Endgame by Samuel Beckett: A Book Review

endgame“HAMM: We’re not beginning to… to… mean something?
CLOV: Mean something! You and I, mean something!
(Brief laugh.) Ah that’s a good one!”
Samuel Beckett, Endgame

It is my first book of Samuel Beckett, and I intended to read a thin one in order to get an idea of how remarkable the writer is since I have read a plenty of positive feedback about his writing styles from the literati . Unfortunately, this one is soooo confusing to make out. I cannot get at the sequence of the story- the characters just seem to talk incessantly. There are apparently two characters who seem to talk to one another philosophically; then, another characters appear out of nowhere making a la cameo appearances. I said to myself , “ What’s going on in here? “ (laughs) Still, I kept on going. But when I looked it up in Wikipedia, I found out the real concept of the play: I was impressed. I have never seen nor read such kind of play that two characters have conversation next to their own habitats- dustbins. What an out-of-this world scene!

The play has just four characters: Hamm , unable to stand and blind; Clov , servant of Hamm; unable to sit; Nagg , Hamm’s father; has no legs and lives in a dustbin; and Nell , Hamm’s mother; has no legs and lives in a dustbin next to Nagg.

In the end, I am still boggled at the philosophical discourse among the characters- a challenge I might get through in an attempt to read his other books, particularly his trilogies.

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that… Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s always the same thing. Yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh any more.”
Samuel Beckett, Endgame

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at the Dutchess Theatre in 2009 ( Photo:ALASTAIR MUIR)

If I watch its stage play, I will enjoy it more.^_^

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It’s ok. )


The Crucible by Arthur Miller: A Book Review

Crucible Pic I wish Arthur Miller had put his ideas of witchcraft into different style, or into a play that does not appear enigmatic- the way I find it. The structures of the sentences as well as the plots and settings are beyond me. It takes me time to bend my mind to or assimilate it. Perhaps I could not concentrate on reading it at that time. (laughs) Otherwise, I would have liked it as many as three stars .

If you anatomize its literary value, you would end up realizing how brilliant Arthur Miller was. ( Thanks to Wikipedia and other secondary sources. ) He ruminated on how he was going to put his ideas into an allegorical play about McCarthyism . He used rhetorical devices , particularly a strong language and historical background which are the undertones of the things or big wigs involved in the issue. So, if it is played on stage, it could be quizzical for the audience. But alas, it may be now falling out of fashion or not going to be a hit since it happened in 1956. In addition, its original title was THE FAMILIAR SPIRITS then was changed into THE CRUCIBLE which is perfect to limn the conditions of the accused communists, subject to political harassment imposed by McCarthy administration. Literally, the word” crucible” means a container in which metals or other substances are subjected to high temperatures. Therefore, all the characters , metaphorically speaking, are subjected to the heat of the surrounding situation as are the main protagonists, who refuse to take their moral standards back . This situation is allegorical to the accused communists at that time.

If I ignore its allegorical purpose, I want to interpret it in a sense that the book or play depicts how narrow-minded the Catholic Church then against customs they found devilish such as doing black magic . As far as I knew , it is written in history that people accused of being witches in Salem then were executed by self-righteous church leaders and townspeople, for witches were believed to have been possessed by devils as described in the book, or for witches were believed to have posed a big danger to Christendom. The ridiculous fact is that people accused of witchcraft are still doomed and killed nowadays. For instance, in the Philippines, when one is accused of being a witch or mambabarang in Filipino , people kill her/him by stoning to death or immolating. Sometimes, the house is burned to the ground. For crying out loud! As I always believe, the crux of all problems is IGNORANCE. Thus, this play is a perfect religious lampoon in the modern era.

Rating: 1/ 5 stars

Why 1 star? Because I did some backward somersaults on the floor until I finished it.

I cannot! I cannot! I cannot! @_@