " (10) which he normally  "mutes h i s  gives f u l l f o r c e .  r e l a t e s t h a t i n h e l l " e l l i avea d e l c u l f a t t o (Inf.  2 1 . 1 3 9 ) ["he Malacoda and  (23)  "to  Dante  trombetta"  hadramade a trumpet with h i s a s s " ] . h i s " a s s i s t a n t ungulata,"  put the corpse i n the c o f f i n and  "Scarmilion"  cover i t .  The  a s s i s t a n t i s about to leave when Malacoda requests "stay S c a r m i l i o n stay s t a y " which i s almost a  (Inf. 21.105).  m i l i o n to " l a y t h i s Huysum on the box" "imago" (25)  "'Posa,  Malacoda asks (24);  or p o r t r a i t of the deceased.  to  literal  t r a n s l a t i o n of Malacoda*s words i n the Inferno, posa, S c a r m i g l i o n e ! • "  him  Scar-  i t i s an  As such, i t i s  the only p a r t of the deceased to s u r v i v e , j u s t as the poem i s the only remnant of the deceased's l i f e . as an  Life  survives  "imago," a p e r f e c t s t a t e , only through a r t . F i n a l l y , the c o f f i n i s loaded  aboard a l l s o u l s / half-mast  onto the hearse, " a l l 44  aye aye"  (27-8).  The  hearse i s l i k e n e d to Charon's boat ( I n f . 3.127-9) which  44  Compare " D r a f f , " More P r i c k s than K i c k s , p.  185.  f e r r i e s the s o u l s a c r o s s the Acheron i n t o h e l l . cal  The  imagery a l s o r e c a l l s the opening o f Inferno 21,  nautiwhere  Dante d e s c r i b e s the dry-docked boats i n the Venice A r s e n a l . The f i n a l it  "nay"  (29)  i n d i c a t e s t h a t death i s not the end  i s thought t o be, and h e r e i n l i e s the u l t i m a t e  cance o f the t i t l e .  signifi-  Death i s an " e v i l end" p r e c i s e l y  because i t does not o f f e r an end, but merely o t h e r voyages upon o t h e r seas.  CHAPTER FOUR MURPHY  45 Beckett's  f i r s t n o v e l , Murphy,  than Dantesque.  i s more C a r t e s i a n  As Belacqua Shuah was  i n More P r i c k s  than K i c k s , Murphy i s beset by the macrocosm,  represented  by Neary et a l , while he i s s e a r c h i n g f o r the microcosmic s t a t e he c a l l s M s motivated  "Belacqua f a n t a s y " ( 7 8 ) .  by the outerworld's  The n o v e l i s  attempt to f i n d Murphy  and  by Murphy's attempt to f i n d the i n n e r world. The method Murphy uses to a t t a i n t h i s i n n e r i s recorded  i n the f i r s t pages of the n o v e l .  "naked i n h i s r o c k i n g c h a i r " ( 1 ) ; by r o c k i n g  world  Murphy i s furiously  he hopes to deaden h i s body t o a l l sense p e r c e p t i o n , making h i s mind autonomous.  "For i t was  not u n t i l h i s body  appeased t h a t he c o u l d come a l i v e i n h i s mind" ( 2 ) ,  was just  as Belacqua had to eat h i s l u n c h before going t o h i s  46 I t a l i a n lesson.  Thus the only way  Murphy can  attain  freedom i s by being l a s h e d naked to a hard c h a i r , and  rock-  i n g h i m s e l f n e a r l y to death, a g r i m l y i r o n i c v e r s i o n of the F l o r e n t i n e Belacqua's "sedendo et quiescendo." Into the s e r e n i t y of t h i s l i f e walks C e l i a , who  is  of the same p r o f e s s i o n as her S w i f t i a n c o u n t e r p a r t . Like •^Beckett, Murphy (New York* Grove Press, Inc., 1 9 5 7 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  46  A l s o l i k e Belacqua Shuah, Murphy " s t i g m a t i s e d work" (27), f o r work i s tantamount to c o n t a c t w i t h the outer world, which Murphy i s bent on a v o i d i n g .  the women i n More P r i c k s than K i c k s , C e l i a r e p r e s e n t s the body, by which she l i t e r a l l y i s the n o v e l ' s connotation  lives.  Paradoxically, Celia  f i g u r e o f B e a t r i c e , as the "heavenly"  o f her name suggests.  As opposed t o B e a t r i c e  who l e d Dante t o a l o v e o u t s i d e time, C e l i a wants t o l e a d Murphy t o a l o v e i n s i d e time.  Murphy succumbs but  r e f u s e s t o marry or t o get a job ( C e l i a ' s c o n d i t i o n )  until  the heavens a r e i n the r i g h t c o n j u n c t i o n and so he has C e l i a o b t a i n a (w)horoscope from Swami Suk. concern w i t h "checking  Murphy's  the s t a r r y concave" ( 2 1 ) r e c a l l s  both Dante's Belacqua, who must observe t h e heavens t o a s c e r t a i n when h i s s*ay i n the A n t e p u r g a t o r i o  expires,  and Belacqua Shuah, who however ignored s i g n s from the outer world. Murphy and C e l i a a r e most alone t o g e t h e r .  Murphy  asks C e l i a "'What do you l o v e ? ' • . . 'Me as I am.  You  can want what does n o t e x i s t , you can't l o v e i t ' " ( 3 6 ) . Murphy e x i s t s only i n h i s mind, and C e l i a cannot l o v e him there.  She can only l o v e the Murphy she does not know.  Such a s i t u a t i o n reduces a l l l o v e t o t h a t o f customer and prostitute.  I n the new lodgings t h a t Murphy and C e l i a  take, C e l i a hopes t o f i n d "the new l i f e " however, the " v i t a nuova" can be achieved "The  (64).  F o r Murphy,  only i n h i s mind.  only t h i n g Murphy was s e e k i n g was what he haid n o t  ceased t o seek from the moment o f h i s b e i n g s t r a n g l e d i n t o a s t a t e o f r e s p i r a t i o n — t h e best o f h i m s e l f "  (70-1).  51 S i n c e Murphy's energy i s d i r e c t e d inward, i t i s no wonder t h a t he f a i l s t o make c o n t a c t ( i n the form of a job) w i t h the o u t e r world.  D i s t r e s s e d a t h i s repeated  f a i l u r e s i n the outer world, he ponders: At t h i s moment Murphy would w i l l i n g l y have waived h i s e x p e c t a t i o n of Antepurgatory f o r f i v e minutes i n h i s c h a i r , renounced the l e e o f Belacqua*s rock and h i s embryonal repose, l o o k i n g down a t dawn ac r o s s the reeds [ P u r g . 1 . 1 3 0 - 6 ] t o the t r e m b l i n g of the a u s t r a l sea and the sun o b l i q u i n g t o the n o r t h as i t r o s e , immune from e x p i a t i o n u n t i l he should have dreamed i t a l l through a g a i n , w i t h the downright dreaming o f an i n f a n t , from t h e spermarium t o the crematorium. He thought so h i g h l y of t h i s post-mortem s i t u a t i o n , i t s advantages were present i n such d e t a i l t o h i s mind, t h a t he a c t u a l l y hoped he might l i v e t o be o l d . Then he would have a l o n g time l y i n g t h e r e dreaming, watching the days p r i n g run through i t s z o d i a c , b e f o r e the t o i l up the h i l l t o P a r a d i s e . The g r a d i e n t was outrageous, one i n l e s s than one. God g r a n t no godly c h a n d l e r would s h o r t e n h i s time f P u r g . 4 . 1 3 3 - 5 ] w i t h a good prayer. ( 7 7 - 8 ) "This was h i s Belacqua f a n t a s y . "  I t i s the s t a t e t o  which a l l of Beckett's c h a r a c t e r s a s p i r e :  living  l i v e s on a wholly mental l e v e l , o u t s i d e of time.  their Murphy  hopes no one w i l l pray or l i g h t a candle f o r him when he i s i n h i s Antepurgatory, f o r t h a t would only s h o r t e n his stay. Murphy's "Belacqua b l i s s " belongs t o the second o f h i s "three zones, l i g h t , h a l f l i g h t , dark, each w i t h i t s speciality" (111). to Dante's  These  zones a r e i n v e r s e l y  three post-mortal s t a t e s .  analogous  I n the zone of l i g h t ,  which f o r Dante was P a r a d i s e , "the p l e a s u r e was r e p r i s a l . "  L i g h t s i g n i f i e s and informs the o u t e r world; i n t h i s zone, Murphy's thoughts a r e c o n s c i o u s l y d i r e c t e d  first  outward.  The second zone c o n t a i n s the "Belacqua b l i s s ; " "here the p l e a s u r e was c o n t e m p l a t i o n , " Murphy b e i n g a b l e t o choose what he wished t o contemplate.  The t h i r d  zone i s "dark"  (112); darkness excludes the outer world completely, and t h e r e f o r e Murphy can become a "mote i n the dark of abs o l u t e freedom," because is his  f r e e o f the n e c e s s i t y t o choose,  free  independent o f meaning, a "matrix o f s u r d s . " I t  i n t h i s t h i r d zone t h a t Murphy seeks t o spend most o f time. A l l t h r e e zones a r e s u b j e c t t o time, and Murphy  a s p i r e s t o the c o n d i t i o n o f t i m e l e s s n e s s . are  still  His aspirations  thwarted, however, by h i s need f o r a job; he i s f i n -  a l l y h i r e d as an o r d e r l y i n an asylum, the Magdalen Mental Mercyseat.  Celia  i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t Murphy has a job and  Murphy i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t i t i s an asylum, a p a r t from the outer world. "The M.M.M. was a sanatorium, not a madhouse n o r a home f o r d e f e c t i v e s , and as such admitted only those cases whose prognoses were n o t h o p e l e s s " ( 6 0 ) .  Thus i t  i s analogous t o Purgatory; i t i s n e i t h e r the o u t e r world nor the i n n e r world, but a way between them. Celia  J u s t as  i s completely s u b j e c t t o h e r body, so the insane a r e  s u b j e c t t o t h e i r minds, as s i g n i f i e d by Mr. Endon, whose name i s Greek f o r " w i t h i n . "  Murphy i s i n h i s element.  Yet the outer world continues t o f o r c e i t s e l f upon him.  C e l i a , Neary et a l converge  on him.  Alone i n h i s  cubby-hole a t the M.M.M., Murphy r a i s e s h i s eyes t o "the 47 s t a r l e s s sky"  (251).  The sky i s o u t s i d e Murphy's mind,  and t h e r e f o r e promises no transcendence. r e s t s upon the handle of a t o i l e t  Murphy's f a t e  (a d i f f e r e n t type of  Suk); i t i s p u l l e d and he i s blown t o p i e c e s , now a l l y a "mote" i n the darkness.  liter-  Yet even a f t e r h i s death,  the outer world c o n s p i r e s a g a i n s t him.  The ashes which  he had wanted f l u s h e d down the Abbey's t o i l e t end up on a bar room f l o o r . 47 Compare "Whoroscope," l i n e 9 8 *  CHAPTER FIVE WATT Watt,  48  Beckett's l a s t E n g l i s h n o v e l , shows a t  first  glance the development of the n o v e l i s t ' s a l l u s i v e t e c h nique. ize  Compared to the baroque c i t a t i o n s which c h a r a c t e r -  More P r i c k s than K i c k s , the s t y l e i n Watt i s one  evocation.  Whereas Belacqua Shuah p l a y s w i t h words,  Watt i s plagued by them. to  our study because we  Watt i s p a r t i c u l a r l y have here f o r the f i r s t  important time  Beckett's c o n s i s t e n t use of Dantean elements as an framework.  of  ironic  Not only has Beckett quoted Dante i n Watt, but  he has a l s o c o n s t r u c t e d h i s n o v e l so as to present an i r o n i c p a r a l l e l t o the t h i r d of the Commedia's p o s t - m o r t a l states.  In t h i s sense, Watt i s a  Watt i s f i r s t  "parodyso."  seen " s e t t i n g out on a journey"  so b e g i n the Dantean p a r a l l e l s . i s the a v a t a r of "what."  Watt, as we  (15)j  soon d i s c o v e r ,  He questions e v e r y t h i n g , he  analyzes e v e r y t h i n g — h i s s m i l e , f r o g croaks, h i s s p i t t l e (for  which purpose he c a r r i e s a p o r t a b l e s p i t t o o n ) , even  nothing. ing  For God  as He was  i s no l o n g e r the source of l i f e ' s  i n Dante's cosmos.  m a n i f e s t as Godot.  i f not dead, i s as  He i s r e p r e s e n t e d as "a c i r c l e ,  broken a t i t s lowest p o i n t " (126) 48  God,  mean-  • . .  w i t h a dot not q u i t e i n  Beckett, Watt, 2nd ed. (1953? r p t . Londoni C a l d e r and Boyars, 1972""u Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  the c e n t e r , a l l u d i n g i r o n i c a l l y t o the c l a s s i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of God  as "a sphere of which the c e n t e r i s  4-9 everywhere and  the circumference  i s nowhere."  The  c o n t i n u i t y of meaning has "been i n t e r r u p t e d , and meaning must be obtained from another  source, s p e c i f i c a l l y  the i n d i v i d u a l ' s a b i l i t y t o reason as e x e r c i s e d words.  through  through  Watt, having made a v i r t u e out of n e c e s s i t y , i s a  rationalist.  His method i s t o enumerate a l l l o g i c a l  p o s s i b i l i t i e s of a g i v e n problem; h i s o b j e c t i s t o f i n d , by means of the words he uses, the answer t o the problem, or i n a l a r g e r sense the t r u t h .  By d e f i n i t i o n , Watt  must apply h i s method t o every s t i m u l u s he r e c e i v e s : the r e s u l t i s chaos.  Wat  does not d e c i p h e r , he  enciphers.  S i n c e Watt e x i s t s o n l y i n h i s mind (the legacy of the c o g i t o ) i t i s as i f h i s body were a detached witness times and  h i s "walk" (28).  found  When not walking,  i n the Belacqua  entity—  he i s some-  p o s i t i o n , " h i s knees drawn up,  h i s arms on h i s knees, and h i s head on h i s arms"  i n d i c a t i n g t h a t he, l i k e Beckett's  (31),  other c h a r a c t e r s ,  desires to r e t u r n to a p r e n a t a l existence. On h i s way  t o Knott's Watt proceeds t o the  train  s t a t i o n , where he  49 Georges P o u l e t , "The Metamorphoses of the C i r c l e , " i n Dantei A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays (New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 19o"f>)» P« 151* See a l s o J . L. Borges, " P a s c a l ' s Sphere," Other I n q u i s i t i o n s , pp. 5-8.  56 bumped i n t o a p o r t e r wheeling a m i l k c a n . . . . The p o r t e r d i d not f a l l , but he l e t go h i s can, which f e l l back w i t h a thump on i t s t i l t e d r i m . . . . On the p l a t f o r m the p o r t e r c o n t i n u e d t o wheel cans, up and down. At one end of the p l a t f o r m t h e r e was one group of cans, and a t the other end t h e r e was another. The p o r t e r chose w i t h care a can i n one group and wheeled i t t o the o t h e r . Then he chose w i t h c a r e a can i n the o t h e r and wheeled i t t o the one. He i s s o r t i n g the cans s a i d Watt. Or^perhaps i t i s a punishment f o r d i s o b e d i e n c e , or some n e g l e c t of duty. (22, 24) Watt's l a s t guess i s c o r r e c t , f o r the p o r t e r m i r r o r s the punishment meted out t o the a v a r i c i o u s and p r o d i g a l i n the f o u r t h c i r c l e of the Infernos Qui v i d i gente p i u c h ' a l t r o v e t r o p p a , e d'una p a r t e e d ' a l t r a , con g r a n d ' u r l i , r:\voltando p e s i per f o r z a d i poppa. ^ P e r c o t e a n s i i n c o n t r o ; e p o s c i a pur l i s i r i v o l g e a ciascun, voltando a r e t r o .  (Inf.  7.25-9)  [Here I saw more people than anywhere e l s e ; and on one s i d e and the other, howling, they were r o l l i n g weights w i t h t h e i r c h e s t s . They would meet w i t h a bang; then each would t u r n around and r o l l h i s weight back a g a i n . ] Here the a l l u s i o n serves p r i m a r i l y t o i d e n t i f y Watt w i t h Dante the p i l g r i m , and to i n d i c a t e t h a t h e l l i s d i s o b e d i e n t or not, we a r e punished. cance o f the a l l u s i o n i s brought  The  now;  full signifi-  out a t the end of the  novel. The m o t i f of paths and d i t c h e s , e v o c a t i v e of the I n f e r n o occurs throughout  the f i r s t p a r t of the book.  journeys " i n the middle  of the r o a d " ( 3 4 ) — " n e l mezzo  Watt  del  cammin" ( I n f . 1.1)  "Mr.  From the road Watt can  Knott's house . . .  i n the l i g h t , of the moon."  Dante too glimpses P a r a d i s e from the middle 1.16-18); i r o n i c a l l y  (Inf.  glimpse  of the road  the P a r a d i s e of Knott i s  "bathed not i n the l i g h t of the sun, but i n the  artificial  50 light  of the moon,  which image p r e f i g u r e s the  illusory  nature of Knott's p a r a d i s e , and, c o n c u r r e n t l y , of a l l knowledge. "Watt never knew how house" ( 3 5 ) .  he got i n t o Mr.  Knott's  So Dante, when he found h i m s e l f i n the  " s e l v a oscura"« "Io non so ben r i d i r com'io v ' e n t r a i " 1.10)  (Inf.  allusion  ["I cannot t e l l how  I entered t h e r e " ] .  The  i s i r o n i c i K n o t t ' s , which a t f i r s t seems p a r a -  d i s a l t o Watt, w i l l f i n a l l y be r e v e a l e d as  hell.  Upon e n t e r i n g Knott's house, Watt i s t r e a t e d to a 51  s h o r t statement In t h i s  of e p i c p r o p o r t i o n , spoken by  Arsene.  speech Arsene both encapsulates h i s own c o n d i t i o n  and p r e d i c t s i t of Watt.  He speaks of Watt as having put  "the dark ways a l l behind"  ( c f . Purg. 1 . 4 4 - 5 ) ,  which are  the ways of h e l l , and as " w a i t i n g f o r the dawn to  break,"  the dawn of the purgatory t h a t l e a d s t o p a r a d i s e . Arsene* "*°Aldo T a g l i a f e r r i i n Beckett e l ' i p e r d e t e r m i n a z i o n e l e t t e r a r i a (Milanot F e l t r i n e l l i , 196*7) notes t h a t a c c o r d ing t o Bruno, i n whom we have a l r e a d y noted Beckett's i n t e r e s t , the moon r e p r e s e n t s the s p e c u l a t i v e i n t e l l e c t . H. P o r t e r Abbott, (Berkeley- U n i v e r s i t y of states that " I f Spiro i s Beatrice." I f Arsene i s Brunette J  i n F i c t i o n of Samuel Beckett C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1 9 7 3 ) * p. 6 9 , Watt's V i r g i l , Arsene i s h i s Watt's B e a t r i c e , Watt i s Ser  58  speech i s punctuated hy h i s h i t t e r "Haw!" f o r he knows t h a t the way through Knott's leads ness, and t h a t there hell. one  only  i n t o f u r t h e r dark-  i s no d i f f e r e n c e between heaven and  F o r the more one knows Knott ("nought") the l e s s  knows, and t o know a b s o l u t e l y  everything—such are  the terms o f the P a r a d i s o — o n e must know a b s o l u t e l y not h i n g « " t o do n o t h i n g e x c l u s i v e l y would be an a c t o f the highest value"  (39)•  Yet Watt p e r s i s t s i n h i s attempts  to know, t o a s s i g n meaning t o a l l t h a t he p e r c e i v e s . A f t e r a l l u d i n g t o the "dark ways," which feeesays Watt has put behind him, Arsene l i k e n s Watt's p r e s e n t , innocent s t a t e t o t h a t o f "a face o f f e r e d , a l l t r u s t and innocence and candour, a l l t h e o l d s o i l and f e a r and weakness o f f e r e d , t o be sponged away and f o r g i v e n ! " ( 3 8 ) . Such i s Dante's face a f t e r he emerges from Inferno  t o the  shores of P u r g a t o r y i p o r s i v e r l u i [ V i r g i l i o ] l e guance l a c r i m o s e : i v i mi fece t u t t o d i s c o v e r t o quel c o l o r che 1 ' i n f e r n o mi nascose. (Purg. 1 . 1 2 7 - 9 ) [ i o f f e r e d t o him [ V i r g i l ] my t e a r - s t a i n e d cheeks; there he c l e a r l y r e v e a l e d t h a t complexion which h e l l had h i d d e n ] . Again t h e a l l u s i o n i s i r o n i c ; Watt w i l l n o t be f o r g i v e n * he i s damned by h i s need t o know. L i k e Arsene when he f i r s t  entered K n o t t ' s , Watt i s  "middle-aged" ( 3 8 ) , as was Dante when he made h i s journey. Middle-age was the time when Dante questioned a l l t h i n g s ,  i n c l u d i n g the nature of h i s own  e x i s t e n c e ; i t was  when he had t o f i n d meaning i n h i s u n i v e r s e .  a time  So Watt.  Dante, however, transcended t h i s stage; Watt, by the end of the n o v e l , i s even more confused i n h i s endeavours l e a r n something Those who the same way bolge.  of K n o t t . t r y t o understand Knott are punished i n  as the s o r c e r e r s i n the f o u r t h chasm of male-  V i n c e n t , Walter, E r s k i n e and Arsene are d e s c r i b e d  as having "a l i t t l e a little  to  f a t bottom s t i c k i n g out i n f r o n t  f a t b e l l y s t i c k i n g out behind" ( 5 7 ) .  and  This i s  e q u i v a l e n t t o the punishment a l l o t t e d t o those who  attempt  ed t o see i n t o the ways of Godi Come *1 v i s o mi scese i n l o r p i u basso, mirabilmente apparve e s s e r t r a v o l t o c i a s c u n t r a *1 mento e M p r i n c i p i o d e l casso; che d a l l e r e n i e r a t o r n a t o i l v o l t o , ed i n ^ d i e t r o v e n i r l i convenia, perche '1 veder d i n a n z i e r a l o r t o l t o . (Inf.  20.10-15)  [Lowering my gaze upon them, I found them t o be t e r r i b l y t w i s t e d between the c h i n and the b e g i n n i n g of the c h e s t , such t h a t the f a c e was turned toward the back, and they had t o walk backward s i n c e they could not look forward.] Watt's f a n t a s t i c way fernal i n f l i c t i o n . for  of walking i s a mutation of the i n He and the others are punished not  t r y i n g t o look i n t o the f u t u r e , but f o r t r y i n g t o  understand the p r e s e n t .  Both are e q u a l l y as v a i n , as  Beckett i n d i c a t e d i n "Whoroscope."  60  The  Mr. Knott Watt i s t r y i n g to understand i s de-  s c r i b e d i n terms of the d e i t y . goes . . . but seems to abide beings  "about [him]  He  " n e i t h e r comes nor  i n h i s p l a c e " (56); he  i n t i r e l e s s assiduity turning" (60);  " e t e r n a l l y t u r n i n g about [him]  i n t i r e l e s s l o v e " (61),  j u s t as the b l e s s e d r e v o l v e around God  i n the  Furthermore, Watt obtains the impression c o u l d be added to Mr.  Knott*s  that  establishment,  nothing taken away, but t h a t as i t was i n the beginning,  has  now,  Paradiso. "nothing and  from i t  so i t had  and so i t would remain i n the end"  been (129).  Arsene e x p l a i n s to Watt t h a t any attempt t o know "the u n u t t e r a b l e or i n e f f a b l e Dante experienced know God.  The  ...  i s doomed t o f a i l "  (61).  s i m i l a r f r u s t r a t i o n i n h i s attempt to  p o i n t Beckett  i s making i s t h a t our know-  ledge of i n d i v i d u a l s i s as d i f f i c u l t to o b t a i n as was knowledge of God  f o r Dante.  cannot know and we  h i s d i s c o u r s e by t e l l i n g Watt t h a t  "go by [ h i s ] s i d e " (62) f o r a w h i l e , a combination  of Knowledge and Dante's V i r g i l , and alone, it  "we  cannot be known" (49).  Arsene concludes he w i l l  As he says i n Proust,  the  then Watt must t r a v e l  "with only shades to keep [him]  company."  While  i s t r u e t h a t V i r g i l leaves Dante a t the i n c e p t i o n of  the voyage to P a r a d i s e , he i s r e p l a c e d by B e a t r i c e . B e a t r i c e comes t o Watt, however, f o r h i s world w i l l be redeemed.  Noilnot  61 Watt begins h i s s e r v i c e a t Knott's on t h e ground He i s c o n s t a n t l y c o n f r o n t e d w i t h meaningless o b l i g e d , "because  events, and i s  o f h i s p e c u l i a r c h a r a c t e r , t o enquire i n t o  what . . . they might be induced t o mean" ( 7 2 ) . on«  floor.  Watt goes  "For the only way one can speak o f n o t h i n g ["nought" /  K n o t t ] i s t o speak o f i t as though  i t were somehting"  (74),  j u s t as one can express t h e didea o f zero only when a numeric a l system precedes i t .  Watt's predicament  of having t o  a s s i g n t h i n g s a meaning by u s i n g words i s aggravated by the f a c t t h a t the o r d e r i n g p r i n c i p l e o f h i s l i f e "nought .*" 0  i s Knott/  Here, then, i s the s i t u a t i o n f a c i n g the c h a r a c -  t e r s o f the trilogy« the words (something) which one must use t o a s s i g n meaning (to nothing) obscure t h e meaning sought a f t e r , and c r e a t e one o f t h e i r own. Such a s i t u a t i o n has c u r i o u s analogues  i n the d o c t r i n e  nomina sunt consequentia rerum, t h a t the essence o f a 52 t h i n g i s s i g n i f i e d by the word t h a t designates i t .  Thus,  any g i v e n o b j e c t has a name e x p r e s s i v e o f i t s i n h e r e n t q u a l i t y : any attempt t o name i t otherwise would be meaningless.  Watt i s e x p l i c i t l y c o n f r o n t e d by t h i s  when he attempts t o name a pot (78-80).  situation  Another  factor  c o m p l i c a t i n g h i s dilemma i s t h a t he cannot see words as symbols, as p o i n t i n g beyond themselves: 52 Dante quotes t h i s formula i n V i t a Nuova 13, and a l l u d e s t o i t i n V i t a Nuova 24 and Par. 12.81. F o r p o s s i b l e sources o f t h i s d o c t r i n e see Leonardo O l s c h k i , The Myth o f F e l t ( B e r k e l e y and Los Angeles: U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1949). p. 5 1 .  62 Watt . . . had not seen a symbol, nor executed an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , s i n c e the age of f o u r t e e n . . . and . . . had l i v e d , m i s e r a b l y i t i s t r u e , among f a c e values a l l h i s a d u l t l i f e . (70) He  i s only aware of the words themselves.  not The  The  word, and  Word, i s i n c o n t r o l .  While at K n o t t ' s , Watt f u n c t i o n s as cook. he must q u e s t i o n every aspect ing  Of  of t h i s task; t h i s  assumes absurd p r o p o r t i o n s i n the e l a b o r a t e  made to ensure t h a t Knott's  course,  questionpreprations  scraps would be eaten by a  dog.  Watt's r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s have as t h e i r o b j e c t the  complete  e l i m i n a t i o n of chance, f o r i t i s e s p e c i a l l y the  irrational  which i n d i c a t e s t o Watt j u s t how  impotent i s h i s  reason,  and s i n c e he l i v e s only i n h i s mind, to doubt h i s i s to doubt h i m s e l f .  The  i r r a t i o n a l , however, cannot be  e l i m i n a t e d , f o r i t i s the p r i n c i p l e upon which the household i s run. to  reason  Knott  Given t h i s s i t u a t i o n , Watt's attempt  f i n d meaning i s absurd. Watt b e l i e v e s t h a t he w i l l be a b l e to understand  Knott by l o o k i n g him  i n the f a c e , as Dante saw  t e r i e s of c r e a t i o n c l a r i f i e d i s to no a v a i l , and  "little  i n the face of God.  gates  Yet  this  by l i t t l e Watt abandoned a l l  hope, a l l f e a r , of ever s e e i n g Mr. Knott (145).  the mys-  face to f a c e "  T h i s a l l u s i o n to the words t h a t appear over the of h e l l ,  " L a s c i a t e ogni speranza"  ( I n f . 3*9)  ["Aban-  don a l l hope"], i n d i c a t e s p r e c i s e l y where Watt's attempts to  know have l e d  him.  In the t h i r d p a r t o f the n o v e l (which takes p l a c e a f t e r the f o u r t h ) we f i n d Watt i n an asylum with h i s f r i e n d Sam, who i s t r a n s c r i b i n g Watt's s t o r y . the asylum resemble  The environs of  the " s e l v a o s c u r a " — " t h i c k e t s rose a t  every t u r n , brakes o f impenetrable d e n s i t y " ( 1 5 3 ) •  In the  asylum Sam observes Watt "advancing backwards" ( 1 5 7 ) .  like  the s o r c e r e r s a l l u d e d t o e a r l i e r , thereby f o l l o w i n g i n the t r a d i t i o n of Arsene e t a l .  H i s backward ambulation  also  r e c a l l s the prayer o f the Proud i n Purgatory, who say: Da oggi a n o i l a c o t i d i a n a manna, sanza l a q u a l per questo aspro d i s e r t o a r e t r o va c h i p i u d i g i r s ' a f f a n n a . (Purg. 1 1 . 1 3 - 1 5 ) [ G i v e us t h i s day our d a i l y manna, without which he goes backward through t h i s harsh d e s e r t who s t r i v e s most t o go forward.] I t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s "manna," the grace t o accept the i r r a t i o n a l on f a i t h , t h a t Watt l a c k s . Words a r e the only t h i n g s s t a n d i n g between Watt and meaning, y e t they a r e the only means he has t o f i n d meaning.  I f he c o u l d d e p r i v e them of t h e i r own meaning, they  would say what he wants them t o say. He t r i e s t o rob them of meaning by i n v e r t i n g the l e t t e r s i n h i s words, then by speaking h i s sentences i n r e v e r s e o r d e r .  Ironically,  he comes c l o s e s t t o the p a r a d i s a l s t a t e of knowing K n o t t / "nought" here i n the dark wood of the asylum.  In the f o u r t h and  f i n a l p a r t of the n o v e l , we  see  Watt i n h i s f i n a l days a t K n o t t ' s , b e f o r e he goes to the asylum.  He has l e a r n e d n o t h i n g of Knott, not  t h a t t h i s i s a l l he can know, and so i s s t i l l middle man  of the road"  cannot  landscape  know.  (222).  realizing " i n the  His p o s i t i o n i s s t a t i c , f o r  He a g a i n t r a v e l s  through an  iiSfemal  toward the t r a i n which, l i k e Charon's boat  ( I n f . 3 . 9 4 ) , w i l l f e r r y him t o the asylum.  His l i f e a t  Knott's has been c i r c u m s c r i b e d by B e c k e t t ' s words i n Proust: " L i f e i s a s u c c e s s i o n of P a r a d i s e s s u c c e s s i v e l y denied" It The  (26). i s i n the Addenda t h a t Beckett quotes from  aptness of the a l l u s i o n t e s t i f i e s a g a i n to B e c k e t t ' s  great f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h the Commedia. quotes, 7,  Dante.  " p a r o l e non  The words Beckett  c i a p p u l c r o " (255)»  occur i n Inferno  to which Beckett a l l u d e d a t the opening  By t h i s a l l u s i o n , Watt i s brought of the c i r c l e i s p a r t i c u l a r l y correlative  full  of the n o v e l .  circle.  The  s i g n i f i c a n t ; i t has a  image direct  i n the c i r c l e s i n which Dante's damned wander,  and as such u n i t e s the ideas of motion and  s t a s i s which  inform Beckett's work. In Inferno 7# V i r g i l p o i n t s out on one s i d e the c i o u s and  on the other the p r o d i g a l , then e x p l a i n s :  Mai dare e mal t e n e r l o mondo p u l c r o ha t o l t o l o r o , e p o s t i a questa z u f f a : qual e l l a s i a , p a r o l e non c i a p p u l c r o . (Inf.  7.58-60)  avari-  [ A v a r i c e and p r o d i g a l i t y robbed them o f the b e a u t i f u l world, and s e t them a t t h i s s t r i f e * as t o what that i s , words add n o t h i n g . ] That words convey a meaning d i s t i n c t from the one p e r c e i v e d i s one of the major themes of Watt.  What makes t h i s  a l l u s i o n so a p t i s t h a t Dante had t o c o i n the word crare  M  "appul-  ("to make b e a u t i f u l * " the l i n e means l i t e r a l l y , "as 1  to what t h a t i s , I w i l l not e m b e l l i s h i t w i t h words") i n order t o i n d i c a t e t h a t words were s u p e r f l u o u s . c e r n with the tyranny of  o f words expressed  The con-  i n Watt, the use  the Dantesque cosmology as an i r o n i c framework and the  e v o c a t i v e s t y l e a l l p r e f i g u r e the t r i l o g y , where  Beckett  achieves not only a g r e a t e r c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f content, but a concurrent  development i n form.  CHAPTER SIX MORAN Beckett used Dante's t h r e e p o s t - m o r t a l s t a t e s as  an  i r o n i c frame of r e f e r e n c e i n Watt, and as such t h a t n o v e l 53 precurses h i s use of Dante i n the Three Novels. i n one sense, Molloy i s i n f e r n a l , Malone Dies and The Unnamable p a r a d i s a l .  For,  purgatorial,  Yet the p r o g r e s s i o n i m p l i e d  by such a p a r a l l e l does not e x i s t i n the n o v e l s .  The  Unnamable i s lfo f u r t h e r a l o n g the road than Moran.  Actually,  Beckett uses the Commedia i n the t r i l o g y i n t h r e e wayss f i r s t , as an i r o n i c second,  frame of r e f e r e n c e f o r h i s own  i n v e r s e l y , t o r e p r e s e n t the r e g r e s s i o n i n t o  t h i r d , as the e x e g e t i c a l predecessor of h i s own interpretive  hell;  s e t of  levels.  C e r t a i n l y one Commedia  work;  of the major reasons Beckett chose the  as h i s a r t i s t i c  frame i s t h a t i t i s the  classic-  a l paradigm of s p i r i t u a l refinement, and as Beckett s t a t e s i n Proust, refinement  i s the t a s k of the a r t i s t , who  s e a r c h out "the i d e a l core of the onion" (16).  must  But Beckett  bears o t h e r a f f i n i t i e s w i t h the w r i t e r of the Commedia. Dante and Beckett a r e both r e l i g i o u s w r i t e r s , and  each  seeks t o c o n s t r u c t a system i n which the s e l f w i l l have meaning; i n which the s e l f w i l l be a t the c e n t e r , l i k e Hamm 53 B e c k e t t , Three Novels (New Yorkt Grove P r e s s , Inc., 1965). Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  67 who must he p r e c i s e l y who "sought  i n the c e n t e r o f h i s room o r Molloy  refuge near the c e n t r e " ( 1 1 3 ) .  F o r Dante,  meaning was found i n f i n a l causes, and there c o u l d be f i n a l i t y because t h e r e was a God who was both a l p h a and omega, a God o f whom man was the r e f l e c t i o n .  I n Beckett,  there i s no f i n a l cause; h i s c h a r a c t e r s , l i k e Hamm and Clov, cannot make an end.  Molloy s t a t e s the dilemma o f  these c h a r a c t e r s p r e c i s e l y .  " I f I speak o f p r i n c i p l e s ,  when t h e r e a r e none, I can't h e l p i t , there must be some somewhere" ( 4 6 ) . There a r e no p r i n c i p l e s ,  says Molloy, y e t r e c o g n i z e s  that t h e r e must be some o r d e r , some standard, i f he i s t o have meaning.  I n the same way, B e c k e t t ' s t r i l o g y depends  f o r i t s e x i s t e n c e upon the standards which i t d e n i e s . The t r i l o g y i s both Beckett's commentary on the f a i l u r e of Dante's system t o p r o v i d e meaning f o r contemporary man, and a testament from t h a t system.  to Ihis  i n a b i l i t y t o detach h i m s e l f  F o r i t i s the order and s t r u c t u r e o f  Dante's system t h a t g i v e s meaning t o Beckett's own. We have seen how the Dantean s t r u c t u r e c o n t a i n e d i n the Belacqua episode  (Purgs.4)  i n Beckett's thought. r e v e a l e d i n the t r i l o g y  i s particularly  important  Another major debt t o Dante i s (and l a t e r works) where the atmosphere  evoked i s t h a t o f the t h i r d canto o f the I n f e r n o , and particularly  the passage which d e s c r i b e s those i n the  v e s t i b u l e of b e l l i  68 'Questo misero modo tengon l'anime t r i s t e d i c o l o r o che v i s s e r sanza i n f a m i a e sanza l o d o . M i s c h i a t e sono a q u e l c a t t i v o coro d e l l i a n g e l i che non f u r o n r i b e l l i ne f u r f e d e l i a Dio, ma per se f o r o . C a c c i a n l i i c i e l p e r non e s s e r men b e l l i , ne l o profondo i n f e r n o l i r i c e v e , ch'alcuna g l o r i a i r e i avrebber d ' e l l i . ' E io« "Maestro, che e tanto gr§ve a l o r , che@lamentar l i f a s i f o r t e ? * Rispuosej ' D i c e r o l t i molto breve. Q u e s t i non hanno speranza d i morte, e l a l o r c i e c a v i t a e t a n t o bassa, c h ' i n v i d i o s i son d'ogni a l t r a s o r t e . Fama, d i l o r o i l mondo e s s e r non l a s s a ; m i s e r i c o r d i a e g i u s t i z i a l i sdegna: non ragioniam d i l o r , ma guarda e p a s s a . '  (Inf.  3.34-5D  [•This i s the m i s e r a b l e f a t e meted out t o the sad s o u l s o f those who l i v e d unworthy o f infamy or p r a i s e . Mixed w i t h them i s t h a t d e s p i c a b l e group o f angels who were n e i t h e r f o r r e b e l l i o n nor f o r God but f o r themselves. Heaven e x p e l l e d them, so as not t o blemish i t s beauty; the i n f e r n a l depths s h a l l n o t r e c e i v e them, f o r t h e damned might g l o r y i n them.• And 11 •Master, what causes them such g r i e f t h a t they c r y so much?' He replied« 'I w i l l t e l l you b r i e f l y . These have no hope o f death, and t h e i r b l i n d l i f e i s so low t h a t they envy every o t h e r f a t e . They have no name i n the world; mercy and j u s t i c e s c o r n them. We w i l l n o t speak of them: look and pass on.'] Those who would p l a c e t h e t r i l o g y ' s c h a r a c t e r s i n Purgatory f o r g e t B e c k e t t ' s statement  t h a t i n Purgatory t h e r e i s "ab-  s o l u t e p r o g r e s s i o n and a guaranteed "Dante...  Bruno.  Vico..  consummation^"  Joyce," p. 22  54  that  "movement i s u n i d i r e c t i o n a l , and a s t e p forward a net advance."  represents  There i s no p r o g r e s s i o n , t h e r e i s no  consummation, t h e r e i s no advance i n the world of the rtrTlqgy.  T h e i r s i s the world of the a n t i n f e r n o , the  V e s t i b u l e of h e l l , which i s not Purgatory, nor Heaven, nor  Hell. We begin our study of the t r i l o g y w i t h what  to  purports  be the most l i t e r a l of the f o u r monologues; Moran's  "report" (92).  Moran's world has the a d d i t i o n a l a t t r a c -  t i o n , f o r our purposes, one.  of being the c l o s e s t to the Dantean  Moran i s a C a t h o l i c who attends ch:urch r e g u l a r l y ,  has a r e s p e c t a b l e home l i f e and i s g a i n f u l l y employed. Oi?der and n o r m a l i t y are the o p e r a t i v e words. This orderly l i f e  i s doomed a t the f i r s t  Molloy, whom Moran i s ordered t o f i n d . d i r e c t e d toward the "outer world"  mention of  Moran's search i s  ( 1 1 4 ) , whereas Molloy's  i s d i r e c t e d toward the i n n e r world;  the motion of t h e i r  journey(s) i s repeated by the Unnamable  (316-317)  where  i t becomes c l e a r t h a t the c e n t r i p e t a l and c e n t r i f u g a l a c t i o n s s i g n i f y t h a t the quest f o r the s e l f i s an i n f i n i t e one. Moran's s e a r c h f o r Molloy i s paradigmatic  of M o l l o y * s ,  Malone's and the Unnamable*s s e a r c h f o r the s e l f .  Moran's  s e a r c h i s i n i t i a t e d by Gaber ( G a b r i e l ) , messenger of Youdi  (Diy.ou; D i e u ) , who a r r i v e s as Moran s i t s  i n h i s backyard,  surrounded  by h i s p o s s e s s i o n s ,  complacently watching  his  bees.  Gaber's message i s t h a t Moran must f i n d M o l l o y ,  t h a t he i s the only one f o r the job, and t h a t h i s son Jacques J r . must accompany him. Moran soon r e v e a l s h i m s e l f as b e i n g p a r a n o i d J  he  t h i n k s both h i s son and Martha spy on him, he w o r r i e s about the e f f e c t o f beer on the e u c h a r i s t , he f e a r s h i s cook w i l l p o i s o n him, he t h i n k s h i s neighbours hate him and c a l l him a " b a s t a r d " (97) behind h i s back.  He i s a l s o  a man o f h a b i t , and he g i v e s over much o f h i s time t o "prolonged r e f l e c t i o n "  ( 9 8 ) . Moran i s c o n f i d e n t i n h i s  a b i l i t y t o reason and t o know.  I n h i s own l i t t l e  world,  he knows a l l and i s the c h i e f of a l l , g i v i n g o r d e r s , meting out punishment,  sending people here and t h e r e .  He  i s t o h i s own world what Youdi i s t o the o u t e r world. Molloy changes a l l t h i s .  A f t e r l e a r n i n g of h i s  assignment, the e u c h a r i s t b r i n g s Moran "no r e l i e f " (102), he f i n d s h i s d i n n e r has "gone t o n o t h i n g , " Martha mocks him, he f e e l s h i s " l i f e has t u r n e d t o r a i n . "I  so s l y as a r u l e . "  [ i s ] r u n n i n g o u t , " the sunshine  "I was f l o u n d e r i n g " (105) says Moran. Moran c o u l d o f course d i s r e g a r d  Youdi*s order, y e t t o do without Youdi i s tantamount  to  " r e g a r d i n g [ h i m s e l f ] as s o l e l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r [ h i s ] wretched  e x i s t e n c e " (107), and Moran cannot face  this.  C l e a r l y , the b e l i e f i n Youdi/Diyou i s a h a b i t ; i t i s Moran's "guarantee of a d u l l i n v i o l a b i l i t y . " " ^ ^ P r o u s t , p. 8.  And l i k e  all  h a b i t s i t serves t o mask "the s u f f e r i n g o f b e i n g . "  56  God, who was i n Dante's cosmos t h e source o f b e i n g i s here t h a t which v e i l s b e i n g . Moran ponders h i s f a t e i n the dark o f h i s room, and, as i n Murphy, t h e dark i s the way i n t o the microcosm, where meaning i s t o be found. world a l l " s e n s a t i o n s " a r e " i l l u s o r y "  F o r i n the outer ( 1 1 1 ) and " i t i s  thanks t o them [Moran] f i n d [ s ] h i m s e l f a m e a n i n g " — f o r an i l l u s o r y meaning i s b e t t e r than none a t a l l , and i n the macrocosm "no i n v e s t i g a t i o n would be p o s s i b l e "  (111).  However, i t i s i n the microcosm t h a t "the prey i s l o d g e d " (110);  the prey i s Molloy, o f whom Moran p o s i t s ,  "perhaps  I had i n v e n t e d him, I mean found him ready made i n my head" ( 1 1 2 ) .  MoEan's s e a r c h f o r Molloy i s i n e f f e c t a  s e a r c h through h i s own mind f o r a meaning t h a t i s n o t illusory.  "For who c o u l d have spoken t o me o f Molloy i f  not myself and t o whom i f not t o myself c o u l d I have spoken o f him?" ( 1 1 2 ) . MoM'oy i s the i r r a t i o n a l s i d e o f Moran; as Moran says, "Just t h e o p p o s i t e o f myself" ( 1 1 3 ) . 56  Molloy i s l i k e  Proust, p. 8.  -'"'There i s a c u r i o u s a l l u s i o n t o t h e De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a i n Moran's musings on the second s y l l a b l e o f Moll o y * s name, "which might have been oy . . . o r even oc" ( (112). Dante speaks o f the languages o f "oc" and " o i l . " A. G. F. Howell n o t e s , "Oc equals L a t i n hoc ( t h i s ) ; o i l r e s u l t s from the combination o f a f f i r m a t i v e hoc w i t h i l l e ( h e ) . " See A T r a n s l a t i o n o f the L a t i n Works, note t o l i n e 4 3 , page 2 3 .  an animal, a "bear," a c c o r d i n g t o Moran.  Because Molloy  i s p a r t of Moran, they t r a v e l the same ground and  arrive  a t the same p o i n t , but do not r e c o g n i z e i t as the same, f o r "paths (165).  look d i f f e r e n t , when you go back a l o n g them"  T h e i r p e r s p e c t i v e s are completely  l o y i r r a t i o n a l and  of the i n n e r world, Moran " p a t i e n t l y  turned toward the outer world" thoughts  (114), " r e i g n i n g back h i s  w i t h i n the l i m i t s of the  There are two  o p p o s i t e , Mol-  calculable."  other aspects t o Moran's s e a r c h f o r  Molloy, besides t h a t o f t t h e Dantean s e a r c h f o r the  self.  The  self  first  i s t h a t of the a r t i s t ' s descent  i n the process of a r t i s t i c  i n t o the  creationi  The a r t i s t i c tendency i s not expansive, but a cont r a c t i o n . . . . The only f e r t i l e r e s e a r c h i s excavatory, immersive, a c o n t r a c t i o n of the s p i r i t , a descent. The a r t i s t i s a c t i v e , but n e g a t i v e l y , s h r i n k i n g from the n u l l i t y of e x t r a c i r c u m f e r e n t i a l phenomena. (Proust, 47-8) In t u r n i n g h i s back on " h i s house" (114), " h i s garden," " h i s few poor p o s s e s s i o n s , " Moran i s s h r i n k i n g from outertvworld.  He undertakes  this activity  "neither for  M o l l o y , " f o r i t does not p l a c a t e h i s i r r a t i o n a l "nor f o r [ h i m s e l f ] , " f o r the descent creases s u f f e r i n g of b e i n g  the  side,  i n t o the s e l f i n -  (witness the I n f e r n o ) ,  but on b e h a l f of a cause which, while having need of us to be accomplished, was i n i t s essence anonymous, and would s u b s i s t , haunting the minds of men, when i t s m i s e r a b l e a r t i s a n s should be no more. (114-115)  73  The s e a r c h f o r the s e l f i s epitomized by the  artistic  p r o c e s s , which form i t takes i n the Commedia, and i t i s t h i s form the s e a r c h takes throughout  the  trilogy.  The second aspect i s Molloy's s t a t u s as  "fabulous  b e i n g " (111), as chimera, as "denizen of . . . dark p l a c e s " (114).  The s e a r c h f o r Molloy i s i n t h i s sense  to the mythic  analogous  quest, such as t h a t of Odysseus, or as  Aldo T a g l i a f e r r i suggests, t h a t of Actaeon, who  became,  a f t e r s p y i n g on Diana, t h a t which he had been h u n t i n g , 58 a f a t e s i m i l a r t o Moran's. The t h r e e aspects of Moran's s e a r c h f o r Molloy, which are the s e a r c h f o r the s e l f , the a r t i s t i c  descent, and  the  quest f o r a fabulous b e i n g , are u n i t e d by the Dantean motif.  Dante's voyage i s above a l l the s e a r c h f o r the  t r u e s e l f , f o r the Godhead i n which the s e l f i s p e r f e c t e d . The  descent i n t o the i n f e r n o i s the a r t i s t i c  descent  the s e l f , r e v e l a t o r y of the s u f f e r i n g of b e i n g and ed by the presence  of V i r g i l , symbol o f p o e t r y .  into  catalys-  And  the  pagan paradigms of Dante's quest are those of Odysseus and of Jason. " I t was  then the unheard of s i g h t was  t o be seen of  Moran making ready t o go without knowing where he g o i n g " (124).  Whereas Dante's quest f o r meaning  was was  conducted i n a h i g h l y ordered way, Moran's s e a r c h i s 58 T a g l i a f e r r i , Beckett e l ' i p e r d e t e r m i n a z i o n e l e t t e r a r i a , p. 3 0 f f . H e r e a f t e r c i t e d as Beckett . . . .  through unmapped t e r r a i n and he has no one to guide He and h i s son b e g i n t h e i r journey i n a "wood" that i s "dark"—Dante's "left" "the  Sselva oscura."  him.  (127)  There they t u r n  (128), as those i n h e l l do, and t h e r e they l o s e  r i g h t road"--«la d i r i t t a v i a " ( I n f . 1.3).  Moran i s  f e a r f u l of l o s i n g h i s son i n t h i s f o r e s t , and c o n s i d e r s t y i n g Jacques J r . t o h i m s e l f , l i k e Lucky t o Pozzo. Jacques J r . i s compelled by Moran j u s t as Moran i s comp e l l e d by Gaber, who  i s compelled by Youdi, none o f them  knowing what he i s doing.  The t e r r a i n through which  Moran and h i s son t r a v e l , "the Molloy c o u n t r y " (133)» i s i n f e r n a l , r e m i n i s c e n t of t h a t through which Watt t r a v e l l e d to Knott's. Moran f e e l s  L i k e those who  course through h e l l ,  "as i f [he] were dead" ( 1 3 5 ) » and l i k e a l l  of B e c k e t t ' s c h a r a c t e r s , the Belacqua p o s i t i o n , i n . . . arms" and " c h i n on . . . knees" n a t u r a l l y t o him. literally  (136)  "legs comes  L i k e Belacqua, Moran yearns "to be  i n c a p a b l e of motion" w i t h " j u s t enough b r a i n  i n t a c t t o a l l o w [him] t o e x u l t " (140). Alone i n the dark wood, h i s son having l e f t t o purechase a b i c y c l e ,  Moran i s a c c o s t e d by a man  heavy coat and c a r r y i n g a massive c l u b . t h a t of . . . one who like V i r g i l , I.63)  wearing a  "His accent  was  had l o s t the h a b i t of speech" (146),  " c h i per lungo s i l e n z i o parea f i o c o " ( I n f .  ["whose v o i c e through l o n g s i l e n c e  when he a c c o s t s Dante i n the dark wood.  appeared weak"], But t h i s  intruder  75 does not guide Moran t o the l i g h t , he giv§s no  spiritual  guidance t o Moran, whose world i s i n r u i n s t And what I saw was more l i k e a crumbling, a f r e n z i e d c o l l a p s i n g of a l l t h a t had always p r o t e c t e d me from a l l I was always condemned t o be. Or i t was l i k e a k i n d of c l a w i n g towards a l i g h t and countenance I c o u l d not name, t h a t I had once known and l o n g denied. (148) Moran's world i s i n r u i n s because he i s no l o n g e r s u b j e c t to the h a b i t s he had developed i n s o c i e t y .  Here he i s  c o n f r o n t e d w i t h the i r r a t i o n a l i t y , the u n a c c o u n t a b i l i t y , of h i s own  b e i n g , f o r which he must f i n d a shape.  i n the s p i r i t u a l c o n d i t i o n of Dante, who,  He i s  from the dark  wood c o u l d see the " r a g g i d e l p i a n e t a / che mena d r i t t o ( I n f . 1 . 1 7 - 1 8 ) ["the rays of the  a l t r u i per ogni c a l l e "  p l a n e t t h a t best guides men s e l f powerless  on every road"] but was  t o move u n t i l helped by the w i l l of  o p e r a t i n g through V i r g i l .  F o r Moran, however, the  when he does a r r i v e , i s only a source of torment. man  Moran meets he beats t o "a p u l p " Finally  God, Other, The  next  (151)•  Moran's son r e t u r n s w i t h a b i c y c l e on which  they s e t o f f " d o w n h i l l " ( 1 5 7 ) » toward "fiends," "furies"  (166;  the dead;" t r a v e l l i n g muddy [ c f . I n f . 6 ]  c f . | i f . 9-38)  across " i c y [ c f .  solitudes" (168),  home, encountering and  "phantoms of  Inf. 3 2 - 3 4 ] ,  .  .  .  Abandoned by h i s  son, Moran i s e v e n t u a l l y found by Gaber, who  relates  Youdi's message* "Moran, Jacques, home, i n s t a n t e r " His  him-  (163).  a c t i o n s w i l l e d by another, Moran crawls onward; l i k e  Dante's Ulysses  ( a l s o w i l l e d by another [ i n f .  26.l4l]$> he  moves toward a d i s s o l u t i o n t h a t i s n e i t h e r an end n o r a beginning.  As Moran s a y s , "I knew t h a t a l l was about t o  end, o r t o b e g i n a g a i n , i t l i t t l e mattered which"  (161).  While he crawls on, he asks h i m s e l f q u e s t i o n s , none of  which he c a n answer.  Confronted w i t h t h e i r r a t i o n a l ,  Moran, l i k e Watt, r e a l i z e s the f u t i l i t y "I  o f knowledge*  do not know, . . . i t i s too soon t o know, I simply  do n o t know, perhaps s h a l l never know" (105). he i s not the f i r s t the  He r e a l i z e s  t o have no answers, t h a t t h e r e were  o t h e r s , "Murphy, Watt"  (168).  His fate mirrors  their  own. While c r a w l i n g a l o n g , Moran t h i n k s above a l l o f the dance o f h i s bees, which " i n v o l v e d a g r e a t v a r i e t y o f f i g u r e s and rhythms" (168).  After a f u l l  investigation,  Moran i n t e r p r e t s t h i s dance t o be "a system o f signals,!* a  language.  Each f i g u r e i s m o d i f i e d by a hum, and by "the  h e i g h t a t which the f i g u r e was executed" ( I 6 9 ) .  Moran  goes on. And I a c q u i r e d the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t the selfsame f i g u r e , accompanied by the selfsame hum, d i d n o t mean a t a l l the same t h i n g a t twelve f e e t from the ground as i t d i d a t s i x . F o r the bees d i d not dance at any l e v e l , haphazard, but t h e r e were t h r e e o r f o u r l e v e l s , always the same, a t which they danced. Moran i s o b v i o u s l y d e s c r i b i n g a system of communication. And i t i s n o t a simple system but operates on "three or four l e v e l s . "  These t h r e e o r f o u r l e v e l s correspond t o  the a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l s i n the Commedia.  59  In t h i s a s p e c t ,  each monologue of the t r i l o g y r e l a t e s the same events, but a t d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s o f a b s t r a c t i o n , as the  literal,  a l l e g o r i c a l , moral and a n a g o g i c a l l e v e l s r e p r e s e n t the 60 same event s u c c e s s i v e l y a b s t r a c t e d i n the Commedia. There i s an a l l u s i o n i n Moran's d i s c o u r s e on h i s bees t o the c l a s s i c defense of a l l e g o r y i n the P a r a d i s e Although Moran admits he cannot understand the u l t i m a t e import of the bees' dance, he goes on t o say, "I would never do my bees the wrong I had done my God,  t o whom  I had been taught to a s c r i b e my angers, f e a r s ,  desires,  and even my body" ( 1 6 9 ) .  T h i s r e c a l l s B e a t r i c e ' s explana-  t i o n t o Dante o f the presence of the s o u l s i n the v a r i o u s 61 spheres God  when she has a l r e a d y t o l d him t h a t a l l a r e w i t h  i n the empyrean; they are arranged i n t h i s way  Dante may  so t h a t  more r e a d i l y understand what he sees*  Per questo l a S c r i t t u r a condescende a v o s t r a f a c u l t a t e , e p i e d i e mano a t t r i b u i s c e a Dio, ed a l t r o indende. (Par. 4 . 4 3 - 5 ) ^ S u g g e s t e d by T a g l i a f e r r i , Beckett • . 2 , pp. 121 f f . 60 See Dante's " E p i s t o l a 10, t o Can Grande," i n A T r a n s l a t i o n of the L a t i n Works, paragraph 7» PP* 3^7-8. 61 The s o u l s are compared t o bees, Par. 31*7• The bees are r e l a t e d s p e c i f i c a l l y t o the human plane i n Moran's desc r i p t i o n o f h i s route as a " b e e - l i n e " (173). Note a l s o "Dante... Bruno. V i c o . . J o y c e , " "the words dance" (14), and Molloy's n a r r a t i v e , "thought and f e e l i n g dance" (10).  [ i n t h i s way something  the S c r i p t u r e s accommodate your i n t e l l i hands to God, and meaning else.J 62  The ^trilogy i s a l l e g o r i c a l f  i n that i t describes  the  unknown, but Real, i n terms of the known, but f i c t i o n a l . Or, i n Beckett's words, the "message of g e n e r a6 l3 s i g n i f i cance" i s conveyed through "a fabulous form." " Thus, Dante w r i t e s of meeting a l e o p a r d i n a dark wood, where he means he was  beset by l u s t i n h i s moral u n c e r t a i n t y .  The m a t e r i a l world f a m i l i a r but r e a l s p i r i t u a l w o r l d .  to a l l i m p l i e s the u n f a m i l i a r The  a b s t r a c t i o n of the  sense leads u l t i m a t e l y to the a b s o l u t e wherein a l l meaning r e s i d e s . and  material  s p i r i t u a l sense,  Remove t h i s u l t i m a t e  the a b s t r a c t i o n progresses  infinitely.  The  level  goal  of  a l l e g o r y i s not i t s c o n t i n u a t i o n , but i t s d i s s o l u t i o n ; the end  of appearance and the beginning  Not  of r e a l i t y .  only i s the u l t i m a t e l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n absent  i n Beckett's  world, but the words used t o s i g n i f y are  the s l a v e s of the w r i t e r s , but t h e i r masters. t h e r e i s n o t h i n g to express,  not  For i f  u l t i m a t e l y , then words (some-  t h i n g ) d e t r a c t from t h a t meaning ( n o t h i n g ) , and words used t o express the n o t h i n g more r e a l , the f u r t h e r away one  the more  than which n o t h i n g  is  gets from t h a t r e a l i t y .  62 Frank Kermode was the f i r s t to c a l l Beckett an " a l l e g o r i s t , " i n "Samuel B e c k e t t , " C o n t i n u i t i e s (London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l ) , 1968, p. 174. "Dante...  Bruno.  Vico..  Joyce," p.  12.  79  Thus we The  have, as T a g l i a f e r r i n o t e s ,  "A work i n r e g r e s s . "  64  words t h a t obscure and the i n f i n i t e l e v e l s of a b s t r a c -  t i o n are the terms of the B e c k e t t i a n i n f e r n o , an i n f e r n o which r e p r e s e n t s , however, the only p o s s i b l e d i r e c t i o n i n which the a r t i s t can move.  As Moran says,  [ i s ] an excess of language" (116).  " a l l language  Yet Moran must w r i t e ;  he has no c h o i c e , as he e x p l a i n s * " I f I submit t o t h i s p a l t r y s c r i v e n i n g which i s not of my reasons very d i f f e r e n t from those I am  still  to w r i t e J  obeying  t h a t might be  orders" (131).  supposed.  So Dante i s compelled  "'quel che v e d i , / r i t o r n a t o d i l a , f a che  s c r i v e ' " (Purg. 32.104-5) ["'write have r e t u r n e d t h e r e ' " ] .  And  what you  t i o n s of which Beckett  tu  see, when you  so the s o u l s i n h e l l  compelled to speak when questioned  Not  province, i t i s f o r  are  by Dante, the i m p l i c a -  explores d r a m a t i c a l l y i n Play  and  I. Moran's p h y s i c a l d e c l i n e a t the end  m i r r o r s the r e g r e s s i o n o f h i s quest. appearance suggests  h i s modified  of h i s  journey  His changed p h y s i c a l  inner being.  The  house  he r e t u r n s t o i s wrecked, the garden a shambles, the bees and  hens dead.  Moran's journey wood.  As Moran has changed so has  his  ends where Molloy*s  i n the  Moran's quest and 64  Molloy's  begins,  world. dark  are complementary*  just  /T a g l i a f e r r i , Beckett . . . , p. 26. Ruby Cohn, i n Back t o Beckett (New Jersey* P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 7 3 ) * P» xv, s t a t e s t h a t B e c k e t t has a c t u a l l y w r i t t e n a work of t h i s t i t l e .  80 as Moran's ends where Molloy's begins, so Molloy*s ends i n the room, where Moran's b e g i n s .  Each t r a v e l s toward  the b e g i n n i n g of the other; n e i t h e r makes an end.  Toward  the c o n c l u s i o n of h i s r e p o r t , Moran r e l a t e s t h a t he i s " c l e a r i n g out"  ( 1 7 5 ) ; a t the end  of h i s n a r r a t i v e Molloy  longs "to go back i n t o the f o r e s t " ( 9 1 ) •  Together, t h e i r  quests form a c i r c u l a r s s y s t e m , or, i n terms of the g o r i c a l l e v e l s on which t h e i r n a r r a t i v e s are Moran's quest p r e f i g u r e s a l l the others; simulacrum. i n search  written,  i t is their  T h i s e t e r n a l c i r c l i n g t h a t admits of no  long drama of the people who  they are not y e t , who 65 themselves." s t a r t o f f again, searching "And  progress,  of a s e l f t h a t i s never found, i s p r e c i s e l y the  c o n d i t i o n of the v e s t i b u l e of h e l l , where Dante ed "the  alle-  represent-  wait t o be t h a t which  s t r u g g l e p a i n f u l l y in, the search  A f t e r Moran f i n i s h e s h i s r e p o r t , he t h i s time on c r u t c h e s ,  like  11  for  will  Molloy,  f o r someone he w i l l never r e a l i z e i s h i m s e l f .  perhaps he t h i n k s each journey i s the f i r s t .  This  would keep hope a l i v e , would i t not, h e l l i s h hope" ( 1 3 3 ) • 65 S i l v i o Pasquazi, "Antinferno,!' E n c i c l o p e d i a Dantesca (Roma. I s t i t u t o D e l i a E n c i c l o p e d i a I t a l i a n a , 1 9 7 0 ) , p. 3 0 2 .  CHAPTER SEVEN MOLLOY Molloy*s n a r r a t i v e repeats many of the d e t a i l s i n Moran*s r e p o r t . ed hy a "man  who  Molloy*s w r i t t e n n a r r a t i v e i s c o l l e c t -  comes every week" (7) on a "Sunday" ( 8 ) ,  as Gaber came to Moran ( c f . p. 175)» too.  found  and t h i s man  Moran and Molloy dress s i m i l a r l y and they  s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s on t h e i r journeys, which are through a s i m i l a r l y i n f e r n a l landscape. not e x a c t l y the same.  The  drinks encounter  taken  " S i m i l a r , " yet  events are the same, but the  p e r c e i v e r i s d i f f e r e n t * Molloy*s n a r r a t i v e i s Moran's a t a d i f f e r e n t l e v e l of p e r c e p t i o n , and s i n c e each of the t r i l o g y ' s c h a r a c t e r s moves ever more deeply i n t o the c l o s e r t o the essence  self,  of b e i n g , each of t h e i r n a r r a t i v e s  r e p r e s e n t s a g r e a t e r l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n than the p r e c e d i n g . Molloy's n a r r a t i v e begins a t the end of h i s journey, as d i d Dante's, but without the transcendent  self-knowledge  t h a t Dante a c h i e v e d .  In f a c t , Molloy*s s i t u a t i o n i s no  b e t t e r than h e l l .  i s " i n [ h i s ] mother's room" (7)»  He  but, he says, "I don't know how  I got t h e r e , " echoing  Dante i n the dark wood (and Watt i n K n o t t ' s ) * "Io non ben r i d i r com'io v ' e n t r a i " ( I n f . 1.10) I entered t h e r e " ] .  tell  how  Molloy's c o n d i t i o n i s t h a t of the  dark wood* he i s l o s t , he knows not how i s , nor why  ["I cannot  so  he went t h e r e .  he got where he  He only knows t h a t he has r e -  gressed t o h i s mother's room.  82 L i k e Moran, Molloy p o s i t s v a r i o u s l e v e l s t o h i s narative*  "This time, then once more I t h i n k , then per-  haps a l a s t t i m e " ( 8 ) — M o l l o y * s n a r r a t i v e , then Malone's, then the Unnamable's.  Molloy i s compelled t o w r i t e ,  Moran and the o t h e r s .  One  i s the meeting of A and C.  like  of the f i r s t events he r e l a t e s G i s dressed i n a g r e a t c o a t ,  and c a r r i e s a " s t o u t s t i c k " (10), c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o the c h a r a c t e r Moran meets i n the dark wood (p. 146).  Molloy  observes C from a p o s i t i o n l i k e t h a t which Belacqua occupied i n Antepurgatory* I was perched h i g h e r than the road's h i g h e s t p o i n t and f l a t t e n e d what i s more a g a i n s t a rock the same c o l o u r as myself, t h a t i s grey. The rock he probabl y saw. He gazed around as i f t o engrave the l a n d marks on h i s memory and must have seen the rock i n the shadow of which I crouched l i k e Belaqua [ s i c ] , or S o r d e l l o f P u r g . 6 . 7 4 ] , I f o r g e t . (10) As i s t y p i c a l of B e c k e t t ' s c h a r a c t e r s , Molloy w i t h Belacqua  (who a l s o observed two  shadow of a r o c k ) .  identifies  s t r a n g e r s from the  S o r d e l l o , d e s c r i b e d by Dante as  i n se r o m i t a " (Purg. 6 . 7 2 )  "tutta  ["completely s e l f - a b s o r b e d " ]  a l s o epitomizes t h a t s t a t e of i n n e r b e i n g a l o o f from the macrocosm and o u t s i d e of time to which B e c k e t t ' s c h a r a c t e r s have a s p i r e d s i n c e Shuah.  66  In a passageffrom the unpublished "Dream of F a i r to M i d d l i n g Women" quoted by Lawrence E. Harvey i n Samuel B e c k e t t , p. 316, Beckett a l s o a l l u d e s t o S o r d e l l o and uses the phrase " r a c c o l t a a s e " ["completely s e l f - o c c u p i e d " ] t o d e s c r i b e S o r d e l l o , which corresponds t o V e l u t e l l o ' s " t u t t a i n se r a c o l t a , " quoted by H. F. Cary, The V i s i o n of Dante, note t o Purg. 6 . 7 2 , p. 2 2 3 .  But Molloy i s not i n p u r g a t o r i o ; he i s i n h e l l , the landscape  "endless roads, sands [ i n f . 3;  indicates*  . . . hogs [ I n f . 6 ) ] " (12), 7 ] " and  as 15],  "ramparts [ i n f . 8 ] , " "mud [ i n f .  "scum [ i n f . 1 8 ] " ( 1 4 ) .  Of t h i s landscape,  Molloy  says, " i f i t happens t h a t I speak of the s t a r s i t i s by mistake"  (15)  f o r the " s t e l l e " are v i s i b l e only a f t e r  has e x i t e d from h e l l .  one  There i s no e x i t from Molloy*s  f o r i t i s " w i t h i n , a l l t h a t i n n e r space one never  sees,  the b r a i n and heart and other caverns where thought f e e l i n g dance t h e i r sabbath"  (10).  hell,  and  Molloy*s h e l l i s  67  " i s s u e l e s s " (13).  S i n c e Molloy e x i s t s only i n h i s  own  mind, e v e r y t h i n g o u t s i d e of i t r e p r e s e n t s a u n i v e r s e as v a s t as t h a t of the e p i c cosmos. . . . of my my  As he says, "the c o n f i n e s  body are as remote from me as were those of  r e g i o n , i n the days of my  splendour"  (66).  of Molloy*s pockets are as f a r from him and as  The  contents  mysterious  68  as was  the primum mobile  f o r Dante,  and l i k e Dante, Molloy  c r e a t e s i n s i d i o u s l y complicated systems i n order t o understand h i s u n i v e r s e — w i t n e s s the s u c k i n g stone sequence (69-74).  When Molloy has o c c a s i o n t o speak of h i s c l o t h e s  ( p a r t of the p r o c e s s , which Malone s t r e t c h e s t o a b s u r d i t y , Compare Lessness (Londoni C a l d e r and Boyars, 1 9 7 0 ) , p. 7 » "Blacked out f a l l e n open f o u r w a l l s over backwards t r u e refuge i s s u e l e s s . " Lessness draws on I n f . 1 4 , where the blasphemers a g a i n s t God are punished i n a d e s e r t of burning sand, on which they l i e p r o s t r a t e . 68  In the same way, Malone comments on the g r e a t tance between h i m s e l f and h i s f e e t ( 2 3 4 ) .  dis-  84  of naming the u n i v e r s e ) he says he w i l l only d i s c u s s them fully  "when the time comes t o draw up the i n v e n t o r y of  [ h i s ] goods and p o s s e s s i o n s " (14); t h i s i n v e n t o r y i s the e p i c catalogue of a shrunken u n i v e r s e . In h i s h e l l , Molloy i s tormented by demons i n the 69  g u i s e of policemen.  He i s imprisoned, then m y s t e r i o u s l y  r e l e a s e d , and continues "on [ h i s ] way, he knew n o t h i n g " ( 2 6 ) .  t h a t way  of which  "For I d i d not know i f i t was  r i g h t r o a d " ( 3 0 ) says Molloy, v i a era s m a r r i t a " ( I n f . 1 . 3 ) He reaches a "canal-bank"  the  j u s t as f o r Dante " l a d i r i t t a ["the r i g h t road was  lost"].  ( 2 6 ; c f . "Enueg IJ*" "the  livid  canal") where he sees a "boatman" w i t h a "long white  beard"  l i k e Charon, boatman f o r the damned. The r i g h t road f o r Molloy i s the one t h a t leads to h i s mother; i r o n i c a l l y , i t i s the road through h e l l . h i s way  On  through t h i s h e l l i s h landscape, Molloy a r r i v e s  a t a c i t y l i k e Dis ( I n f . 9 ff») which he cannot  name—  " i t ' s too d i f f i c u l t t o say" ( 3 1 ) » echoing Dante's h o r r o r of h e l l : [ "It  "Quanto a d i r q u a l e r a e cosa dura" ( I n f . 1 . 4 )  i s hard t o say how  i t was"].  He cannot name the c i t y  because i t has no meaning i f he h i m s e l f has no meaning, as he i n t i m a t e s i n h i s next breath« "And i d e n t i t y was trate."  even my  sense  of  wrapped i n a namelessness o f t e n hard t o pene-  (Here of course we have the Unnamable).  Meaning  r e s i d e s only i n words« as Molloy s t a t e s , " A l l I know i s ^Compare the C i v i c Guard i n "A Wet Than K i c k s .  N i g h t , " More P r i c k s  what t h e words know."  Yet t h a t knowledge i s n o t r e a l but  i l l u s o r y , f o r "saying i s inventing" ( 3 2 ) . In t h i s c i t y he cannot name, Molloy i s g r e e t e d by " a l l these f e e t and hands, stamping,  c l u t c h i n g , clenched  i n v a i n , these bawling mouths" ( 3 ^ - 5 ) » which r e c a l l s Dante d e s c r i p t i o n of those i n the v e s t i b u l e o f hell« Diverse lingue, o r r i b i l i f a v e l l e , parole d i dolore, a c c e n t i d ' i r a , v o c i a l t e e f i o c h e , e suon d i man con e l l e (Inf. 3 . 2 5 - 7 ) [Strange speech, h o r r i b l e s a y i n g s , words o f sorrow, angry shouts, v o i c e s both l o u d and f a i n t , and a sound l i k e hands c l a p p i n g . ] Here he runs over a dog, and i s saved from the attendant mob by a Mrs. Loy o r Lousse.  Lousse  i s associated with  the e a r t h i n i t s p o s i t i v e and n e g a t i v e a s p e c t s — s h e b u r i e s the dog which Molloy r a n over, and sows seeds  on the grave  She p l y s Molloy "with d e l i c a c i e s " ( 3 7 ) » washes him and c l o t h e s him.  Her l o n g d i s c o u r s e s a r e b a s i c a l l y  unintelli-  g i b l e t o Molloy, but he does come t o understand t h a t he may remain w i t h h e r f o r the r e s t o f h i s l i f e , freedom.  i n total  Although Molloy has p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d t h a t he  has need of no one, he s t a y s a t Lousse's haps" ( 5 1 ) .  f o r "a year p e r -  The only reason Molloy can f i n d f o r t h i s  s o j o u r n a g a i n s t h i s w i l l i s t h a t he was not a t l i b e r t y t o do otherwise.  86 Such r e a s o n i n g goes counter t o Molloy's i d e a of f r e e dom, which he expresses hy the image o f o l d G e u l i n c x , . . . who l e f t [ M o l l o y ] f r e e , on the b l a c k boat o f U l y s s e s , t o c r a w l towards the E a s t , a l o n g the deck. That i s a g r e a t measure o f freedom, f o r him who has not the p i o n e e r i n g s p i r i t . And from the poop, p o r i n g upon the wave, a s a d l y r e j o i c i n g s l a v e , I f o l l o w w i t h my eyes t h e proud and f u t i l e wake. Which, as i t bears me from no f a t h e r l a n d away, bears me onward t o no shipwreck. ( 5 1 ) The a l l u s i o n t o " U l y s s e s " and " s h i p w r e c k "  fK)  r e c a l l s Dante's  v e r s i o n o f U l y s s e s ' l a s t voyage ( I n f . 2 6 ) , where, s a i l i n g West, t h e Greek s u f f e r s shipwreck tory.  i n s i g h t o f Mount Purga-  The westward movement o f the s h i p renders even more  i r n o i c a l Molloy's eastward movement o f "freedom," which i s i n f a c t a savagely i r o n i c a l r e d u c t i o n o f Dante's s o g g i a c e t e " (Purg. 1 6 . 8 0 ) [ " f r e e s u b j e c t s " ] .  "liberi  Ulysses*  '""Shipwreck" i s a l s o an a l l u s i o n t o L e o p a r d i ' s poem " L * i n f i n i t o , " i n which the poet d e s c r i b e s the shipwreck o f h i s thoughts. I n h i s monologue, Molloy quotes from L e o p a r d i . Speaking o f h i s impotence, he quotes "non che l a speme i l d e s i d e r i o " ( 3 5 ) from the poem "A se s t e s s o " ["To H i m s e l f " ] . The l i n e means, i n c o n t e x t , "not only the hope [ b u t ] the d e s i r e | i s gone]." T h i s poem a l s o f u r n i s h e d the epigraph to P r o u s t , "E fango e i l mondo" ["and the world i s mud;" the l i n e c o n t a i n s a pun, e u p h e m i s t i c a l l y rendered as "and screw the w o r l d " ] . ( T h i s epigraph has been omitted i n the 1965 e d i t i o n o f Proust and Three D i a l o g u e s ) . Leopardi's "fango" i s i t s e l f an a l l u s i o n t o I n f . 7 . 1 0 9 - 1 1 1 . both o f which evoke the world o f How I t I s . Leopardi's i n f l u e n c e on Beckett's works i s g r e a t ; see e s p e c i a l l y the Z i b a l d o n e . The best (but s t i l l i n s u f f i c i e n t ) c o m p i l a t i o n o f Leopardian echoes i n Beckett has been made by Renato O l i v a i n Samuel B e c k e t t : Prima d e l s i l e n z i o (Milano: Mursia, 1 9 6 7 ) . F o r the poems noted above see Giacomo L e o p a r d i , S e l e c t e d Prose and Poetry, t r a n s . I r i s Origo and John Heath-StuBbs (Toronto: New American L i b r a r y , 1 9 6 7 ) . pp. 2 0 4 , 2 6 6 .  punishment i n the e i g h t h b o l g i a i s t o be sheathed tongue of flame.  Each word he u t t e r s — a n d he has no c h o i c e  when questioned but t o a n s w e r — i n c r e a s e s are the agent  in a  h i s torment* words  of h i s damnation, as they are of the  t e r s i n the t r i l o g y .  The  image suggested by Molloy a l s o  conveys the i d e a t h a t without a beginning t h e r e can be no end  charac-  ("shipwreck").  ("fatherland")  Thus the quest f o r the  beginning, as d i s c u s s e d i n the chapter on Moran (see above p. 80). The a l l u s i o n t o Ulysses a l s o serves t o i d e n t i f y patroness as C|2rce, who,  Ulysses s t a t e s , " s o t t r a s s e /  p i u d'unnanno" ( I n f . 2 6 . 9 1 - 2 ) ["kept me year"[J.  f o r more than  Molloy's me one  As C i r c e , Lousse i s the prelude t o the under-  w o r l d — O d y s s e u s v i s i t s T e i r e s i a s , who a t sea, a f t e r he l e a v e s C i r c e .  p r e d i c t s h i s death  Yet as E r i c h Neumann p o i n t s  out, C i r c e i s but an aspect of the a r c h e t y p a l Great Mother? s p e c i f i c a l l y she r e p r e s e n t s the aspect of "the c h a r a c t e r of enchantment l e a d i n g t o doom," the n e g a t i v e aspect of the Great Mother, which i s suggested by Lousse's b u r y i n g the 72 dog. Yet there i s a l s o a p o s i t i v e aspect t o Lousse, namely the p l a n t i n g of the seeds.  In a d d i t i o n t o the a s s o c i a -  Note a l s o t h a t Lousse "drugged" (53) Molloy's food and d r i n k . 72 E r i c h Neumann, The Great Mother ( 1 9 5 5 ; r p t . P r i n c e ton* P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 7 2 ) , p. 81. See a l s o "Schema I I I " f a c i n g p. 82. Note t h a t the moon i s the symbol of the Great Mother, and compare Molloy's l u n a r musings, p. 39* Lousse's f i r s t name, "Sophie" (35) suggests the Sophia which i s the " s p i r i t u a l whole" (Neumann, p. 3 2 5 ) •  88 t i o n w i t h f e r t i l i t y , t h e r e i s the c o n n e c t i o n w i t h Dante's Matelda,  c u s t o d i a n o f the garden o f the E a r t h l y Paradise 73  (Purg. 2 8 - 3 3 ) •  Matelda  the summit o f Purgatory  bathes the s o u l s who have  reached  i n the r i v e r o f Lethe and g i v e s  them t o d r i n k o f t h e r i v e r o f Eunoe. Lousse*s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h C i r c e , the n e g a t i v e aspect  ( d e a t h / b u r i a l ) o f the Great Mother, has another  ramifications The underworld, t h e e a r t h womb, as the p e r i l o u s l a n d of the dead through which t h e deceased must pass, e i t h e r t o be judged t h e r e and t o a r r i v e a t a c h t h o n i c realm o f s a l v a t i o n o r doom o r t o pass through t h i s t e r r i t o r y t o a new and h i g h e r e x i s t e n c e , i s one o f t h e a r c h e t y p a l symbols' o f the T e r r i b l e Mother.74 T h i s i s the womb t h a t Molloy and the others seek out, t h e womb t h a t w i l l not, however, be t h e end o f t h e i r quest but the t h r e s h o l d o f the end, as indeed the Unnamable s t a t e s i n h i s l a s t words t h a t he i s a t "the t h r e s h o l d o f [ h i s ] s t o r y , before the door t h a t opens on [ h i s ] s t o r y " For one enters t h e womb e i t h e r t o be judged  (4l4).  o r t o pass t o  a h i g h e r e x i s t e n c e , and f o r the t r i l o g y ' s c h a r a c t e r s , neither i s possible.  They l i v e on t h e b r i n k o f b e i n g .  Molloy's  "mother's room" ( 7 ) i s i n f a c t the womb i n i t s  negative  aspect:  '^Matelda r e p r e s e n t s the a c t i v e l i f e ; note Molloy's r e f e r e n c e t o "the a c t i v e arid the c o n t e m p l a t i v e " ( 5 2 ) . 74  Neumann, The Great Mother, p. 157 •  89 the deadly devouring maw o f the underworld, • . . the abyss o f h e l l , t h e dark h o l e o f t h e depths, t h e devouring womb of the grave and o f death, o f darkness without l i g h t , o f n o t h i n g n e s s . ' 5 While s t a y i n g i n Lousse's garden, Molloy, l i k e Moran, f e e l s he i s b e i n g " s p i e d on . . . [from] behind the bushes" '('53) • (59)»  He f i n a l l y escapes from Lousse and her " s p e l l s " t a k i n g w i t h him some s i l v e r and a k n i f e r e s t .  He  limps a l o n g on h i s c r u t c h e s , l i k e those "who have t o f a s t e n one f o o t t o the ground b e f o r e they dare l i f t (64).  up the o t h e r "  H i s walk r e c a l l s Belacqua Shuah's "spavined gait,"''^  both o f which have t h e i r antecedent i n Dante's limp i n the dark wood ( I n f . 1 . 3 0 ; see above p. 2 5 ) • which i s where Molloy f i n d s h i m s e l f . the darkness o f these towering f o r e s t s , these g i a n t f r o n d s , where I hobble, l i s t e n , f a l l , r i s e , l i s t e n and hobble on, wondering sometimes, need I say, i f I s h a l l ever see a g a i n the hated l i g h t . ( 7 8 ) Dante emerged from the wood "a r i v e d e r l e s t e l l e " 139) s  (Inf. 3^.  ["to see the s t a r s a g a i n " ] , but Molloy e n t e r t a i n s no  such hope. Molloy t r a v e l s i n "a c i r c l e " ( 6 5 ) through the wood, " i n an Egypt without bounds" ( 6 6 ) , an Egypt without hope of redemption.  He r e s t s o c c a s i o n a l l y , then resumes h i s  "^Neumann, p. 149. "^"Dante and the L o b s t e r , " More P r i c k s than K i c k s , p. 1 5 .  90 "spirals"  (68), which i s the same way the Unnamable t r a v e l s  (316-7), both o f them "above i n f e r n a l depths" (79)» i n the Vestibule. As Molloy moves on, away from the seashore, he f i n d s that he becomes weaker and s i c k e r , as d i d Moran toward the end of h i s journey; both of them experience ing  o f the l e g s .  stiffen-  Molloy a p o l o g i z e s f o r r e l a t i n g much t o  do w i t h h i s weaknesses, but " ' t i s [ h i s ] muse w i l l have i t so" at  (79)»  Molloy i s a t the mercy of h i s muse as Moran i s  the mercy of Youdi.  Furthermore,  Molloy says, "I knew  only i n advance, f o r when the time came I knew no l o n g e r " (82),  which i s t o say he sees l i k e those i n h e l l : 'Noi veggiam, come quei c'ha mala l u c e , l e cose* d i s s e 'che ne son lontano; cotanto ancor ne splende i l sommo duce. Quando s'appressano 0 son, t u t t o e vano n o s t r o i n t e l l e t t o ; e s ' a l t r i non c i apporta, n u l l a sapem d i v o s t r o s t a t o umano. Pero comprender puoi che t u t t a morta f i a n o s t r a conoscenza da q u e l punto che d e l f u t u r o f i a c h i u s a l a p o r t a . ' ( I n f . 10.100-8) [•We see, l i k e those who have poor s i g h t , the t h i n g s , ' he s a i d , 'which a r e f a r from us; t h i s i s a l l we have of the Almighty's l i g h t . When these t h i n g s approach, or take p l a c e , our i n t e l l e c t i s powerless; and u n l e s s others inform us, we know n o t h i n g of your human s t a t e . Thus you can understand t h a t a l l of our knowledge w i l l be completely dead from t h a t moment when t h e door t o the f u t u r e i s c l o s e d . ' ]  As t h i s s o u l e x p l a i n s , the end o f time which attends upon the g i u d i z i o u n i v e r s a l e w i l l see the end o f t h e i r knowledge;  91 the whole q u o t a t i o n r e p e a t e d l y a s s e r t s the v a n i t y of i n t e l l ect.  Molloy t o o awaits the death o f knowledge, f o r i t w i l l  mean t h a t he has a t t a i n e d the t i m e l e s s s t a t e , the s t a t e without a f u t u r e , f o r which he seeks. For t o know nothing i s n o t h i n g , not t o want t o know anything l i k e w i s e , hut t o he beyond knowing a n y t h i n g , to know you a r e beyond knowing anything, t h a t i s when peace e n t e r s i n , t o the s o u l o f the i n c u r i o u s seeker. (64) It  i s the t h r e s h o l d of the door o f judgement ( I n f . 10.108)  t h a t these c h a r a c t e r s stand on, from Jacques J r . (92) t o the Unnamable (414). Molloy does not want t o know but t o be, y e t words v e i l h i s being.  Understandably,  he i s f a s c i n a t e d by non-  v e r b a l communication, o f which h i s horn (16), h i s knocking on h i s mother's s k u l l (18), the b l e a t i n g of the sheep (28), and h i s f a c i a l expressions (33) a r e a l l examples.  Verbal  communication i s almost u n i n t e l l i g i b l e t o him f o r what a word s i g n i f i e s t o the one who u t t e r s i t i s d i f f e r e n t the meaning i t imparts t o the a u d i t o r .  As Molloy  from  says.  the words I heard, and heard d i s t i n c t l y , having q u i t e a s e n s i t i v e ear, were heard a f i r s t time, then a second, and o f t e n even a t h i r d , as pure sounds, f r e e of a l l meaning, and t h i s i s probably one of the reasons why c o n v e r s a t i o n was unspeakably p a i n f u l t o me. And the words I u t t e r e d myself, and which must n e a r l y always have gone w i t h an e f f o r t of the i n t e l l i g e n c e , were o f t e n t o me as the b u z z i n g of an i n s e c t . (50) The a l l u s i o n t o the "buzzing of an i n s e c t " r e c a l l s Moran's d i s c o u r s e on h i s bees, s e r v i n g t o c o n c r e t i z e the a s s o c i a t i o n  92 between the b u z z i n g , language, can i n no way  and a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l s .  Molloy  "say" h i m s e l f i f he i s not the master of the  words he uses, i f they do not convey the meaning he i n t e n d s . Yet he has no hope of s a y i n g h i m s e l f without u s i n g words. He i s "merely  complying  w i t h the convention t h a t demands  you e i t h e r l i e or hold your peace" (88).  Molloy i s enuncia-  t i n g the convention of a l l e g o r y , which Dante c a l l e d 77  the  " b e l l a menzogna" [ " b e a u t i f u l l i e " ] . And so Molloy crawls on, i n a c i r c l e ,  "the  forest  . . . a l l about [ h i m ] , " w i t h a vague f e e l i n g of " s i n " ( 8 6 ) — "the o r i g i n a l and e t e r n a l s i n of him and a l l h i s * s o c i 78 malorum,* the s i n of having been born." for  B i r t h i s the s i n  which l i f e i s the penance, " l i f e without end" (14). Dante, " C o n v i v i o " 2.1.3, i n L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m of Dante A l i g h i e r i , t r a n s , and ed. Robert S. H a l l e r ( L i n c o l n i U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska P r e s s , 1973)» P» 112. ? 8  P r o u s t , p.  49.  CHAPTER EIGHT MALONE Malone Dies i s about b i r t h , not death.  For Beckett,  " l i f e " o u t s i d e the womb i s a c t u a l l y death, which Malone hopes t o end by being born as h i m s e l f , i n the t i m e l e s s c o n d i t i o n epitomized by Belacqua.  Thus Malone speaks of 79  h i s " t h r o e s " (179) which are b i r t h as w e l l as death pangs. Whereas i n Moran's and Molloy's monologues the  questers  were shown t o be e n d l e s s l y c i r c l i n g , Malone Dies w i t h the premise make t h a t end.  begins  t h a t t h e r e i s an end, and t h a t Malone can He i s t h e r e f o r e between a seemingly  s t a t e r o f t a c t i v i t y and a s t a t e of t i m e l e s s n e s s .  unending  Therein l i e s  the p u r g a t o r i a l aspect of t h i s second n o v e l of the  trilogy.  Dante's Purgatory i s a l s o a s t a t e of "betweenness:" f o r none of the s o u l s i n Purgatory fixed state.  i s their condition a  Beckett has d e f i n e d Purgatory  in similar  terms, as "a f l o o d of movement and v i t a l i t y r e l e a s e d by the c o n j u n c t i o n of |_Hell and P a r a d i s e ] . "  Malone Dies  i s a l s o the median of the dark, a c t i v e , s i l e n t , e x t e r n a l world of Moran and Molloy and the l i g h t , s t a t i c ,  verbose  i n t e r n a l world of The Unnamable, r e s p e c t i v e l y the " I n f e r n o " 79 "There i s a g r e a t d e a l of the unborn i n f a n t i n the l i f e l e s s o c t o g e n a r i a n , " says Beckett i n "Dante... Bruno. V i c o . . Joyce," p. 8. 80 I b i d . , p. 22.  and  " P a r a d i s o " of Beckett's cosmos.  Dante's Purgatory,  l i k e the I n f e r n o , i s a p l a c e of s u f f e r i n g ; the  difference  i s t h a t t h e r e w i l l be an end t o the s u f f e r i n g f o r those in purgatorio. attainment  T h e i r p a i n w i l l net them P a r a d i s e , the  of the  self.  The p r o g r e s s i o n from one s t a t e t o another more abs t r a c t s t a t e i s c e n t r a l t o the i d e a of a l l e g o r i c a l a b s t r a c tion.  Malone*s n a r r a t i v e can be seen as Moran's and  Molloy's  n a r r a t i v e s a t a d i f f e r e n t l e v e l , as indeed soon becomes apparent.  Malone t h i n k s he w i l l d i e i n "the month of A p r i l  or of May"  (179)*  As we  l e a r n l a t e r , he d i e s i n A p r i l ,  during the E a s t e r weekend, which i s the time of Dante's descent  i n t o h e l l , and ascent of Mount Purgatory t o the  Gate of S t . P e t e r — t o i t ,  but not through i t .  Malone's  quest l e a d s him t o the t h r e s h o l d of a beginning, as d i d Moran's and Molloy's and as the Unnamable's w i l l . 81  They a r e  a l l on the t h r e s h o l d of e x i s t e n c e . "I s h a l l s u f f e r more, then l e s s " (179) says Malone, adumbrating h i s b a s i c a l l y p u r g a t o r i a l s i t u a t i o n .  "While  w a i t i n g I s h a l l t e l l myself s t o r i e s " (180); t h i s i s the modus operandi of h i s n a r r a t i v e .  He remembers an " a n c i e n t  n i g h t , " "long stumbling w i t h o u t s t r e t c h e d arms, h i d i n g , " a l l of which suggest Moran's and Molloy's experiences, and to i d e n t i f y Malone w i t h h i s two 8  W  predecessors.  a r e S t o i c s i n the l i t e r a l  sense.  serve  95  Malone's being i s embodied exercise-book  i s my l i f e "  i n his writing.  (274) he says.  "This  He i s t r y i n g t o  d e f i n e h i s being by w r i t i n g of o t h e r s , y e t , because he e x i s t s only i n h i s w r i t i n g he cannot separate h i m s e l f from the c h a r a c t e r s he c r e a t e s . means of transcendence Dantean mode).  W r i t i n g i s u s e l e s s as a  (the complete a n t i t h e s i s of the  T h i s f o l l o w s d i r e c t l y upon our o b s e r v a t i o n  t h a t the u l t i m a t e a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l i s absent Beckettian  i n the  cosmos.  Malone begins w i t h h i s "present s t a t e , " which p a r a l l e l s M o l l o y ' s , f o r he i s i n a "room," naked l i k e the " i g n u d i " i n the V e s t i b u l e ( I n f . 3»65)»  H  e  does "not remember how  [he] got t h e r e " (183); t h i s a l l u s i o n to I n f . 1.10 82 the p a r a l l e l w i t h M o l l o y .  strengthens  Malone remembers having been  l o s t i n a " f o r e s t " (183), l i k e M o l l o y .  But t h i s i s p a r t of  h i s " p a s t , " and " i t i s the present [ h e ] must e s t a b l i s h . " The t r u t h i s , i f I d i d not f e e l myself dying, I c o u l d w e l l b e l i e v e myself dead, e x p i a t i n g my s i n s , or i n one of heaven's mansions. But I f e e l a t l a s t that the sands are running out, which would not be the case i f I were i n heaven, or i n h e l l . (183) Malone p l a c e s h i m s e l f n e i t h e r i n heaven nor i n h e l l ; he i s between these two s t a t e s , which i n a b s o l u t e terms would be d e f i n e d as Purgatory  (as Beckett d i d d e f i n e i t i n h i s essay  op  In f a c t Malone uses e x a c t l y the same words as Molloy, s a y i n g how he might have reached the room i n an "ambulance" (183).  on J o y c e ) , but i n the absence of a b s o l u t e values can only be d e f i n e d as the V e s t i b u l e of h e l l , which i s a s t a t e of e t e r n a l "betweenness." Malone i s i n bed;  h i s p o s s e s s i o n s , the t b t a l i t y  h i s u n i v e r s e , are i n a c o r n e r . which he can grab t h i n g s .  He has a l o n g s t i c k w i t h  A window g i v e s him an e x c e l l e n t  o p p o r t u n i t y t o be a voyeur, l i k e h i s antecedent His dying i s punctuated  of  Moran.  by the soup bowl and the chamber  p o t — " D i s h and pot, d i s h and pot, these are the p o l e s " (185). He  i s powerless  without  his s t i c k ; with i t ,  the f u r t h e s t r e c e s s e s of [ h i s ] abode."  The  he "can  control  s t i c k serves the  same f u n c t i o n i n the outer world, as h i s p e n c i l does i n the inner. it who  His e x i s t e n c e i s i t s e l f p o s i t i e d i n the p e n c i l ;  d i m i n i s h e s , so does h i s l i f e .  as  By c o n t r a s t w i t h Dante,  wrote i n the Commedia of a past s e l f , Malone can only  w r i t e of h i m s e l f i n the p r e s e n t .  I t i s t h i s s e l f he wants  to d i e , while t h a t other s e l f s h o u l d l i v e , he must w r i t e i n order t o s t o p w r i t i n g .  As Malone says, "I d i d not want to  w r i t e , but I had t o r e s i g n myself to i t i n the end.  It  i s i n order to know where I have got t o , where he has to"  got  (207). So much f o r h i s present s t a t e , says Malone,  ironically,  f o r h i s present s t a t e i s whatever he i s w r i t i n g about. His f i r s t s t o r y i s about the Saposcats, whose m a t e r i a l i s m Beckett savagely s a t i r i s e s .  Malone a b r u p t l y breaks o f f  h i s s t o r y , wondering i f he i s not " t a l k i n g y e t a g a i n about  [ h i m ] s e l f " (189). end,  He asks,  of l y i n g on any  " S h a l l I be i n c a p a b l e , to  other s u b j e c t ? "  The a l l u s i o n i s a g a i n  to Dante's d e s c r i p t i o n of a l l e g o r y as the r -.83 ["beautiful l i e " J ; i n Malone*s case.  the  " b e l l a menzogna"  i t s resonance i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  ironic  He can w r i t e only of h i m s e l f , yet i n  a l l he w r i t e s , he can never f i n d the i d e n t i t y of h i s t r u e s e l f , f o r to w r i t e i s t o l i e .  His only hope i s to keep  on w r i t i n g , a b s t r a c t i n g h i s e x i s t e n c e to the p o i n t of ultimate s i g n i f i c a n c e .  U n t i l that point there i s  "nothing  to s i g n i f y . " Malone resumes h i s t a l e . name those t h i n g s about him.  Sapo, l i k e Watt, cannot The  Saposcats "made use  the spoken word i n much the same way t r a i n makes use  of  as the guard of a  of h i s f l a g s , or of h i s l a n t e r n " (188);  words are f o r them merely p r i m i t i v e s i g n a l l i n g  devices,  yet any attempt t o use them above t h i s l e v e l f a i l s .  For  Malone, as f o r the o t h e r s , words are the agents of h i s punishment, as they are f o r U l y s s e s , whose " o l d shipwreck" 84 (192) and  Malone r e c a l l s .  The words " r i s e up out of the p i t  know no r e s t u n t i l they drag you L i k e Beckett's  other c h a r a c t e r s , Sapo i s i d e n t i f i e d  w i t h the Dante of the dark wood by h a l t s and 83  84  down i n t o i t s dark."  sudden s t a r t s " (204).  " h i s strange walk, h i s  Sapo's s t o r y r e t u r n s  C o n v i v i o 2.1.3; see above p. 92, See above, p. 86, n.?0.  n.77.  again  98 and a g a i n to the theme of the i n a b i l i t y t o know, whether the knowledge be of s t a r s or from books.  But most of a l l ,  (193).  Sapo wants t o know "what manner of being he was"  So does Malone; he t r i e d t o f i n d h i m s e l f i n the outer world when he was now  young, l i k e Sapo, but t o no a v a i l .  he i s beginning t o knows "So I near the g o a l I s e t  myself i n my young days and which prevented me And  I t i s only  on the t h r e s h o l d of b e i n g no more I succeed  from  living.  i n being  another" (19^). Malone r e c o g n i z e s t h a t words a r e i n s u f f i c i e n t t o take him beyond h i m s e l f , t o "cause to l i v e , be another, i n [ h i i r f j s e l f , i n another"  (195) •  As he says, "there i s no  use i n d i c t i n g words, they are no s h o d d i e r than what they peddle."  Words peddle meaning, but Malone wants t o be,  not t o mean.  F o r t h i s reason he continues t o w r i t e ,  l o n g e r i n order t o succeed, but i n order t o f a i l . " the nothingness  "no It i s  of the human n o t h i n g , i t s h a e c c e i t y , which  Malone wishes to a t t a i n , f o r "nothing i s more r e a l than n o t h i n g " (192).  To f a i l  timate r e a l i t y .  "I want n o t h i n g " (199)  t o mean i s t o a r r i v e a t the u l says Malone, and  he means i t .  His p l i g h t r e l a t e s d i r e c t l y t o our d i s c u s s i o n  of  I f the r e a l i s n o t h i n g , then t o w r i t e of i t  allegory.  i n words (something) i s t o w r i t e a l l e g o r y , which w r i t e s of the r e a l by means of the u n r e a l . to  appearances,  "I have pinned my  b e l i e v i n g ; them t o be v a i n , " (210)  faith says Malone.  85 Compare p. 276, " A l l i s p r e t e x t , Sapo and b i r d s , M o l l , . . . my p o s s e s s i o n s . "  the  99  Malone c o n t i n u e s on h i s quest t o " d i e a l i v e , " which i s e x a c t l y what Belacqua  (209),  does i n the Antepurgatory.  86  Malone i n v e n t s (with the h e l p of B a l z a c ) , the Lamberts. Sapo i s a p p r e n t i c e d t o B i g Lambert t o l e a r n the l a t t e r ' s trade, pig-butchering.  Sapo i s d r i v e n by a v o i c e "that  t o l d him t o go on" ( 2 0 6 ) , as Moran and Molloy were d r i v e n , t h e i r a c t i o n s w i l l e d by another.  Malone says, " I s h a l l  go on doing as I have always done, not knowing what i t i s I do, nor who I am, nor where I am, nor i f I am"  (226).  Sapo's e r r a t i c walk as a l r e a d y noted was t h a t o f "one f l o u n d e r i n g i n a quag" ( 2 0 5 ; c f . I n f . 7 ) ; he walks " i n the deep shadow of the t r e e s " ( c f . I n f . 1.2).  Malone i n  p r o p r i a persona w r i t e s o f always having "been w a l k i n g " (183), o f "the joys of darkness" edge of an abyss"  (208).  (193)» of b e i n g on "the  L i k e those i n h e l l , Malone i s  o b l i v i o u s of others around him, and f e a r s he may r e a l l y be i n a "wide jtrench or d i t c h " (219), l i k e the malebolge, and below him "other v a u l t s even deeper than [ h i s ] " from which '"noises . . . r i s e up."  (219),  The r e p e t i t i o n of the  i n f e r n a l motives found i n Moran's and Molloy's n a r r a t i v e s i n d i c a t e s the l a c k o f progress of these quests; Malone says • 86 L i k e h i s f o r e r u n n e r s , Sapo i s prone t o the B e l acqua p o s i t i o n . "Sapo s a t down before h i m , . l a i d h i s hand on the t a b l e and h i s head on h i s hand, t h i n k i n g he was a l o n e . Between h i s head and h i s hand he s l i p p e d the other hand and s a t t h e r e marble s t i l l " (212).  100  there i s . . . [ a ] p o s s i b i l i t y . . . t h a t I am dead a l r e a d y and t h a t a l l continues more or l e s s as when I was n o t . Perhaps I e x p i r e d i n the f o r e s t , or even earlier. In which case a l l the t r o u b l e I have been t a k i n g f o r some time p a s t , f o r what purpose I do not c l e a r l y r e c a l l except t h a t i t was i n some way connected w i t h the f e e l i n g t h a t my t r o u b l e s were n e a r l y over, has been to no purpose whatsoever. ( 2 1 9 ) T h i s i s i n f a c t the most a c c u r a t e a p p r a i s a l of h i s condi d i t i o n ; h i s unceasing forward nets no  e f f o r t s take him nowhere.  A step  progress:  there i s n o t h i n g more l i k e a a s t e p t h a t descends or even f o r e v e r on the same l e v e l , . ignorance of h i s p o s i t i o n and he i s to expect. ( 2 1 9 )  s t e p t h a t climbs than t h a t paces to and from . . f o r one . . . i n consequently of what  In C h r i s t i a n times, such as Dante's, Malone*s d e s i r e to  d i e a l i v e would be r e c o g n i z e d as a d e s i r e f o r s p i r i t u a l  rebirth.  Malone, however, does not e x i s t i n a system  which o f f e r s him t h a t prospect?  he must c r e a t e an  order  through h i s w r i t i n g by means of which he can transcend h i s present c o n d i t i o n .  I n t r i n s i c to t h a t transcendent  present understanding it  of " l i f e and death,  being i s  i f t h a t i s what  i s a l l about, and I suppose i t i s f o r n o t h i n g was  ever  about a n y t h i n g e l s e t o the best of my r e c o l l e c t i o n , "  says  Malone; "But what i t i s a l l about e x a c t l y I c o u l d no more say, a t the present moment, than take up my T h i s a l l u s i o n to one  bed and walk."  of the m i r a c l e s of C h r i s t  (Matt.  p o i n t s out the element m i s s i n g from Malone's cosmos.  9.2-8)  With-  out the promise of l i f e a f t e r death t h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o  101 redeem l i f e — o r death: "But what matterwwhether I was  born  or not, have l i v e d or not, am dead or merely d y i n g . "  Malone  has r e a l i z e d t h e f a t e of those i n the V e s t i b u l e , who  "mai  3  non f u r v i v i "  ( I n f . 3-64)  ["were never a l i v e " ] , and  who  "non hanno speranza d i morte" ( I n f . 3 « 4 6 ) ["have no hope of death"]. We  have a l r e a d y i l l u s t r a t e d , i n our s t u d i e s of Moran  and Molloy t h a t , on one l e v e l , the episodes i n the r e l a t e the a r t i s t i c descent i n t o the s e l f .  trilogy  Malone's  n a r r a t i v e m o d i f i e s t h i s l e v e l of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  The  a r t i s t i c process i s a c o n t r a c t i o n ; outward movement i s not p o s s i b l e because the outer world i s e x t r i n s i c to the self.  The only p o s s i b l e movement i s inward, an a b s t r a c -  t i o n t o n u l l i t y , the u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y . movement toward R e a l i t y was 87 knowing God.  For Dante, the  outward; the s e l f was  known by  Malone, however, cannot t r a n s c e n d ; he i s  drawn ever more deeply i n t o a s e l f he does not know: But suddenly a l l begins t o rage and r o a r a g a i n , you are l o s t i n f o r e s t s of h i g h t h r e s h i n g f e r n s or w h i r l e d f a r out on wind-swept wastes [ c f . I n f . 5 ] , t i l l you [ b e g i n ] t o wonder i f you have.not d i e d without knowi n g [ c f . I n f . 33.124 ff.] and gone t o h e l l or been born a g a i n i n t o an even worse p l a c e than b e f o r e . Malone journeys toward the a b s u r d i s t n o t h i n g , t h a t i s n o t h i n g , as Dante journeyed toward the D i v i n e Nothing which ?He s t a t e s h i s d o c t r i n e i n the poem " O l t r e l a s p e r a che p i u l a r g a g i r a , " where he says " i n t e l l i g e n z a nova, . . . pur su l o t i r a " ["new understanding . . . draws him ever upward"]• 8  88 is Everything.  These a r e the only two d i r e c t i o n s i n  which one can moves " e i t h e r you know a l l or you know nothing" (232).  Malone's next c r e a t i o n , Macmann, "knows  n o t h i n g * " Malone wishes t o a t t a i n t h i s s t a t e by w r i t i n g of  i t i n Macmann.  This desire f o r a "vice-exister" (315)  t h a t cannot know i s taken t o absurd extremes i n the Unnama b l e " s Worm.  Malone's wish f o r the end of knowledge i s  connected w i t h h i s wish f o r the end of time, f o r "no morrow" (233)•  H i s t r u e s e l f must be o u t s i d e time s i n c e time  presents him w i t h a new s e l f  each moment.  The concept t h a t  knowledge ceases f o r the damned a t the end o f time i s particularly The  Dantesque, and has been d i s c u s s e d above (p. 9 0 ) .  end w i l l f i n a l l y come, a c c o r d i n g t o Malone, when he  has achieved t h a t t i m e l e s s s t a t e wherein reality,  nothing.  l i e s the u l t i m a t e  "And i f I ever s t o p t a l k i n g i t w i l l be  because • . . n o t h i n g has been s a i d " ( 2 3 6 ) .  He w i l l  not have t o w r i t e o f h i m s e l f a t one remove.  "Then i t w i l l  then  be a l l over w i t h the Murphys, • . . Molloys, Morans and Malones." The a l l u s i o n s t o the Inferno t i n u a t i o n of Macmann's s t o r y . the p e l t i n g r a i n  i n c r e a s e w i t h the con-  Macmann l i e s p r o s t r a t e i n  ( c f . I n f . 6 ) , clawing a t the t u r f .  It  i s through Macmann t h a t Malone explores the nature of h i s 88 I f o l l o w here Robert S. Knapp's seminal a r t i c l e , "Samuel Beckett's A l l e g o r y o f the U n c r e a t i n g Word," Mosaic, Vl/2 (1973). 71-83. " W r i t i n g about n o t h i n g . . . i s ~ t h e t a s k of the a l l e g o r i s t , o f the man who would g i v e form t o the f o r m l e s s , t o an Essence t h a t i s . . . as the n e g a t i o n of a t t r i b u t e s " ( 7 1 - 2 ) .  defined  103  own punishment, and of the s i n f o r which he must  suffer:  without knowing e x a c t l y what h i s s i n was he f e l t f u l l w e l l t h a t l i v i n g was not a s u f f i c i e n t atonement f o r i t or t h a t t h i s atonement was i n i t s e l f a s i n , c a l l i n g f o r more atonement, and so on, as i f there c o u l d be anyt h i n g but l i f e , f o r the l i v i n g . And no doubt he [Macmannj would have wondered i f i t was r e a l l y necessary to be g u i l t y i n order t o be punished but f o r the memory, more and more g a l l i n g , of h i s having consented t o l i v e i n h i s mother, then t o l e a v e her. (239*240) Since to l i v e i s t o s u f f e r , the source of t h i s the s i n f o r which man  i s punished,  suffering,  must be b i r t h .  The  e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e between the s i n and i t s punishment i n t h i s h e l l and t h a t i n Dante's i s t h a t i n the l a t t e r the s i n n e r was very much aware of h i s s i n , and knew why he was being punished.  In Malone's h e l l , the s u f f e r i n g i s g r a t u i -  tous, and thus there i s no d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n between the types of  s u f f e r i n g , as there i s i n the I n f e r n o .  In a world  be-  r e f t of judgement, b i r t h i s the only p o s s i b l e s i n and  life  the only p o s s i b l e punishment.  And the essence  Beckett so e l o q u e n t l y declaims  i n Godot, i s w a i t i n g , "the  w a i t i n g t h a t knows i t s e l f  i n vain" (24l).  of l i f e ,  as  W a i t i n g i s the  punishment meted out t o those i n both the V e s t i b u l e and the Antepurgatory,  w i t h the d i f f e r e n c e t h a t t h e r e i s an end t o  the w a i t i n g i n p u r g a t o r i o . L i k e Moran and Molloy before him, Macmann/Malone moves on "along the a r c of a g i g a n t i c c i r c l e " p. 240, "you go round i n c i r c l e s " ) ,  (246; c f .  on c r u t c h e s .  Like  Murphy and Watt before him, he ends up i n an asylum.  Here  Macmann has no need t o t h i n k o r a c t ; both a r e done f o r him, which i s an i r o n i c p a r a l l e l t o the a b s o l u t e a c c e p t ance of s u f f e r i n g and dogmanrequired o f the s o u l s p o r t r a y e d i n the P u r g a t o r i o — " T a k e no thought f o r a n y t h i n g , i t i s we s h a l l t h i n k and a c t f o r y o u " ( 2 5 6 ) .  By w r i t i n g o f a  c h a r a c t e r who has no need t o t h i n k , Malone hopes t o a t t a i n the s t a t e o f being which he so d e s i r e s . The asylum, which o f f e r s Macmann some r e s p i t e from his physical suffering, exists i n ironic  juxtaposition to  Dante's E a r t h l y Paradise (Purg. 2 7 - 3 3 ) * -  I t i s "a l i t t l e  P a r a d i s e " (277) which i s reached by the s o u l a f t e r i t has s u f f e r e d the scourges o f the mountain. the E a r t h l y P a r a d i s e , i s a f o r e s t "plateau" ( 2 7 7 ) ,  The asylum, l i k e  ( c f . Purg. 2 8 . 2 ) on a  and occupies "the e n t i r e t o p , " as the  E a r t h l y P a r a d i s e does Mount P u r g a t o r y .  There one can hear  "the song o f the b i r d s " ( c f . Purg. 2 8 . 1 4 - 1 5 ) ; t h e r e one can breathe "pure . . . a i r " ("aura d o l c e , " Purg. 2 8 . 7 ) , and the "wind [ b l o w s ] almost without c e a s i n g "  but u n l i k e  the "soave v e n t o " (Purg. 28.9) ["gentle breeze"] of the E a r t h l y P a r a d i s e , i t blows i n a " f u r y " and i s more i n f e r n a l than p a r a d i s a l .  There i s a stream ( c f . Purg. 2 8 . 2 5 ) ,  the  source o f which i s "underground" ( c f . Purg. 28.121-6); i n the E a r t h l y Paradise t h a t stream i s Lethe (Purg. 2 8 . 1 3 0 ) i n which the p e n i t e n t i s bathed, l o s i n g a l l memory o f s i n (Purg. 28.128).  Malone o f course i s unable t o f o r g e t ;  that  i s the essence of h i s punishment as he i n d i c a t e d i n the  passage quoted above (p. 1 0 3 ) . where he p o s i t s h i s g u i l t 89  i n "the memory" (240) o f b e i n g once i n h i s mother. M o l l , the maiden who takes care o f Macmann i n the asylum, i s a type o f Matelda (Purg. 3 3 . 1 1 3 ) . the p a r a d i s o t e r r e s t r e .  custodian of  L i k e Matelda, who bathes Dante i n  the stream of the d i v i n e f o r e s t , M o l l r i t u a l l y washes Macmann; as such, she i s a l s o Lousse, seen on another l e v e l . M o l l i s a grotesque parody o f Matelda, however; o l d and depraved, she and Macmann couple i m p o t e n t l y .  The asylum  and M o l l a r e no " f o r e t a s t e df p a r a d i s e " (273); Macmann/ Malone i s , l i k e h i s p r e d e c e s s o r s , i n the dark wood, "beneath the g r e a t b l a c k g e s t i c u l a t i n g p:ines" (27*+). M o l l dies (Malone stops w r i t i n g o f her) and i s r e p l a c e d by Lemuel, who, on "the E a s t e r week-end, spent by Jesus i n h e l l "  (280) announces an " e x c u r s i o n t o the i s l a n d s .  In a d d i t i o n t o Lemuel and Macmann, t h e r e a r e f o u r who a r e t o go on the e x c u r s i o n .  inmates  Each i s a c h a r a c t e r who  has appeared p r e v i o u s l y i n B e c k e t t ' s works.  The f i r s t ,  "seated i n an o l d r o c k i n g c h a i r " (281) i s Murphy.  The  second i s " p e r p e t u a l l y l o o k i n g f o r something w h i l e a t t h e same time wondering what t h a t something c o u l d p o s s i b l y be" (282), and c o n s t a n t l y e x c l a i m i n g "What!"; t h i s i s Watt. ^Memory i s a l s o the punishment f o r Winnie i n Happy Days. Winnie and W i l l i e a r e the r e d u c t i o ad absurdum of Paolo and F r a n c e s c a ( I n f . 5 ) » I n h e l l , F r a n c e s c a hankers a f t e r t h e "tempo f e l i c e " ( I n f . 5 » 1 2 1 ) » never r e a l i z i n g t h a t t h i s memory o f them i s her punishment. 90 The w a l l s surrounding Lousse's and the asylum a r e identical. See pages 52 and 278.  106 The t h i r d i s i d e n t i f i e d by h i s "umbrella" as Moran. fourth, a f i l t h y  The  "misshapen g i a n t " (283) i s Molloy i n 91  Moran's d e s c r i p t i o n .  That a l l of these  "vice-existers"  are gathered here, s h a r i n g a s i m i l a r f a t e , supports the t h e s i s t h a t they are a l l one, and t h a t each c h a r a c t e r repeats the p r e c e d i n g one, but a t a d i f f e r e n t l e v e l of p e r c e p t i o n or a b s t r a c t i o n .  Each c i r c u i t o u s voyage begets  another, and as Macmann s u s p e c t s , "the t h i n g so o f t e n to be e x c e s s i v e , and honored was  perhaps The  felt  by such a v a r i e t y of names,  i n r e a l i t y always one and the same" (278).  inmates, t o g e t h e r w i t h Lady Pedal, proceed i n the  "waggonette," (284) i n a parody Church which Dante beholds  of the .pageant of the  i n the p a r a d i s o t e r r e s t r e  (Purg. 29-32, esp. 32.148-60$ note the presence on the c h a r i o t , Purg. 32.152).  of a g i a n t  The c h a r i o t does not p r o -  ceed through the f o r e s t , however, but descends toward  the  sea, a completely absurd r e v e r s a l of the Dantean paradigm. They r e a c h the bottom of the mound ( o r mountain) and  clamber  i n t o a boat, which has i t s c o u n t e r p a r t i n the one which f e r r i e s the s o u l s t o Mount Purgatory however, are moving away from t h e i r i n what seems t o be a re-enactment  (Purg. 2.4-0-2).  They,  "earthly paradise" o f the F a l l .  They r e a c h  an i s l a n d , where the "youth" (Murphy) "had thrown h i m s e l f down i n the shade of a r o c k , l i k e S o r d e l l o , but Hess n o b l e , f o r S o r d e l l o resembled  a l i o n at rest"  (286: c f .  ^ I d e n t i f i e d by T a g l i a f e r r i , except f o r M o l l o y .  Purg*  6.66).  S o r d e l l o i s a g a i n invoked, as he was  Molloy's n a r r a t i v e  (10), as a type who  in  has found b e i n g i n  s t a s i s , the s t a t i c p o s i t i o n i m p l y i n g the end of s e a r c h i n g and the b e g i n n i n g of b e i n g . Lemuel a t t h i s p o i n t begins murdering  those  around  him, and as we noted w i t h the death of M o l l , t h i s i s e q u i v a l e n t to the a r t i s t ' s  (Malone's) s t o p p i n g w r i t i n g  92  about a g i v e n c h a r a c t e r . c h a r a c t e r s one by one,  Malone i s d i s p o s i n g of h i s  hoping a t the end t o have n o t h i n g  to  w r i t e about.  in  h i s e x e r c i s e book i s r e m i n i s c e n t of U l y s s e s ' s  (Inf.  The scene  of carnage which Malone c r e a t e s shipwreck  26.133-142), i n d i c a t i n g the u l t i m a t e i n f e r n a l  p l i c a t i o n s of the scene.  im-  Malone confuses Lemuel w i t h him-  s e l f i n the l a s t words he w r i t e s ; he cannot f i c t i v e s e l f from h i s t r u e one.  separate  this  The c o n f u s i o n of hatchet  and p e n c i l r e v e a l s t h a t Malone's w r i t i n g i s i t s e l f an a c t of  murder, drawing l i f e  see l i v e .  out of the very s e l f he wishes t o  Malone stops w r i t i n g and thus ceases to e x i s t .  Yet h i s l a s t word i s "more" (288), i n d i c a t i n g what i s t o come.  For, l i k e Belacqua, h i s l i f e  i s over, but i t has  not y e t ended, and l i k e Belacqua he must s t i l l wait t o be born. 92 Note the equation between "hatchet" and p.  288.  "pencil,"  CHAPTER NINE UNNAMABLE The  u l t i m a t e movement o f the p r e c e d i n g t h r e e n a r r a -  t i v e s has been toward n e g a t i o n , a movement f o r which Moran's n a r r a t i v e i s the paradigm. h i m s e l f , names the essence  When the n a r r a t o r f i n a l l y  says  of h i s b e i n g , a l l he has s a i d  up t o t h a t p o i n t w i l l be rendered s u p e r f l u o u s .  T h i s move-  ment toward n e g a t i o n , toward the e s s e n t i a l n o t h i n g , i s the motive f o r c e of the t r i l o g y *  Molloy  journeys i n order not  to journey; Malone w r i t e s i n order n o t t o w r i t e ; the Unnamable speaks' i n order not t o speak.  The movement toward  n e g a t i o n a l s o c h a r a c t e r i z e s a l l e g o r y , which has as i t s g o a l i t s d i s s o l u t i o n , the end of i l l u s i o n and the beginning of r e a l i t y . of a l l "  That r e a l i t y was, i n Dante's cosmos, the " a l l  ( 3 8 8 ) ; i n the B e c k e t t i a n cosmos i t i s the " a l l of  n o t h i n g " and t h e r e f o r e unnamable.  The f o u r t h (but not  n e c e s s a r i l y f i n a l ) n a r r a t i v e i n t h i s sequence i s the r e d u c t i o ad absurdum of the a l l e g o r i c a l process i n i t i a t e d i n Moran's narrative.  The Unnamable records the attempt  t o name the  essence  o f a being t h a t knows i t s e l f  attempt  t o answer the q u e s t i o n Beckett f i r s t proposed i n  Watt, when he asked, 93  enclose." Watt, p. 247.  i n vain.  "who may . . . nothingness  I t i s an  i n words  0  The Unnamable e x i s t s i n the s t a t e t o which a l l of the  other n a r r a t o r s have a s p i r e d : the s t a t e o f a l i v e mind i n a dead body.  Free of t h a t decayed mechanism, the mind can  apprehend i t s e l f f r e e l y , and d i s c o v e r i t s essence. question—the "Where now?  The  o l d q u e s t i o n — i s how t o d i s c o v e r t h a t Who now?  essence*  When now?" (291) asks the Unnamable.  A l l systems, " a p o r i a , " " a f f i r m a t i o n s , " "negations," have so f a r f a i l e d i n g g i v i n g him a sense of h i m s e l f , and now "the t h i n g t o a v o i d . . . i s the s p i r i t He experiences  of a system" .(292).  the d i s o r i e n t a t i o n of h i s predecessors, which  i s i n t u r n informed by the d i s o r i e n t a t i o n o f the Dante i n the dark wood. L i k e the a l l e g o r i s t , the Unnamable " s h a l l have t o speak of t h i n g s o f which [ h e ] cannot speak;" he s h a l l t r y to speak of what he does not know by speaking does know.  And, l i k e h i s predecessors, he speaks because  he i s ?)obliged t o speak." The  o f what he  H i s v o i c e i s compelled. 94  Unnamable p o s i t s h i m s e l f a t t h e c e n t e r  ofaa  m i n i s c u l e u n i v e r s e where the l i g h t s shine " s t r o n g one minute and weak the next  ( c f . P a r . 2.64-66).  Around him  c i r c l e h i s p r e v i o u s v i c e - e x i s t e r s , as the angels around God i n the P a r a d i s o .  circle  "They a r e a l l here, a t l e a s t  from Murphy on" (293). S i n c e these v i c e - e x i s t e r s a r e h i s 94 I f not i n the c e n t e r the Unnamable says he i s somewhere between, f o r "from c e n t r e t o circumference . . . i s a f a r c r y " (295)» which passage a l l u d e s t o Par. 14.1, where B e a t r i c e and S t . Thomas communicate n o n - v e r b a l l y .  110 own c r e a t i o n s , h i s u n i v e r s e i s measured by the parameters of h i s own mind and i t i s t h i s u n i v e r s e which he wishes t o know, f o r such a r e the terms of the P a r a d i s o .  Y e t , the  Unnamable's e f f o r t s do not b r i n g him any c l o s e r t o h i s g o a l than d i d Moran's; i n f a c t , h i s n a r r a t i v e i s an e x t r a p o l a t i o n of the p r e v i o u s t h r e e , which have " r e f e r e n c e t o a s i n g l e e x i s t e n c e , the c o n f u s i o n o f i d e n t i t i e s b e i n g merely a p p a r e n t " (330).  Thus the Unnamable*s n a r r a t i v e r e f l e c t s the same  i n f e r n a l landscape t h a t has appeared i n the o t h e r n a r r a t i o n s , and many of the elements i n h i s n a r r a t i v e correspond t o those i n the p r e c e d i n g ones.  He b e l i e v e s t h a t there a r e "other  p i t s , deeper down" ( 2 9 3 ) • sitting . . . .  He says, "I have always been  here, a t t h i s selfsame spot, my hands on my knees The t e a r s stream down my cheeks from my u n b l i n k i n g  eyes" ( 2 9 3 ) .  T h i s p o s i t i o n bears only a f a i n t  to t h a t taken up by Belacqua.  resemblance  I t echoes more c l e a r l y the  d e s c r i p t i o n o f those i n h e l l ' s v e s t i b u l e who a r e c o n t i n u ally Old  crying (Inf. 3 . 6 8 ) ,  "bathed i n t e a r s " ( 3 0 5 ) • and the  Man of C r e t e , who r e p r e s e n t s the degeneration of the  ages, and whose t e a r s f i l l  the r i v e r s  of h e l l ,  "gathering  t o g e t h e r . . . a l l the e v i l and the sorrow of the w o r l d . " L i k e those i n the I n f e r n o , the Unnamable "cannot be silent"  (294).  The tongue of flames shrouding the f a l s e  c o u n s e l l o r s has been c i t e d above (p. 8 7 ) as the prime 95  Sapegno's note t o I n f . 1 4 . 1 0 3 , p. 1 6 2 .  95  example i n the Inferno of words as the agents  of punishment  ( I n f . 2 6 ) . Thus the Unnamable speaks " t o the s e l f - a c c o m p a n i ment of a tongue t h a t i s not [ h i s ] " ( 3 0 6 ) . suicides  ( I n f . 13) a r e a l s o punished by having t o speak  when one o f t h e i r branches i s broken. form  However, the  of b a r r e n t r e e s ) .  (They take the  They then b l e e d t h e i r words out,  which, Leo S p i t z e r notes, i n d i c a t e s "the tyranny o f the need f o r s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n by language,  the s e l f - m u t i l a t i n g  s a d i s t i c power of speech which while seeming t o g i v e c o n s o l a 96  t i o n only aggravates  the wound."  Because words embody meaning, each one the Unnamable speaks adds t o h i s knowledge.  Yet he who i s n o t h i n g , and  who wishes t o know who he i s , must know n o t h i n g , and t h i s i s the Unnamable*s c r o s s . he says  (29*0.  "About myself I need know n o t h i n g  Any knowledge which he has a c q u i r e d during  h i s long (long!) l i f e  i s not only i r r e l e v a n t t o h i s s e l f -  hood, but a c t u a l l y obscures  h i s s e l f even f u r t h e r , f o r  each p i e c e of knowledge i s h e u r i s t i c s They gave me courses on l o v e , on i n t e l l i g e n c e , most p r e c i o u s . They a l s o taught me t o count, and even t o reason. Some o f t h i s r u b b i s h has come i n handy on o c c a s i o n s , I don't deny i t , on occasions which would never have a r i s e n i f they had l e f t me i n peace. (298) He who l e a s t v a l u e s knowledge a c q u i r e s i t a t an e x p o n e n t i a l rate.  Yet i t i s the "search f o r the means t o put an end 96  Leo S p i t z e r , "Speech and Language i n Inferno X I I I , " i n Dantes A C o l l e c t i o n o f C r i t i c a l Essays, p. 8 8 .  to t h i n g s , an end to speech, [ t h a t ] enables the d i s c o u r s e to c o n t i n u e " (299). on, "one  And  i n order f o r the d i s c o u r s e to go  i n v e n t s o b s c u r i t i e s " (294); one w r i t e s a l l e g o r y ,  i n which the o b j e c t i s "to speak andyyet say n o t h i n g " In the same way  t h a t the words he speaks obscure  (303)• his  s e l f h o o d , h i s v i c e - e x i s t e r s d e t r a c t from h i s e s s e n t i a l being: " A l l these Murphys, Molloys and Malones do not me.  They have made me waste my  fool  time, s u f f e r f o r n o t h i n g ,  speak of them when, i n order to stop speaking, I should have spoken of me  and of me  alone."  The  Unnamable r e a l i z e s  the f a i l u r e i n h e r e n t i n the a r t i s t i c p r o c e s s , which o b l i g e s him to w r i t e about something by nop w r i t i n g of i t .  There  i s a l s o the i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t the three other n a r r a t o r s of the t r i l o g y are the Unnamable*s c r e a t i o n s ; f o r i n s t a n c e , the Unnamable speaks of having " f i n i s h e d with [ h i s ] troop of l u n a t i c s " (308) which suggests who  t h a t i t was  i n fact  he  wrote the s t o r y about the l u n a t i c s i n Malone*s n a r r a -  tive.  The  s u g g e s t i o n i s t h a t the Unnamable i s h i m s e l f the  c r e a t i o n of another, and so on, each one more a b s t r a c t than the p r e v i o u s , each no c l o s e r to h i s g o a l . the Unnamable's "incomprehensible  Such i s  damnation" (308): h i s  damnation i s t h a t he i s not damned, f o r even h e l l i s an i n v e n t i o n and damned" (400).  i m p l i e s a system: "there i s a god  f o r the  To be damned i s t o be judged, and,  i n the  words of Beckett, what he p a i n t s i s a -''world b e r e f t of  113 judgement."  Beckett has  orthodox damnation" (390) e s c h a t o l o g i c a l system, and  "set aside  . . . the analogy  with  which depends on a complete i n s t e a d presents a damnation t h a t  i s d e r i v e d p r e c i s e l y from the l a c k of a system. A l l t h i s business of a labour to accomplish, before I can end, of words t o say, a t r u t h to r e c o v e r , i n order to say i t , before I can end, of an imposed task, once known, l o n g n e g l e c t e d , f i n a l l y f o r g o t t e n , to perform, before I can be done with speaking, done w i t h l i s t e n i n g , I i n v e n t e d i t a l l , i n the hope i t wouiLd console me, h e l p me to go on, a l l o w me to t h i n k of myself as somewhere on a road, moving between a beginning and an end, g a i n i n g ground, l o s i n g ground, g e t t i n g l o s t , but somehow i n the l o n g run making headway. A l l l i e s . (31*+) The a l l u s i o n s to one  on a "road" who  was  " l o s t " but  e v e n t u a l l y makes "headway" r e c a l l s the Dantean  who  journey.  " A l l l i e s " says the Unnamable, r e c o g n i z i n g t h a t the system i n the Commedia i s e x t r i n s i c to h i s own  cosmos.  Dante's  " l i e s " were redeemed and g i v e n meaning through f a i t h i n God  the Logos, a f a i t h t h a t has no p l a c e i n the Unnamable*s  cosmos.  For i n a cosmos t h a t e x i s t s only to m i r r o r  God,  i t s creator, a r t i s t i c creation r e f l e c t s divine creation. S u b t r a c t God  from t h a t formula and the a r t i s t ' s work r e -  f l e c t s only i t s e l f , and cannot go beyond The  Unnamable invents Mahood who  itself.  like his  predecessors  i s a c r i p p l e , and walks "not i n a s t r a i g h t l i n e "  (316)  but " i n a sharp c u r v e , " which, i f he were to f o l l o w i t l o n g Quoted by W. York T i n d a l l , Samuel Beckett and Londonj Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1964), p.  (New 13.  York  114 enough would r e s t o r e him  "to [ h i s ] p o i n t of d e p a r t u r e , "  only "to b e g i n a g a i n " ( 3 0 2 ) . k i n d of i n v e r t e d s p i r a l ,  Mahood gets "embroiled i n a  * . . the c o i l s of which, i n s t e a d  of widening more and more, grew narrower and narrower and finally,  . . . would come to an end f o r l a c k of room."  T h i s i s e s s e n t i a l l y the s t r u c t u r e of the I n f e r n o . goes on t o repeat the movement of Dante's voyage  Mahood oltretombas  Faced then w i t h the m a t e r i a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y of going any f u r t h e r I should no doubt have had t o s t o p , unl e s s of course I e l e c t e d t o s s e t o f f a g a i n a t once i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n , . • . [ f o r ] there i s no road so d u l l , on the way out, but i t has q u i t e a d i f f e r e n t aspect, q u i t e a d i f f e r e n t d u l l n e s s , on the way back, and v i c e - v e r s a . . . . [ i f ] by d i n t of winding myself up I must i n e v i t a b l y f i n d myself s t u c k i n the end, once launched i n the o p p o s i t e d i r e c t i o n s h o u l d I not normally u n f o l d ad i n f i n i t u m . . . . (316-317) The  outward s p i r a l i s t h a t of the P a r a d i s o , which f o r Dante  ended i n a b s o l u t e understanding s t a n d i n g of God.  of the s e l f through  under-  But Mahood p o s i t s no end t o h i s p a r a d i s e ;  his  only hope i s t o a b s t r a c t h i m s e l f to nothingness, w a i t i n g  for  h i s "mind [ t o be] a t peace, t h a t i s t o say empty" ( 3 1 1 ) ,  s u f f e r i n g " u n r e l i e v e d immaculation,"  which i s Beckett's  own  98  d e f i n i t i o n of P a r a d i s e .  No matter which way  outward (as Moran t r a v e l l e d ) or inward  Mahood t r a v e l s ,  ( l i k e Molloy), there  i s no end t o h i s t r a v e l l i n g s C a c c i a n l i i c i e l per non e s s e r men b e l l i , ne l o profondo i n f e r n o l i r i c e v e , ch'alcuna g l o r i a i r e i avrebber d ' e l l i . (Inf. 3.40-2) "Dante...  Bruno.  Vico..  Joyce," p.  22.  115 [Heaven e x p e l l e d them so as n o t t o blemish i t s beauty; the i n f e r n a l depths s h a l l not r e c e i v e them, f o r the damned might g l o r y i n them.] Mahood*s s t o r y repeats the Dantean journey i n p a r a d i s o i n other r e s p e c t s .  Mahood i s r e t u r n i n g home, as Dante  "returned home" t o P a r a d i s e .  L i k e Dante, Mahood s e t s out  f o r h i s "home" from an " i s l a n d , among [ h i s ] compatriots, contemporaries, c o r e l i g i o n i s t s and companions ( 3 2 6 ) , which i s Malone*s i s l a n d .  i n distress"  L i k e Mount Purgatory,  t h i s i s l a n d i s l o c a t e d i n the southern hemisphere ("Java," p. 3 1 7 ) •  Yet Mahood moves c e n t r i p e t a l l y toward h i s home,  a r e v e r s a l o f Dante!s outward s p i r a l l i n g i n the P a r a d i s o . When Mahood a r r i v e s home, he f i n d s h i s f a m i l y dead o f b o t u l i s m , and he tramples t h e i r remains w i t h h i s c r u t c h e s , d e s t r o y i n g h i s own image, which i s the essence o f h i s quest. In h i s next a v a t a r , Mahood f i n d s h i m s e l f "stuck l i k e a sheaf of f l o w e r s i n a deep j a r , i t s neck f l u s h w i t h [ h i s ] mouth" ( 3 2 ? ) .  He i s taken care o f by Madeleine who  f o l l o w s i n the t r a d i t i o n o f Lousse and M o l l .  L i k e the s o u l s  i n P a r a d i s e , Mahood i s v i s i b l e as a l i g h t , h i s head ally  "artistic-  i l l u m i n a t e d " (3*+*+)» but h i s c o n d i t i o n r e c a l l s the  punishment o f the h e r e t i c s , who a r e plunged i n f i e r y tombs ( I n f . 9) and the t r a i t o r s , f r o z e n up t o t h e i r necks i n the i c e o f Cocytus ( I n f . 3*0 « ^ are a l l he has. 99  Only h i s words move now; they  " I t a l l b o i l s down t o a q u e s t i o n of words"  Note Mahood's r e f e r e n c e t o " t h i n i c e , " p. 35*+.  116 (335)•  He must say who  he i s by s a y i n g "what [he i s ] n o t " 100  (326); he must d e f i n e h i m s e l f by n e g a t i o n , be  "admitted  to t h a t peace where he n e i t h e r i s , nor i s not,  and where the language d i e s t h a t permits (33^-5)•  i n order t o  of such e x p r e s s i o n s "  Dante a l s o f i n d s language i n s u f f i c i e n t t o h i s  t a s k i n P a r a d i s e , and  f i n a l l y s t a t e s t h a t what he  seeks  t o express goes beyond the l i m i t s of h i s a r t — " A l l ' a l t a f a n t a s i a q u i manco possa" here leaves o f f " ] .  The  (Par, 33«l42)["High f a n t a s y  Unnamable wishes t o say the  word which w i l l t e l l him who f i r s t and a l s o h i s l a s t ; P h i l i p p e S o l l e r s notes,  he  is.  one  T h i s word w i l l be h i s  i t w i l l be h i s p a r a d i s e .  As  " l e p a r a d i s n'est r i e n d'autre  ce l i e u de l a premiere p a r o l e , et ce  'premiere,*  que  sans 101  doute, n'indique  pas seulement une  dimension du temps."  Yet the language which he must use t o say h i s unchanging s e l f i s c o n s t a n t l y changing, and he i s changing with i t : S i l e s morts q u i ont marche l a ou nous marchons r e s s u c i t a i e n t , d i t Dante r C o n v i v i o 1 . 5 ] nous ne p o u r r i o n s pas l e s comprendre. De p l u s , ce changement i m p e r c e p t i b l e et ce que l ' o n peut a s s i m i l e r a l a c r o i s s a n c e c o r p o r e l l e e s t pour nous une source permanente d'aveuglement: nous croyons i n changeable ce q u i ne cesse pas de changer (nousrrte^mes, n d t r e c o r p s , l a langue).- 1  100  02  Compare Convivio 3.I5.6O-70.  101  < s S o l l e r s , "Dante et l a t r a v e r s e e de l ' e c r i t u r e , " L ' e c r i t u r e et 1*experience des l i m i t e s ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1 9 5 8 ) , p. 20 1 0 2  I b i d . , p.  21.  117 If,  however, the Unnamable c o u l d say t h a t one word which  i n s a y i n g n o t h i n g says e v e r y t h i n g , he c o u l d r e s t a t l a s t . Yet t h e r e i s no words.  first  word, no Logos; there a r e only  The Unnamable has no reason t o go on i n a s i t u a t i o n  such as t h i s , y e t he f e e l s compelled  t o go on.  "The r e a l i z a -  t i o n t h a t mental a c t i v i t y i s compulsive r a t h e r than  motivat-  ed i n v o l v e s a d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t w i t h the whole i d e a of f r e e 103 and motivated  behavior."  And t h i s mental a c t i v i t y , we  hear Beckett say, was once lauded as " i l ben d e l l ' i n t e l l e t t o " (Inf.  3.18) ["the  good of the i n t e l l e c t " ] .  Mahood*s next a v a t a r i s Worm, a f o e t u s ; as such Worm r e p r e s e n t s t h a t Belacquean s t a t e sought a f t e r f o r so l o n g . Worm's "senses t e l l him n o t h i n g , n o t h i n g about h i m s e l f , n o t h i n g about the r e s t , and t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s beyond him. F e e l i n g n o t h i n g , knowing nothing, he e x i s t s n e v e r t h e l e s s " (3^6).  I t now only remains f o r Mahood t o become Worm.  He  who began ;. as a worm must end as a worm—the a l p h a and omega o f the B e c k e t t i a n cosmos.  Worm i s i n an urn; h i s s t o r y  i s H y d r i o t a p h i a w r i t t e n from the i n s i d e .  But f o r Worm t o  be a b l e t o t e l l h i s s t o r y , he must be a b l e t o p e r c e i v e , which makes him other than n o t h i n g , and t h e r e f o r e i n i m i c a l to  the s e l f Mahood wants t o be, as Mahood h i m s e l f r e a l i z e s :  "I'm  Worm, t h a t i s t o say I am no l o n g e r he, s i n c e I hear"  (3*+9).  T h i s f a i l u r e only serves t o make him t a l k t h e more.  3 E u g e n e Webb, Samuel Beckett ( S e a t t l e and London: U n i v e r s i t y o f Washington P r e s s , 1970), p. 110. 10  "They mentioned r o s e s " he says; " I ' l l s m e l l them b e f o r e I'm f i n i s h e d " ( 3 5 0 ) .  At the end o f h i s journey Dante sees  i n P a r a d i s e the " C a n d i d a r o s a " (Par. 3 0 . 1 ) ["white r o s e s ] , which God and a l l the b l e s s e d a r e p r e s e n t .  Worm w i l l sense  the roses r a t h e r than experience them as d i d Dante; he i s unable  t o go beyond h i m s e l f .  Because Mahood t h i n k s c o m p u l s i v e l y , he s u f f e r s , f o r to t h i n k i s t o s u f f e r .  Yet even h i s b u f f e r i n g i s g r a t u i -  tous i n a "world b e r e f t o f judgement," so he i n v e n t s a whole " c o l l e g e o f t y r a n t s " ( 3 1 0 ) as h i s tormentors: And how they enjoy t a l k i n g , they know there i s no worse torment, f o r one n o t i n the c o n v e r s a t i o n . They a r e numerous, a l l round, h o l d i n g hands perhaps, an endless c h a i n , t a k i n g turns t o t a l k . They wheel, i n j e r k s , so t h a t the v o i c e always comes from the same q u a r t e r . ( 3 5 6 ) T h i s parodies the c i r c l e s o f l i g h t s which appear t o Dante i n the Paradiso (10-14).  Worm, l i k e Dante, i s " a t the  c e n t r e " o f these l i g h t s , each o f which r e p r e s e n t s a great t e a c h e r o f Christendom, and, i n t h e i r wheelings, f e c t order o f the u n i v e r s e .  t h e per-  Those i n Mahood's s t o r y  "have no pedagogic purpose i n view" ( 3 5 6 ) however, f o r " l i s t e n i n g t o t a l k o f the heavens" ( 3 5 3 ) only d r i v e s him f u r t h e r from h i s g o a l , t o know n o t h i n g . Mahood keeps speaking o f Worm, hoping t o a p p r o p r i a t e his  nothingness:  He hears, t h a t ' s a l l about i t , he who i s alone, and mute, l o s t i n the smoke, i t i s not r e a l smoke, t h e r e i s no f i r e , no matter, strange h e l l t h a t has no heati n g , no denizens, perhaps i t ' s p a r a d i s e , perhaps i t ' s the l i g h t of p a r a d i s e . (359) Worm's nothingness never w i l l l i v e .  i s t h a t of one who  has never l i v e d ,  and  Such are those i n the V e s t i b u l e , who 104  "mai non f u r v i v i "  ( I n f . 3.6k)  ["were never  T h i s non-existence  endured by those who  alive"].  c i r c l e ceaselessly  i n the V e s t i b u l e , a r r i v i n g nowhere, i s the f a t e meted out to Mahood.  "One  can spend one's l i f e thus  , unable to l i v e ,  unable to b r i n g to l i f e , and d i e i n v a i n , having done n o t h i n g , been n o t h i n g " (358)•  I r o n i c a l l y , Mahood has  one t h i n g those i n Dante's h e l l have l o s t i  the  the good of the  intellect. The Unnamable's every attempt  t o say h i m s e l f has r e -  s u l t e d i n f a i l u r e ; knowing he must f a i l he i s compelled go on.  His only hope now  to  i s to say e v e r y t h i n g , f o r then  he must s u r e l y s a y h h i m s e l f .  The p a r a d i s e of the  first  word i s t o be a t t a i n e d by c l i m b i n g Babel, toward "the g r e a t confounding" ly,  (3^0),  " t a l k i n g u n c e a s i n g l y , seeking i n c e s s a n t -  . . . c u r s i n g man,  c u r s i n g god [ c f . I n f . 3.103-4], s t o p -  p i n g c u r s i n g , past b e a r i n g i t , going on b e a r i n g i t , indefatigably,  . . . s e e k i n g who  you a r e " (385)•  seeking  Everything  ^Compare p. Jk6, " u n l i v i n g , w i t h no hope of death" w i t h I n f . 3«46—"Questi non hanno speranza d i morte" ["These have no hope of d e a t h " ] . 10  120 he says i s brought to the master of the t y r a n t s , who him.  "They b r i n g him the verbatim  ings" (369)»  observes  r e p o r t of the proceed-  j u s t as Gaber brought Moran's r e p o r t to h i s  master. The who  Unnamable i s "on the b r i n k " (410)  i s e t e r n a l i n time but who  temporal,  a Belacqua who  l i k e a Belacqua  w i l l never transcend  the  has no hope of redemption.  And  as l o n g as the Unnamable i s i n time, he cannot hope t o know a s e l f t h a t only e x i s t s o u t s i d e of time.  He has  words, he i s " i n words, made of words" ( 3 8 6 ) , and fail"  (411)  to transcend,  i f there are only words.  only  "words But i f  he e x i s t s only i n words, he must speak i n order to be  able  not t o e x i s t s perhaps they have c a r r i e d me to the t h r e s h o l d of my s t o r y , b e f o r e the door t h a t opens on my s t o r y , t h a t would s u r p r i s e me, i f i t opens, i t w i l l be I, i t w i l l be the s i l e n c e , where I am, I don't know, I ' l l never know, i n the s i l e n c e you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I ' l l go on. ( 4 l 4 ) The  Unnamable i s s t i l l  on the t h r e s h o l d , l i k e h i s prede-  c e s s o r s , w a i t i n g l i k e Belacqua to pass through the (Purgs. 4 . 1 2 9 ) • without  The  The  f o u r n a r r a t i v e s come f u l l c i r c l e ,  transcendence.  damneds the scenery  "porta"  T h i s i s the c i r c l e t r o d by  but  the  changes b u t t t h e road i s Ithe same.  f o u r n a r r a t i v e s r e p r e s e n t an " u n f i n i s h e d a l l e g o r i c a l 105  progression,"  a p r o g r e s s i o n toward a b s o l u t e  nothingness,  ^ A n g u s F l e t c h e r , A l l e g o r y (Ithacas 1 9 6 4 ) , quoted by Knapp, "Beckett's A l l e g o r y of the Uncreating Word," p. 7 2 . 10  121  a progression  t h a t w i l l never ends  I t only . . . remains [ f o r the Unnamable] t o establ i s h i f he i s s i t u a t e d i n a p a r a d i s e , a h e l l , or i n a n e u t r a l p l a c e , where, as i s the case, the l a b o r i o u s c y c l e of g e s t a t i o n w i l l repeat i t s e l f i n f i n i t e l y . 1 0 6  The  Unnamable and h i s predecessors a r e i n the V e s t i b u l e .  They have abandoned a l l hope from the moment they emerged through the p o r t a l s of the womb t o j o i n the l o s t ones, who dwell among the s e c r e t t h i n g s . tongues.  They must speak i n deformed  They have no hope o f death, and envy every  other  f a t e , f o r they have no name and must f o r e v e r s e a r c h f o r the s e l f  obscure.  T a g l i a f e r r i , Beckett . . . , p. 5 9 . Compare Ingmar Bergman, who has remarked t h a t when a r t was separated from r e l i g i o n " i t severed an u m b i l i c a l c o r d and now l i v e s i t s own s t e r i l e l i f e ' , g e n e r a t i n g and degenerating i t s e l f . " See h i s " I n t r o d u c t i o n " t o The Seventh S e a l ? A F i l m , t r a n s . Lars Malmstrom and David Kushner (New York: Simon and Schuster, I960),  p. 8 .  10?  T h e  c h a r a c t e r s i n A l l That F a l l a r e a l s o i n the Vestibule, -inf. 3.64-9 and 1 0 3 - 5 a r e e s p e c i a l l y p e r t i n e n t to t h i s p l a y . There i s a l s o a d i r e c t a l l u s i o n t o the s o r c e r e r s i n I n f . 2 0 , which canto has f a s c i n a t e d Beckett ever s i n c e "Dante and the L o b s t e r . "  CHAPTER TEN WAITING FOR GODOT The Dantean i n f l u e n c e i s n o t o v e r t l y present i n 108 W a i t i n g f o r Godot,  but the p l a y does evoke both the I n -  ferno and the P u r g a t o r i o .  As the t i t l e s t a t e s , w a i t i n g i s  the b a s i s o f the c h a r a c t e r s ' e x i s t e n c e , and as such, i n the Dantean context, t h e i r s i t u a t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l l y p u r g a t o r i a l , Purgatory  being the p l a c e where the p e n i t e n t waits  released into Paradise.  until  Y e t , i f no one comes t o r e l e a s e  them, they would wait t h e r e f o r e v e r i n a grim parody of the Inferno, and i t i s t h i s s i t u a t i o n which the play  exploits.  As i n the t r i l o g y , the c h a r a c t e r s a r e t r y i n g t o f i n d i f they a r e i n f a c t i n P a r a d i s e , Purgatory  or H e l l , o r i n some  n e u t r a l p l a c e (corresponding t o the V e s t i b u l e ) . The  opening o f the p l a y , w i t h i t s "road" and i t s " t r e e "  i s t h e b a r e s t e v o c a t i o n o f t h e opening o f t h e I n f e r n o .  The  p u r g a t o r i a l m o t i f a s s e r t s i t s e l f immediately w i t h Estragon 108 Beckett, Waiting f o r Godot (New York. Grove Press, Inc., 1 9 5 4 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t . Since pages a r e numbered only on the l e f t s i d e , they w i l l be r e f e r r e d t o as " a " ( l e f t ) and "b" (right). 109 C o l m Duckworth, i n "Godot. Genesis and Composition," [En Attendant Godot (London: George G. Harrap, 1966), pp. I v i i - l x J suggests t h a t Godot might be Satan, s i n c e i f he d i d keep h i s appointment with the tramps, he would have t o c r o s s the swamp which Duckworth claims i s t h e Marsh o f Styx, and, i t i s i m p l i e d , only Satan c o u l d come from t h a t d i r e c t i o n . (How Satan would be unthawed i s n o t e x p l a i n e d ) . The quotat i o n s adduced from Dante do n o t support h i s c o n t e n t i o n , and h i s d e s i r e t o f i x p r e c i s e l y each element i n the p l a y denies i t s ambiguity, and thereby the p l a y i t s e l f .  " s i t t i n g on a low mound" (£a) as a " f o e t a l p o s t u r e " (45a; acqua.  110  i n what i s l a t e r d e s c r i b e d  c f . 56bi>, which r e c a l l s  V l a d i m i r and E s t r a g o n l e a d a h e l l i s h  Bel-  existence.  E s t r a g o n s l e e p s i n a d i t c h , and i s beaten r e g u l a r l y .  The  u n i v e r s e i s a nightmare, a muckheap, where some are "plunged i n torment, plunged i n f i r e "  (28b).  The two tramps are  surrounded by "dead v o i c e s " (40b), and f e e l t h a t even "to be dead i s not enough." gon, who  "I'm  in hellJ"  (47b)  says E s t r a -  walks w i t h a limp, l i k e Dante l o s t i n the dark  wood ( I n f . 1 . 3 0 ;  see above p. 2 5 ,  n.29).  Estragon, l i k e  V l a d i m i r , i s l o s t , w a i t i n g f o r Godot t o l e a d him out of the dark wood of unknowing. Unlike those i n h e l l , V l a d i m i r and E s t r a g o n have not 111 "abandoned a l l hope;" f o r them "hope [ i s ] d e f e r r e d " ( 8 a ) . They are vaguely aware of some g u i l t , and, l i k e those i n the  t r i l o g y , they p l a c e t h e i r g u i l t i n having been born. The major event i n both a c t s i s the entrance of Pozzo  and Lucky.  In Act I, Pozzo e n t e r s whipping on the b r i d l e d  Lucky.  Whips and b r i d l e s are a major f e a t u r e of the Purga-  torio.  The whips (Purg. 13*39) are the examples of v i r t u e  presented t o the p e n i t e n t s , the b r i d l e s  (Purg. 13.40) the  T h e a l l u s i o n i s more s p e c i f i c i n French, where E s t r a g o n i s " a s s i s s u r une p i e r r e . " See En attendant Godot (Paris? E d i t i o n s de M i n u i t , 1 9 5 2 ) , p. 9 . 1 1 0  ^ ^ " T h i s a l l u s i o n t o Prov. 13.12„("Hope d e f e r r e d makes the heart s i c k , but a d e s i r e f u l f i l l e d i s a t r e e of l i f e " ) , i s noteworthy because the " t r e e of l i f e " appears i n Act I I .  124 examples o f the v i c e punished.  Pozzo, however, does n o t  use h i s whip and b r i d l e t o advance a l o n g t h e road t o s a l v a t i o n * he i s i n f a c t heading toward the " f a i r "  (21b).  The name "Pozzo" i t s e l f has a Dantean s i g n i f i c a n c e .  The  I t a l i a n f o r " w e l l " or " c e s s p o o l , " i t i s used by Dante ( I n f . 31*32) t o d e s c r i b e t h e o r i f i c e which houses t h e g i a n t s , who c o l l e c t i v e l y r e p r e s e n t brute a p p e t i t e , a d e s c r i p t i o n which f i t s Pozzo. I f Pozzo i s appetite*? Lucky i s i n t e l l e c t , and i n h i s speech we see t h a t f a c u l t y s t r i p p e d o f a l l p r e t e n s i o n of knowledge.  Lucky spews out h i s words compulsively,  like  those i n h e l l who a r e compelled t o r e p l y t o q u e s t i o n s asked by Dante. The f i r s t a c t ends, as does the second, w i t h the v i g n e t t e i n v o l v i n g the l i t t l e boy, messenger o f Godot. Given Godot's g o d - l i k e f u n c t i o n i n the l i v e s o f the tramps, the boy can be seen t o r e p r e s e n t an a n g e l .  As such, he  r e c a l l s the a n g e l who, once the p e n i t e n t has been purged of a p a r t i c u l a r s i n , conducts him t o the next c o r n i c e , where he w i l l a g a i n undergo the p u r g a t i v e process ( f o r a different sin).  The i m p l i c a t i o n i n Godot i s t h a t  this  process w i l l take p l a c e ad i n f i n i t u m , the tramps never r e a c h i n g t h a t u l t i m a t e s t a t e o f transcendence t o which they have g i v e n the name "Godot." Act I I opens w i t h the f l o w e r i n g o f the t r e e which was bare o f l i f e t h e p r e c e d i n g day. T h i s i s perhaps the c l e a r -  125 est a l l u s i o n t o t h e Pur gat or i o , where, i n t h e EarthlyParadise,  the Tree o f Knowledge b u r s t s  i n t o blossom when  touched by the pole o f the C h a r i o t of the Church.  Allegori-  c a l l y , t h i s s i g n i f i e s t h a t when C h r i s t , the second Adam (the c h a r i o t p o l e ) i s unitedwwith the f i r s t Adam (the t r e e ) , man's dead nature (the barren  t r e e ) i s g i v e n new  life.  That the t r e e flowers between a c t s i n d i c a t e s t h a t i t s importance l i e s n o t i n i t s miraculous f l o w e r i n g , but i n the mysterious f a c t t h a t i t was barren the next.  one day and l e a f y  E s t r a g o n , as an "Adam" ( 2 5 a ) who has f a l l e n but  has not been redeemed, f i n d s the t r e e n o t the source o f a l l meaning, as t h e Cross was t o the C h r i s t i a n age,  but a  source o f mystery and of misery, f o r i t s i n e x p l i c a b l e f l o w e r i n g only i n d i c a t e s t h a t time, monster o f damnation, has passed, but t h a t "they do n o t move" ( 6 0 b ) . T h e i r s i s the s t a s i s o f h e l l . sings  ( 3 7 a - b ) , t h e i r l i v e s go on f o r e v e r , and a r e f o r e v e r  unfinished.  They must wait f o r Godot t o f i n d i f they a r e  damned o r saved.  U n t i l t h a t time they a r e n e i t h e r , and  they c i r c l e f u t i l e l y there.  L i k e the song V l a d i m i r  i n the v e s t i b u l e o f a h e l l no longer  CHAPTER ELEVEN ENDGAME The  f a i l u r e i n h e r e n t i n Hamm and Clov's attempt t o 112  make an end i s e v i d e n t i n the t i t l e , Endgame,  for i n  the endgame movements o f chess, the K i n g i s c h e c k e d — rendered  unable  t o move—but never leaves the board.  t i t l e a l s o suggests  The  t h a t what we are t o see i s a drama o f  which only the l a s t moments o f the l a s t scene a r e t o be played; a scene doomed t o be e n d l e s s l y repeated.  This i s  a p l a y about l a s t t h i n g s , about the moment b e f o r e a judgement t h a t i s never pronounced. Endgame i s an e x t e n s i o n and r e d u c t i o n o f Godot; i s more d e f i n i t e l y  infernal.  it  The p l a y opens w i t h the sug-  g e s t i o n t h a t the c h a r a c t e r s a r e s u f f e r i n g  f o r untold  "I can't be punished any more" ( 1 ) says C l o v .  sins.  Hamm p o s i t s  t h a t they are a l l "down i n a h o l e , " and l i k e the damned, Hamm curses h i s parents  ( 9 ; c f . Inf. 3 . 1 0 3 ) .  V l a d i m i r and E s t r a g o n looked without  f o r meaning and suc-  cour, i n Endgame t h e r e i s n o t h i n g o u t s i d e . are degenerate,  l i k e t h e i r universe.  and N e l l , who a r e a grotesque  Hamm and C l o v  They l i v e w i t h Nagg  r e d u c t i o n o f Paolo and F r a n -  cesca ( I n f . 5 ) » f o r e v e r stalemated  i n unconsummated l o v e ,  and bound by l i k e memories o f the p a s t . 112  Whereas  The deadly  situation  Beckett, Endgame (Grove Bress, Inc., 1 9 5 8 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  127 i n which Nagg and N e l l f i n d themselves i s a k i n t o t h a t a t the bottom o f the Inferno still  (3*0  where the s o u l s o f those  l i v i n g a r e f r o z e n i n the i c e o f Cocytus.  "Tolomea" o f which Beckett wrote i n Proust  T h i s i s the  (p. 4 0 ) , t h e  Tolomea o f the mind; and as Hamm remarks, "Beyond i s the .  (26).  . . other h e l l "  H e l l i s a l l around.  Death i s looked upon as being perhaps the only way out.  At one p o i n t , the two d i s c u s s how Hamm would know  i f Clov were dead.  Clov s t a t e s t h a t i f the alarm  were not wound t h i s would be evidence were dead. o f f , saying,  clock  enough t h a t C l o v  To prove t h a t the alarm works, Clov s e t s i t " F i t t o wake the dead" (48).  Here then i s  the c a l l o f the U n i v e r s a l Judgement, which i s t h a t are not judged, f o r l i k e those  they  i n the v e s t i b u l e they  have not l i v e d .  "Do you b e l i e v e i n the l i f e t o come"  (49) asks C l o v .  "Mine was always t h a t , " r e p l i e s Hamm.  "What Hamm sees i s t h a t w a i t i n g i s the f i n a l l o s i n g game, t h a t w a i t i n g i s i t s e l f damnation: f o r one waits  eitherfor 113  damnation o r s a l v a t i o n , and both a r e i m p o s s i b l e . " The  i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f damnation or s a l v a t i o n i n the  V e s t i b u l e i s m i r r o r e d by Clov's stage a t the c l o s e o f the p l a y .  i n a b i l i t y t o leave the Once a g a i n ,  Beckett's  c h a r a c t e r f i n d s h i m s e l f on the t h r e s h o l d o f judgement. C l o v remarks, "they s a i d t o me, Come now, you're n o t a 113 S t a n l e y C a v e l l , "Ending the W a i t i n g Game," i n Must We Mean What We Say?(New York: S c r i b n e r ' s , I 9 6 9 ) , p. 150.  b r u t e beast, t h i n k upon these t h i n g s [beauty and o r d e r ] and y o u ' l l see how a l l becomes c l e a r " ( 8 0 ) .  The r e f e r e n c e  to t h e "brute b e a s t " r e c a l l s U l y s s e s ' speech t o h i s men b e f o r e they s e t out a g a i n on t h e i r f i n a l voyage, t h e voyage t h a t ends i n h e l l . non  I n the speech,  Ulysses says,  "'fatti  f o s t e a v i v e r come b r u t i * " ( I n f . 2 6 . 1 1 9 ) ["'you were  not c r e a t e d t o l i v e l i k e b r u t e s ' " ] . t h i s l i n e i s doubly  ironic;  Beckett's r e f e r e n c e t o  i t seems t h a t Hamm and C l o v  were made f o r n o t h i n g e l s e but t o l i v e l i k e b e a s t s , y e t , u n l i k e b e a s t s , they have reason, which no b r u t e beast has, and t h e r e f o r e they have a s p i r a t i o n s toward something e l s e . The  r e f e r e n c e t o Ulysses a l s o r e c a l l s the theme o f words  as punishment, as they a r e f o r Hamm and C l o v , who, l i k e the c h a r a c t e r s i n the t r i l o g y , have "nothing t o s a y " ( 7 9 ) , y e t must use words which "don't mean a n y t h i n g any more" (44) t o say t h a t n o t h i n g .  They beg f o r an end t o the  i l l u s i o n c r e a t e d by words—ISLet's s t o p p l a y i n g " cannot order.  (77)—yet  abandon those i l l u s i o n s , among which a r e beauty and There a r e no g r e a t seas o f knowledge, o f beauty, o r  order, t h a t remain t o be t r a v e l l e d .  I n t h i s shrunken  u n i v e r s e , only t h e v o i d remains t o be e x p l o r e d , t h e v o i d o f the s e l f , t o which t h e r e i s no end.  CHAPTER TWELVE HOW  IT IS  "Quanto a d i r qual e r a e cosa dura"  ( I n f . 1.4) [ " I t  i s hard t o say how i t was"] says Dante a t the opening o f his  poem, r e c a l l i n g the dark wood and h e l l i t s e l f .  now, as he begins  Yet  t o w r i t e h i s poem, he i s beyond a l l that,  He can s t e p o u t s i d e h i s poem, as he does i n M i c h e l i n o ' s famous p a i n t i n g , because he has made an end. To make t h a t end, Dante had t o transcend h i m s e l f , o r , t o use h i s own word, he was "transhumanized" ("trasumanar," Par. 1.70). Beckett's Bom, however, c a n only t e l l us how i t i s , f o r he has n o t y e t transcended h i m s e l f . 114 How I t I s takes p l a c e i n t h e mud and o r d u r e - f i l l e d 115 world o f the t h i r d and f o u r t h c i r c l e s o f h e l l * Io sono a l t e r z o c e r c h i o , d e l l a p i o v a e t t e r n a , maladetta, fredda e greve; r e g o l a e q u a l i t a mai non l ' e nova. Grandine g r o s s a , acqua t i n t a e neve per l ' a e r e tenebroso s i r i v e r s a ; pute l a t e r r a che questo r i c e v e . U r l a r l i f a l a p i o g g i a come canis d e l l ' u n de' l a t i fanno a l l ' a l t r o schermo; v o l g o n s i spesso i m i s e r i p r o f a n i . (Inf. 6 . 7 - 1 2 ; 1 9 - 2 1 ) F i t t i n e l limo, d i c o n : ' T r i s t i fummo n e l l ' a e r e dolce che d a l s o l s ' a l l e g r a , portando dentro a c c i d i o s o fummo: 114 Beckett, How I t Is (New York: Grove Press, I n c . , 1964). Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t . 1 1 5  N o t e a l s o I n f . 18.106-8; 112-114.  130  or c i a t t r i s t i a m n e l l a b e l l e t t a negra.' Quest*inno s i g o r g o l i a n n e l l a s t r o z z a , che d i r n o i posson con p a r o l a i n t e g r a . * (Inf.  7.121-6)  [ l am i n the t h i r d c i r c l e , w i t h r a i n , e t e r n a l , damna b l e , c o l d and heavy, whose measure and q u a l i t y never vary. Huge h a i l s t o n e s , f o u l water and snow pour through the shadowy a i r ; the ground s t i n k s on which i t f a l l s . . . . The r a i n makes them [ t h e s i n n e r s ] howl l i k e dogs. T r y i n g t o s h i e l d one s i d e w i t h the other, these m i s e r a b l e damned must t u r n o f t e n . ] [immersed i n t h a t s l i m e , they say, *We were s u l l e n i n the sweet a i r made happy by the sun, f o r we fumed s l u g g i s h l y insolde; and we are s t i l l sad<? in t h i s b l a c k ooze.' T h i s hymn they g u r g l e i n t h e i r t h r o a t s , unable t o say c l e a r l y even one word.] !  In these scenes Dante conveys the l a c k of communication between the s i n n e r s , t h e i r i n a b i l i t y t o express w i t h words and,  themselves  i n the d u n g - f i l l e d d i t c h of the e i g h t h  c i r c l e , the c o r r u p t i o n of the words themselves.  Beckett's  n o v e l i s a response t o a l l of these c o n d i t i o n s , but  he  emphasizes consciousness as the tormenting q u a l i t y , a consciousness which expresses i t s e l f through words.  As 116  V l a d i m i r says, "What i s t e r r i b l e i s t o have Consciousness  thogght."  l e a d s t o s e l f - e x a m i n a t i o n , thereby  objecti-  f y i n g the s e l f , and a l i e n a t i n g one from o n e s e l f . f o r t h a t s e l f r e q u i r e s the Other t o witness i t , consciousness a l i e n a t e s the s e l f from the  The  search  and y e t  Other.  Bom's s e a r c h f o r h i m s e l f i n v o l v e s h i s s e a r c h f o r Pirn, and the n o v e l i s d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e p a r t s i W a i t i n g f o r Godot, p. 4 l b .  before, with  131 and a f t e r Pirn.  T h i s t r i p a r t i t e d i v i s i o n r e c a l l s the  Commedia's and r e p r e s e n t s Bom's attempt t o i n s t i l ( a l b e i t s p u r i o u s ) i n t o the chaos o f h i s world.  order  The de-  s i r e d order o f b e f o r e , w i t h and a f t e r r e p r e s e n t s a p r o g r e s s i o n , yet  t h e r e i s no progress i n the mud, and t h e r e i s no end.  Bom's w o r l d i s one without of  order, i n which t h e paradigms  the B i b l e and the Commedia—both p r e d i c a t e d upon the  order o f b e f o r e , w i t h , and a f t e r — a r e out o f p l a c e . I f Bom i s t o r e a l l y t e l l how i t i s , then he must p i c t u r e t h i s unordered  world, t h i s c h a o t i c wallowing  i n the mud.  he makes an end, he w i l l r e a l i z e h i s apocalypse, as apocalypse  i s t h e Apocalypse  without  When  and chaos  C h r i s t , the apocai  lypse o f a world n o t t o be redeemed: [ B e c k e t t ] i s the perverse t h e o l o g i a n of a world which has s u f f e r e d a F a l l , experienced an I n c a r n a t i o n which changes a l l r e l a t i o n s o f p a s t , present, and f u t u r e , but which w i l l n o t be redeemed. Time i s an endless t r a n s i t i o n from one c o n d i t i o n of. misery t o another, •a p a s s i o n without form o r s t a t i o n s , ' t o be ended by no p a r o u s i a . I t i s a world c r y i n g out f o r forms and s t a t i o n s , and f o r apocalypse; a l l i t gets i s v a i n t e m p o r a l i t y , mad, m u l t i f o r m a n t i t h e t i c a l i n f l u x . Words r e p r e s e n t the attempt t o order the world, y e t t h a t order i s s p u r i o u s because the words a r e themselves i n s u f f i c i e n t t o d e s c r i b e the world.  " I t a l l depends on  what i s n o t s a i d " (37) says Bom, f o r he wants t o say what 117 Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1967). P* 5 » 1:L  (New York:  h i s words cannot, nothing, " a l l s e l f to be abandoned sayn o t h i n g when n o t h i n g " ( 8 3 ) .  Because Bom  e x i s t s only i n  h i s words ( " i f n o t h i n g I i n v e n t must keep busy  otherwise  death" [ 8 1 ] ) , he must not only say n o t h i n g , but be n o t h i n g at the same time, l i k e Worm.  Yet, i r o n i c a l l y , he must  e x i s t i n order t o speak, "no more I ' l l hear no more see no more yes I must t o make an end"  (106).  There i s a g a i n  the s u g g e s t i o n of an " u n f i n i s h e d a l l e g o r i c a l progressions'" the pun c o n t a i n e d i n the French t i t l e Comment c ' e s t suggests t h a t t h i s p r o g r e s s i o n w i l l continue f o r e v e r s "When you t h i n k of the couple we were Pirn and I p a r t  two  and s h a l l be a g a i n p a r t s i x t e n f o u r t e e n so on each time" (121).  There i s a l s o the i m p l i c a t i o n , as i n the  t h a t a l l the c h a r a c t e r s are ones "each one the same time Bom  and Pirn tormentor  trilogy,  of us i s a t  and tormented pedant  and dunce wooer and wooed s p e e c h l e s s and r e a f f l i c t e d speech" "You  (140).  They move on i n the same h e l l i s h  with  circle.  b e g i n a g a i n a l l over more or l e s s i n the same p l a c e "  (22) and t h a t p l a c e i s " f a m i l i a r i n s p i t e of i t s s t r a n g e nesses."  Each p a r t of How  I t Is i s the same as the nexts  i n a world without end, b e f o r e , w i t h and a f t e r are meaningl e s s , and where there are only words the e s s e n t i a l does not change. The  e s s e n t i a l i s h e l l , and  [ " l e s e g r e t e c o s e , " I n f . 3-21] spoken t h e r e .  i t s " s e c r e t t h i n g s " (84) are the words which are  As i n the t r i l o g y the words are the  agents  133 of torment.  Bom cuts h i s name i n t o Pirn's " a r s e " ( 6 0 ) ;  the words b l e e d as they do from the s u i c i d e s i n t h a t grotesque f o r e s t i n h e l l  (Inf. 1 3 . 4 3 - 4 4 ) .  Bom r e f e r s t o h i s p r e v i o u s above i n the l i g h t "  ( 8 ) , as Dante i n h e l l speaks o f having  come from " ' l a su d i sopra, 49)  e x i s t e n c e ( s ) as "the other  i n l avita  ["'up above i n the b r i g h t l i f e ' " ] .  serena'"  (Inf. 15.  But, l i k e those i n  h e l l , Bom r e a l i z e s t t h a t there i s "no going back up t h e r e " — "'gia  mai d i questo fondo / non torno v i v o a l c u n * " ( I n f . 2 7 .  64-5)  ["'never out o f these depths / has any l i v i n g one  returned'"]. Knowing t h a t he cannot evade t h i s torment, Bom cont i n u e s onward, only t o r e g r e s s , f o r he searches  n o t f o r the  paradise t o come (a p a r a d i s e as c e r t a i n as Godot), but f o r the one he has known, t h e p r e - n a t a l "paradise b e f o r e the hoping" ( 2 3 ) .  H i s road t o Paradise runs through H e l l , as  d i d Dante's, but s i n c e there i s no p a r a d i s e , he remains i n h e l l , c r a w l i n g "towards the w a l l the d i t c h " ( 1 6 ) , which r e c a l l t h e w a l l o f the C i t y o f D i s and t h e d i t c h - l i k e bolge  i t encloses  (Inf. 9 f f . ) .  T h i s i s the e s s e n t i a l  mode of Bom's e x i s t e n c e ; he i s l i k e a "Belacqua over on h i s s i d e t i r e d  fallen  o f w a i t i n g f o r g o t t e n o f t h e hearts  where grace abides a s l e e p " ( 2 4 ) . T h i s image of a Belacqua " t i r e d the s t a t e of those Beckett  of waiting" duplicates  i n the V e s t i b u l e , and i t i s here t h a t  p l a c e s Bom and the o t h e r s .  They a r e "not i n t h e '  lowest depths" but "on the edge" (20), which i s to say they are " i n the V e s t i b u l e " (44).  N e i t h e r damned nor  they do not know whether to "curse God Bom  or b l e s s him"  saved, (40).  i s d e s c r i b e d as " h o l d i n g i n [ h i s ] mouth the h o r i z o n t a l  s t a f f of a v a s t banner" (36)  which r e c a l l s  run ( I n f . 3 . 5 2 ) .  which the F u t i l e  the one  L i k e the F u t i l e ,  b i r t h [ i s ] l a c k i n g " (104; c f . I n f . 3.64), and there doesn't d i e " (93?  behind "even "one  c f . I n f . 3.46).  Bom's s i t u a t i o n i s hopeless because he i s "seeking t h a t which [he has] l o s t there where [he has] never been" (4?).  In p a r t two,  he f i n d s Pirn, and a "new  life"  But the " v i t a nuova" i s a p e n a l t y , a torment. not want a "new  of e t e r n a l torment.  and Pirn l o c k e d i n an embrace  " I ' l l s t a y where I am yes glued t o  him yes tormenting him yes e t e r n a l l y y e s " ( 9 8 ) the p a i r s of tormentors  in hell.  r e l a t e s the same d e t a i l s as the f i r s t "la  perduta gente" ( I n f . 3 . 3 )  t r y t o t e l l how know.  does  l i f e " but the o l d l i f e he had i n the womb.  The second p a r t ends w i t h Bom  recalling  Bom  (62).  ["the  two.  says  Bom,  The t h i r d p a r t Bom  i s one  l o s t ones"] who  of  must  i t i s of a world and of a s e l f they do not  CHAPTER THIRTEEN THE  LOST ONES  Only one name appears  i n the s i x t y - t h r e e pages of  Beckett's most r e c e n t l y p u b l i s h e d work o f prose  fiction;  11 it  i s t h e name o f Dante.  The t i t l e  i t s e l f , The Lost Ones,  i s an a l l u s i o n t o t h e i n s c r i p t i o n over the gates of h e l l , which d e s c r i b e s those beyond as " l a perduta gente" ( I n f . 3.3)-  The round rubber c y l i n d e r i n which t h e a c t i o n o f  the s t o r y takes p l a c e i s l i k e one o f h e l l ' s c i r c l e s away from the o t h e r s .  sliced  The c i r c l e i s t h a t one c o n t a i n i n g  the V e s t i b u l e of h e l l . Beckett's d i c t i o n i n t h i s s t o r y i s remarkable.  After  the incoherent g u r g l i n g s of How I t Is and the sparse mutt e r i n g s of Lessness, we have i n The Lost Ones b r i l l i a n t l y sharp sentences, complete w i t h p u n c t u a t i o n , c o n n e c t i v e s , and an omniscient n a r r a t o r .  The a l l u s i o n s a r e more d i r e c t  than i n the previous works, a l s o . The s t o r y c o n s i s t s o f v a r i o u s d e s c r i p t i o n s of the c y l i n d e r and i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . e l a b o r a t e d upon.  Information i s g i v e n , then  F i n a l l y , a l l o n e s u r v i v o r i s p o s i t e d ; he  i s d e s c r i b e d very b r i e f l y , and the s t o r y ends w i t h an almost naked  bathos. Numbers a r e used i n t h i s s t o r y  (as i n Imagination  Dead Imagine) t o negate the i m a g i n a t i o n ; numbers s t a t e , they do not suggest. •I -I  o  The c l i m a t e of the c y l i n d e r i n which  B e c k e t t , The L o s t Ones (New York, Grove P r e s s , I n c . , Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t .  1972).  the a c t i o n takes p l a c e i s c o n t r o l l e d — a s i s e v e r y t h i n g e l s e c o n t r o l l e d — s o that " i t o s c i l l a t e s cold" (8).  . . . between hot  Those i n h e l l a l s o must s u f f e r the torments of  " ' i n c a l d o e 'n g e l o ' " ( I n f . 3 . 8 7 )  being  ice'"]. bodies  and  T h i s c l i m a t e has  [  M ,  i n fire  and  i t s obvious e f f e c t s , and  "the  brush t o g e t h e r with a r u s t l e of dry l e a v e s , " which  r e c a l l s Dante's d e s c r i p t i o n of the s i n n e r s who  wait to  be  f e r r i e d a c r o s s Acheron. Come d'autunno s i l e v a n l e f o g l i e similmente i l mal seme d'Adamo g i t t a n s i d i quel l i t o ad una ad una. (Inf. 3.112; 115-6) [As i n autumn the leaves f a l l . . . so the cursed seed of Adam c a s t s i t s e l f from the shore, one by one.] The  one m o t i v a t i n g  need to c l i m b "  (10).  f o r c e of a l l these people i s "the  T h i s need serves t o d i v i d e them i n t o  f o u r major groups* those who pause, those who and,  s i t i n one  " f o u r t h l y those who  move p e r p e t u a l l y , those spot and  who  s t i r occasionally,  do not s e a r c h or non-searchers  s i t t i n g f o r the most p a r t a g a i n s t the w a l l i n the a t t i t u d e which wrung from Dante one The  of h i s r a r e wan  to  (14).  a t t i t u d e i s of course the f o e t a l p o s i t i o n assumed by  Belacqua, the s i g h t of whom, Dante say, mie  smiles"  "mosser l e l a b b r a  un poco a r i s o " (Purg. 4.122) ["moved my smile"].  lips a  little  Since the one need i s t o climb, the " f i f t e e n s i n g l e l a d d e r s propped a g a i n s t the w a l l a t i r r e g u l a r (1?) take on g r e a t importance.  intervals"  I n the heaven of Saturn,  Dante sees a golden l a d d e r upon which throng the contemplativest di  c o l o r d'oro i n che r a g g i o t r a l u c e v i d ' i o uno s c a l e o e r e t t o i n suso tanto, che n o i seguiva l a mia l u c e . (Par. 21.28-30)  [ I saw a l a d d e r the c o l o r o f g o l d t h a t r e f l e c t s l i g h t , r e a c h i n g so high t h a t my gaze,could n o t f o l l o w i t . J T h i s l a d d e r , r e p r e s e n t i n g s p i r i t u a l transcendence, leads u l t i m a t e l y t o t h e Empyrean, and those who climb the l a d d e r s in  the c y l i n d e r have a s i m i l a r g o a l .  rumour has i t or b e t t e r s t i l l  "From time immemorial  the n o t i o n i s abroad t h a t  there e x i s t s a way o u t " (17-18).  One group contemplates  a s e c r e t passage, "the other dreams of a t r a p d o o r in  hidden  t h e hub o f the c e i l i n g g i v i n g access t o a f l u e a t the  end o f which the sun and other s t a r s would s t i l l be s h i n i n g " (18).  T h i s would be t h e i r p a r a d i s e , the p l a c e where, as  the a l l u s i o n suggests, il  they would f i n d "l'amor che move  sole e l ' a l t r e s t e l l e "  moves the sun and other  (Par. 33-1-+5) ["the love t h a t  stars"].  The way out i s only a rumour, y e t they continue t o climb.  The l a d d e r c a r r i e r s c i r c l e the w a l l , l i k e those i n  h e l l , as do the s e a r c h e r s , each i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e r i n g s . They .''never know a moment's r e s t " ( 3 6 ) , l i k e those who,  138 i n the V e s t i b u l e , r u n behind the banner "che d'ogni . . . parea indegna" of a moment's  posa  ( I n f . 3 - 5 4 ) ["that seemed unworthy  rest"].  The c y l i n d e r qua c l o s e d system  i s a model f o r the  work of a r t , " f o r i n the c y l i n d e r alone a r e c e r t i t u d e s to be found and without n o t h i n g buj> mystery"  (42).  the c e r t i t u d e s w i t h i n a r e v a l u e d only i n t h e i r e l u c i d a t e the mysteries without.  Yet  a b i l i t y to  The work of a r t i s seen  as a mode which i s v a l u e d only i n i t s f u n c t i o n t o take the l o s t ones beyond i t , and y e t , i r o n i c a l l y , be  i t cannot  transcended. "So on i n f i n i t e l y u n t i l towards the u n t h i n k a b l e end  i f t h i s n o t i o n i s maintained a l a s t body o f a l l by f e e b l e 119 f i t s and s t a r t s i s s e a r c h i n g s t i l l " way toward  "that f i r s t among the vanquished  f o r a guide" ( 6 2 ) . i t this first  (60).  He makes h i s so o f t e n taken  Now a l l has come t o an end, and w i t h  lone s e a r c h e r .  He bows h i s head, j u s t as "one  of whom i f a man i n some u n t h i n k a b l e past f o r the  f i r s t time bowed h i s head" ( 6 3 ) .  I s Beckett the l a s t of  these s e a r c h e r s , and was Dante the f i r s t  o f those who, a t  the s i g h t o f the l o s t ones, bowed h i s head, Kc;o.n l i o c c h i vergognosi e b a s s i " ( I n f . 3 - 7 9 ) ["with shamed and lowered eyes"]? 119  Lessness e x p l o r e s t h i s  situation.  CHAPTER  FOURTEEN  CONCLUSION  Seven  hundred  years  d e t e c t e d ,  Dante  s i n n e r s .  Examining  Dante  a l s o  prepared  f o r  f u t i l e  i n d i f f e r e n c e .  h e l l ' s  V e s t i b u l e  l i v e d ,  a n d ,  b e i n g ,  so  Our  death  study  r e v e a l e d  t h a t  of  Belacqua  i n  e a r l i e r  s h i f t s  to  the  Beckett t h a t  a d m i t t e d  waits  f o r  t i r e d  of  love i s  i s  t r u e  be  was  to  c h o i c e ,  n o n - c h o i c e ,  choose,  were  t h r e s h o l d  are  on  the  i n f l u e n c e Beckett 4) and,  i s  of  on  t h r e s h o l d Dante  draws  h i s  from  the  on  major the  on  of  of  p o i n t  t r i l o g y  i n  h a v i n g  never of  judgement.  B e c k e t t  a l l  of  those  they  f o r g e t s  i n d i c a t e hope  to  t o  a  a one  B e l a c q u a , change of  Belacqua  I n d i c a t i v e  i n  but  has  Dante's  of on,  r e f e r e n c e t h a t  p o i n t  f a l l e n t h i s  from over  B e a t r i c e ,  who  the  of  C e l i a  whore.  or  to n o t .  the  dump,  the  where  from  a  h i s i n  makes  M o l l o y  In  to  one  Belacqua  on  change  to  g u i s e  a l l u s i o n s  a t t i t u d e ,  d e s p a i r ,  of  h i s  a l l u s i o n s  a s s i g n e d l o v e  to  of.  moral  l i f e  works,  s i g n  i n  p o s s i b i l i t y  of  as  the  w a i t i n g .  appearance  r e s u l t s  m i s e r a b l e  r e p r e s e n t e d  they  never  B e c k e t t ' s  the  B e c k e t t ' s  V e s t i b u l e .  which  are  f o r  e v e n t u a l l y  were  (Purg.  c h a r a c t e r  a  the  anachronism  3)  a l t h o u g h  works, the  i n  an  p l a c e  Since  (Inf.  s i n c e  a  i n  o l t r e t o m b a  p r o v i d e d  i n  ago,  who  s i d e , a t t i t u d e  her the  q u e s t i o n s  l a s t t r i l o g y , i f  i t  140 The doubt concerning the nature of l o v e i s a r a m i f i c a t i o n of the doubt concerning the e x i s t e n c e of God,  and  t h i s doubt r e p r e s e n t s the g r e a t e s t schism between the  worlds  of Beckett and Dante.  writing  Without the Logos, the a r t i s t ,  i n the t r a d i t i o n of a l l e g o r y , achieves only c o n f u s i o n . Obliged t o express Nothing, the u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y , w i t h words, the a r t i s t can only f a i l .  Yet he i s o b l i g e d to go  on,  a b s t r a c t i n g h i s being toward e s s e n t i a l nothingness, a g o a l which recedes w i t h each word he  speaks.  Aldo T a g l i a f e r r i c i t e s f o u r major themes i n Beckett's works, motion and s t a s i s , l i g h t and dark, word and e x t e r n a l and  internal.  Dante's importance  silence,  i n Beckett's  work i s c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d by the f a c t t h a t the Commedia f i g u r e s i n Beckett's development of each of these themes. The  c i r c l i n g of the damned i s a p r e c i s e metaphor f o r the  m o t i o n - i n - s t a s i s t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e s Beckett's q u e s t e r s . L i g h t and dark imagery, c e n t r a l t o the Commedia, i s used by Beckett t o i n d i c a t e the outer and i n n e r worlds, tively.  respec-  His c h a r a c t e r s search out the dark i n n e r world,  which has i n f e r n a l i m p l i c a t i o n s when viewed i n the Dantean frame.  Beckett's concept  of words as punishment has been  shown to d e r i v e i n l a r g e p a r t from the Inferno  (especially  cantos 13 and 2 6 ) , and t h a t P a r a d i s a l s t a t e of s i l e n c e i s a s p i r e d to by a l l of h i s c h a r a c t e r s who  are a f f l i c t e d  speech.  i n n e r s t a t e has been  The  search f o r the microcosmic  with  a theme of Beckett's works s i n c e More P r i c k s than K i c k s .  In  141 the Commedia Dante i s a l s o s e a r c h i n g f o r an i n n e r s t a t e , f o r h i s journey i s u l t i m a t e l y a journey through h i s  own  soul. In h i s c r i t i c i s m , Beckett s t a t e s t h a t the poet must descend to the essence, as he says Dante d i d .  Beckett  r e v e a l s other themes i n h i s c r i t i c i s m which he e x p l o r e s i n h i s subsequent of a freedom  fiction.  Among these themes i s the i d e a  t h a t r e q u i r e s submission, of a process of ab-  s t r a c t i o n t h a t admits  of no end, and of the  of a t t a i n i n g a p a r a d i s a l s t a t e .  impossibility  A l l of these themes are  s t a t e d i n the context of the Commedia and i t s author. Beckett's a l l u s i o n s t o the Commedia are predominantly to the I n f e r n o ; they c o n c r e t i z e the theme of h e l l as present reality.  Thus, i n How  I t Is the landscape of the t h i r d  and f o u r t h c i r c l e s of h e l l i s evoked, but not the a t t e n d ant punishments or moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . simply, a metaphor f o r l i f e .  H e l l , i s , quite  Opposed t o t h i s h e l l i s the  p r e - n a t a l s t a t e which Belacqua r e p r e s e n t s .  T h i s "Belacqua  f a n t a s y " r e c e i v e s i t s c l e a r e s t statement i n Murphy. I r o n i c a l l y , Belacqua*s s t a t e depends on a u n i v e r s a l  eschatologi-  c a l system which Beckett's world d e n i e s . The Commedia p r o v i d e s an i r o n i c framework i n both Watt and Three Novels.  In a d d i t i o n , Beckett a l l u d e s t o  the Commedia i n h i s t r i l o g y to i n d i c a t e the t r a d i t i o n of a l l e g o r y i n which he i s w r i t i n g . express the a l l of a l l ,  Whereas Dante sought to  Beckett seeks to express the a l l of  142 nothing.  Thus, the f o u r n a r r a t i v e s can be read i n terms  of the a r t i s t ' s  descent  i n t o the s e l f .  Since each n a r r a t o r  i n the t r i l o g y  moves ever more deeply i n t o the s e l f ,  closer  to the essence  o f being, each n a r r a t i v e r e p r e s e n t s a h i g h e r  l e v e l of a b s t r a c t i o n than the p r e c e d i n g . Since the essence  o f these beings  c o n s i d e r knowledge s u p e r f l u o u s .  i s nothing,  they  L i k e those i n the I n f e r n o ,  they await the end of time and the concurrent death o f knowledge ( I n f . 10.100-8). of t h e i r t r u e s e l f h o o d . cant i n another  respect.  T h i s w i l l be the t i m e l e s s s t a t e  T h i s Dantean passage i s s i g n i f i The damned see only the past and  the f u t u r e , not the p r e s e n t .  They thus l a c k t h a t vantage  p o i n t from which Dante c o u l d see h i s former s e l f and look forward t o h i s new s e l f .  Although  Malone w r i t e s of Mac-  mann as Dante the poet wrote of Dante the p i l g r i m , Malone and h i s a v a t a r s a r e i n s e p a r a b l e , and Malone i s c o n s t a n t l y attempting  t o e s t a b l i s h the p r e s e n t .  Only death w i l l  him who he i s , y e t a t t h a t p o i n t he can t e l l The  essence  nothing.  of damnation i n Beckett's cosmos i s t h a t  t h e r e i s no damnation. of  tell  H i s c h a r a c t e r s wait on the t h r e s h o l d  judgement; knowing t h a t one t h i e f was saved and one damned,  they await the Godot who w i l l judge them as one or the o t h e r . The a l l u s i o n s t o the I n f e r n o and the P u r g a t o r i o i n Godot suggest  some a n c i e n t order which no l o n g e r o b t a i n s , but the  memory of which s t i l l governs the tramps' l i v e s .  143 That  " a n c i e n t v o i c e " i n Beckett i s Dante's.  It i s a  v o i c e which Beckett a t once denies y e t r e q u i r e s i f he i s to  speak a t a l l .  Beckett p l a c e s h i m s e l f i n the Dantean  c y l i n d e r y e t d i r e c t s h i s every e f f o r t toward escape. ett  works w i t h i n a t r a d i t i o n r e p r e s e n t e d hy the Commedia,  and I have viewed him  i n t h a t way.  I t was  i n f a c t the 120  d i s c u s s i o n of Beckett i n a c r i t i c a l work on Dante suggested to  Beck-  t h i s t h e s i s to me.  that  I f t h i s t h e s i s a t times appears  he Dante's commentary on B e c k e t t , the f a u l t i s not a l -  ways my  own.  For today men  seven hundred years ago.  l i v e and d i e much as they d i d  They s u f f e r , they a s p i r e to a  b e t t e r s t a t e , they q u e s t i o n t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and u l t i m a t e l y they do not know* We are proud i n our p a i n our l i f e was not b l i n d . Worms breed i n t h e i r red t e a r s as they s l o u c h unnamed scorned by the b l a c k f e r r y d e s p a i r i n g of death who s h a l l not scour i n s w i f t joy the b r i g h t h i l l ' s g i r d l e nor tremble w i t h the dark p r i d e of t o r t u r e and the b i t t e r d i g n i t y of an ingenious damnation. O l a f L a g e r c r a n t z , From H e l l to P a r a d i s e , t r a n s . A l a n B l a i r (New Yorki Washington Square P r e s s , 1966). Beckett, "Text," quoted i n Lawrence E. Harvey, Samuel Beckett; Poet and C r i t i c , pp. 294-5.  SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Works by Beckett A l l That F a l l .  Londoni Faber and Faber, 1 9 5 ? .  Breath, and Other Shorts.  Londoni Faber and Faber, 1971.  Cascando, and Other Short Dramatic Pieces. Grove Press, Inc., 19W. "  New  York-  "Dante... Bruno. Vico.. Joyce." Our Exagmination Round His F a c t i f i c a t i o n f o r Incamination of Work i n Progress. London« Faber and Faber, 1929. En Attendant Godot. Endgame.  P a r i s t Les Editions de Minuit, 1952.  New York. Grove Press, Inc., 1958.  F i r s t Love.  London« Calder and Boyars, 1973.  Happy Days.  New Yorki Grove Press, i n c . , 1 9 6 1 .  How I t I s .  New York Grove Press, Inc., 196*+.  Krapp's Last Tape and Embers. 1959. Lessness.  London1 Faber and Faber,  London1 Calder and Boyars, 1970.  More Pricks Than Kicks. 2nd ed., 193**; r p t . New Grove Press, Inc., 1972. Murphy.  2nd ed., 1938; r p t . New Yorki Grove Press, 1957.  No's Knife, Collected Shorter Prose 1945 - 1966. Calder and Boyars, 1967. Not I.  York;  Londoni  Londoni Faber, 1973.  "Papini's Dante."  The Bookman, 87 (1934), 14,  Play and Two Short Pieces f o r Radio.  FaBer, l?5*n  Londoni Faber and  145 Poems i n E n g l i s h *  New York: Grove P r e s s , I n c . , 1 9 6 1 .  P r o u s t . 2nd ed., 1931* 1957.  r p t . New York. Grove P r e s s , I n c . ,  "Sedendo e t Quiescendo."  t r a n s i t i o n , 21 ( 1 9 3 2 ) ,  S t o r i e s and Texts f o r Nothing. Inc., 1967. The L o s t Ones.  13-20.  New York: Grove Press,  New York: Grove P r e s s , Inc., 1 9 7 2 .  Three Novelst Molloy, Malone D i e s , The Unnamable. Y o r k i Grove P r e s s , I n c . , 1 9 6 5 . W a i t i n g f o r Godot. Watt.  New  New Yorki Grove Press, I n c . , 1 9 5 4 .  2nd ed., 1953$ r p t . Londoni C a l d e r and Boyars, 1972. Works by Dante  The Canzoniere, t r a n s . E. H. Plumptre. and Co. L t d . , 1 8 9 9 .  Londoni I s b i s t e r  The Comedy of Dante A l i g h i e r i , the F l o r e n t i n e , t r a n s . Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds. 3 v o l s . Harmondsworthi Penguin Books, I 9 4 9 - I 9 6 2 . The C o n v i v i o of Dante A l i g h i e r i , t r a n s . P. H. Wicksteed. Londoni J . M. Dent, 1 9 0 3 . Dante's L y r i c Poetry, ed. and t r a n s . K. F o s t e r and P. Boyde. Oxfordi Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1 9 6 7 . The D i v i n e Comedy of Dante A l i g h i e r i , t r a n s . Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 4 v o l s . New Yorki N a t i o n a l L i b r a r y Company, 1 9 0 9 . La D i v i n a Commedia, a cura d i N a t a l i n o Sapegno. F i r e n z e i La Nuova I t a l i a , 1 9 6 8 . La V i t a Nuova, t r a n s . Barbara Reynolds. Penguin Books, I 9 6 9 .  3 vols.  Harmondsworthi  146 La v i t a nuova, con una s c e l t a d a l l e a l t r e opere m i n o r i , a cura d i N a t a l i n o SapegnoT l i l a n o j Mursia, 196b. L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m of Dante A l i g h i e r i , t r a n s , and ed. Robert S. H a l l e r . L i n c o l n . U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska Press, 1973A T r a n s l a t i o n of the L a t i n Works of Dante A l i g h i e r i : The De V u l g a r i E l o q u e n t i a , De Monarchia, E p i s T l e s , and Eclogues, and the QuaestTo de Aqua et T e r r a , t r a n s . A. G. F. Howell and P. H. Wicksteed. London: J . M. Dent, 1904. The  V i s i o n of Dante, t r a n s . H. F. Cary. Newnes L t d . , 1844. C r i t i c a l and  London: George  Other Works  Abbott, H. P o r t e r . The F i c t i o n of Samuel B e c k e t t : Form and E f f e c t . B e r k e l e y : U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , A. E. [George R u s s e l l ] . The Candle of V i s i o n . U n i v e r s i t y Books, 1965* A l v a r e z , A.  Beckett.  London: F o n t a n a / C o l l i n s ,  . The Savage God* A Study of S u i c i d e . Random House, 1 9 7 0 . Anon. Anon.  "Beckett, Samuel ( B a r c l a y ) . " 1 9 7 0 , pp. 3 0 - 3 3 . 16  "Beckett up the P o l e . " May 1 9 6 8 , p. 5 0 4 .  New  New  York:  1973. York*  Current Biography,  Times L i t e r a r y Supplement,  A r e t i n o , Leonardo B r u n i . " L i f e of Dante." The E a r l i e s t L i v e s of Dante, t r a n s . J . R. Smith. New York: F r e d e r i c k Ungar P u b l i s h i n g Co., 1 9 6 3 , pp. 7 9 - 1 0 0 . Auden, W. H. 1970.  A C e r t a i n World.  New  York: V i k i n g  Press,  Auerbach, E r i c h . Dante: Poet of the S e c u l a r World, t r a n s . Ralph Manheim. Chicago and London: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1961. B a r b i , M i c h e l e . L i f e of Dante, t r a n s , and ed. Paul G. Ruggiers. Berkeley and Los Angeles* U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1954.  147 Barnard, G. C. Samuel Beckettt A New Approach, Dent, 1 9 7 0 . B e r g i n , Thomas G. Dante's " D i v i n e Comedy. " Prentice-Hall, 1 9 7 1 . 8  London:  New Jersey*  Bergman, Ingmar. The Seventh S e a l : A F i l m , t r a n s . Lars Malmstrom and David Kushner. New York: Simon and Schuster, i 9 6 0 . Boccaccio, Giovanni. " L i f e o f Dante." The E a r l i e s t L i v e s of Dante, t r a n s . J . R. Smith. NewTork: Frederick" Ungar P u b l i s h i n g Co., 1 9 6 3 , pp. 9 - 7 8 . Borges, Jorge L u i s . Other I n q u i s i t i o n s . Washington Square Press, 1966.  New York*  Brandeis, Irma, ed. D i s c u s s i o n s o f "The D i v i n e Comedy." Boston: D. C. Heath and Co., 1961. Burgess, Anthony. Faber, 1 9 6 7 .  The Novel Now.  London: Faber and  Cambon, Glauco. Dante's C r a f t : S t u d i e s i n Language and S t y l e . Minneapolis: U n i v e r s i t y o f Minnesota Press, 19697  C a r r o l l , John S. E x i l e s o f E t e r n i t y : An E x p o s i t i o n of Dante's " I n f e r n o . " London* Hodder and Stoughton, 1904. C a t t a n e i , G.  Beckett,  n.p.: I I C a s t o r o , 1967*  Cavell, Stanley. "Ending the Waiting Game: A Reading of Beckett's Endgame." Must We Mean What We Say? New York: Chas. Scribner's~S"ons, 1 9 6 9 . Coe,  R i c h a r d N. Samuel B e c k e t t . Inc., 1 9 6 8 .  New York: Grove Press,  Cohn, Ruby. "A Note on B e c k e t t , Dante, and G e u l i n c x . " Comparative L i t e r a t u r e , 12 ( i 9 6 0 ) , 9 3 - 4 . . Back t o B e c k e t t . Press, 1973*  Princeton* Princeton U n i v e r s i t y  . Samuel B e c k e t t : The Comic Gamut. Rutgers U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 2 .  New J e r s e y :  148 C o n t i n i , G i a n f r a n c o , ed. Letteratura d e l l ' I t a l i a 1861-1968. F i r e n z e s Sansoni, 196W. C o r n w e l l , E t h e l F. "Samuel Beckett: The F l i g h t S e l f . " PMLA, 88 ( 1 9 7 3 ) - 41-51. Cox,  unitai  from  George W. The Mythology of the Aryan N a t i o n s , v o l . 2. Londoni Longmans, Green, and Co., 1870.  C r o n i n , Anthony. A Q u e s t i o n of Modernity. Seeker and Warburg, 1 9 6 6 . Croussy, Guy.  Beckett.  Parisi  Londoni  L i b r a i r i e Hachette,  1971.  Debenedetti, Santorre.^ "Documenti su Belacqua." Bullet i n o d e l l a S o c i e t a Dantesca I t a l i a n a , 13 (1906), 222-233. D e s c a r t e s , Rene. The E s s e n t i a l D e s c a r t e s , ed. D. Wilson. New Y o r k i Mentor Books, 1 9 6 9 . Doherty, F r a n c i s . Samuel B e c k e t t . U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a r y , 1971.  Londoni  Margaret  Hutchinson  Duckworth, C o l i n . Angels of Darkness 1 Dramatic E f f e c t s i n Samuel B e c k e t t w i t h S p e c i a l Reference t o Eugene Ionesco. 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" Aspects of the I r i s h T h e a t r e . P a r i s : E d i t i o n s U n i v e r s i t a T r e s , 1972.  150 Hoffman, F r e d e r i c k J • Samuel Beckett: f f h e Man and His Works;* Toronto: Forum House P u b l i s h i n g Co., I9E9T Hopper, V i n c e n t . "The Beauty of Order: Dante." Medieval Number Symbolism. New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1 9 3 8 , pp. 1 3 6 - 2 0 1 . Jacobsen, Josephine and M u e l l e r , W i l l i a m R. The Testament 5f Samuel B e c k e t t . London: Faber and Faber, i 9 6 0 . Janvier, Ludovic. Pour Samuel B e c k e t t . E d i t i o n s de M i n u i t , 1966. . Samuel Beckett par lui-m&ne. de S e u i l , 1969. Kay,  Paris:  Les  Paris: Editions  George R., ed. The Penguin Book of I t a l i a n Verse* Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965*  Kennedy, S i g h l e . Murphy's Bed: A Study of Real Sources and S u r - r e a l A s s o c i a t i o n s i n Samuel Beckett's F i r s t Novel*. 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Londoni  L a g e r c r a n t z , O l a f . From H e l l to P a r a d i s e i Dante and His Comedy, t r a n s . A l a n B l a i r . New Y o r k i Washington Square P r e s s , Inc., 1 9 6 6 .  151 L e o p a r d i , Giacomo. S e l e c t e d Prose and Poetry, t r a n s . I r i s Origo and John Heath-Stubbs. Toronto: New American L i b r a r y , 1 9 6 ? . Montgomery, Marion. The R e f l e c t i v e Journey Toward Order: Essays on Dante, Wordsworth, E l i o t , and Others. Athens: U n i v e r s i t y o f Georgia Press, 1 9 7 3 . Montgomery, N i a l l . "No Symbols Where None New World W r i t i n g , 5 ( 1 9 5 4 ) , 3 2 4 - 3 3 7 ,  Intended."  Mood, John J . "'The P e r s o n a l System'—Samuel Beckett's Watt." PMLA, 86 ( 1 9 7 1 ) , 2 5 5 - 2 6 5 . Murphy. "The A e s t h e t i c s o f E i t h e r / Or i n Samuel Beckett's Novels." T h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y o f B. C. . May, 1 9 7 0 . Murray, P a t r i c k . The T r a g i c Comedian: A Study of Samuel Beckett. Cork: The M e r c i e r Press,""1970. Neumann, E r i c h . The Great Mother: An A n a l y s i s o f the Archetype. 2 n d ed., 1955* r p t . P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1963* Nores, Dominique, ed. Les c r i t i q u e s de n o t r e temps e t Beckett. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s G a m i e r , 1971* O'Hara, J . D., ed. Twentieth Century I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of "Molloy," "Malone D i e s , " "The Unnamable." New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 1 9 7 0 . Olisca, Renato. Samuel B e c k e t t : Prima d e l s i l e n z i o . Mursia, 1 9 6 7 .  Milano:  Papini, Giovanni. Dante V i v o , t r a n s . E . H. Broadus and A. B e n e d e t t i . Toronto: MacMillan, 1 9 3 4 . P a r k i n , Andrew. "'. . . scraps of an a n c i e n t v o i c e i n me not mine . . .'1 S i m i l a r i t i e s i n the P l a y s of Yeats and B e c k e t t . " A r i e l , 3 ( 1 9 7 0 ) , 4 9 - 5 8 . Pasquazi, S i l v i o . " A n t i n f e r n o . " E n c i c l o p e d i a Dantesca, ed. Umberto Bosco. Roma: I s t i t u t o D e l i a E n c i c l o p e d i a I t a l i a n a , 1 9 7 0 , pp. 3 0 0 - 3 0 2 . Pearce, R i c h a r d . Stages o f the Clown. Carbondale and E d w a r d s v i l l e ; Southern I l l i n o i s U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1970. Perche, L o u i s . Beckett: L ' e n f e r a n o t r e p o r t e e . E d i t i o n s du C e n t u r i o n , 1 9 6 9 .  Paris:  152 P e t e r k i e w i c z , J e r z y . The Other Side of S i l e n c e . Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1970.  Londoni  Ricks, Christopher. "Beckett F i r s t and L a s t . " New York Review of Books, 14 December 1972, pp. k2-kWT~ . "The Roots of Samuel B e c k e t t . " 17 December 1 9 6 4 , pp. 963-4, 980.  The L i s t e n e r ,  Robinson, M i c h a e l . The Long Sonata of the Dead: A Study of Samuel B e c k e t t . Londoni Rupert~H"art-Davis, 1969. Rodway, A l l a n . "There's a Hole i n Your B e c k e t t . 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