Happy Days by Samuel Beckett

Topics: Samuel Beckett, Ritual, Burial Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Happy Days by Samuel Beckett

The play ’Happy Days’ is a humorously dark and ambiguous play. The play is primarily a one-woman show. It is an interesting play that wrestles with themes of loneliness and extreme optimism in the face of utter hopelessness. The play unfolds rather loosely as we are introduced to Winnie, a middle-aged, happy-go-lucky woman buried up to her waist in sand. Behind her and hidden from view sleeps Willie, her husband. Winnie goes about her normal routine rituals. She brushes her teeth, reaches into her bag for miscellaneous items, and makes herself pretty by applying makeup. Throughout the first act, Winnie always holds a high sense of optimism in her state of paralysis. She states how it is "another happy day with the sun shining." She remarks on the loveliness of the sun, the blue sky, and obsessively tells herself how happy she should be that she is still breathing. The fear of impending death has her appreciating the basic needs of survival. Much of the play remains a mystery, the second act, which begins with Winnie buried up to her head in sand. We could not know who buried her up to her neck. There is also the case of her husband Willie, a strange, bizarre, sluggish practically mute man next to her throughout the play. At one point, Winnie's extreme optimism leads her so far as to ask Willie if he ever felt the need for gravity to suck him up to the sky. Willie reacts with a groan and merely replies with the phrase "sucked up." Her world is upside down and as she becomes more hyperaware of her grim fate, she fantasizes that her ironic thoughts could possibly be a reality. Willie is dressed in a suit, crawling toward Winnie, as if he is already mourning her death and ready for the funeral procession. While Winnie never uses the word, she is constantly lonely. Since Willie barely has any lines, we never get a sense of his personality. He's like a pawn in the background and Winnie relies heavily on his presence, constantly looking...
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