Winnie's Dramatic Story in “Happy Days" by Samuel Beckett

1194 words 5 pages
Samuel Beckett’s play, “Happy Days,” portrays a woman, Winnie, buried in the ground, first up to her waist, then up to her neck, determined to live out her meaningful life. Although her situation is hopeless because she has no idea how she got there, Winnie trusts that her life is meaningful and truly believes that there is nothing she can do to change it. Consequently, Winnie focuses on trivial details to pass each day. Beckett definitely succeeds in making this character’s life dramatic by consuming her life with habits and rituals. Winnie’s life is focused around certain details that help her cope with her anxiety of existence. Beckett shows that internally Winnie is afraid of what cannot be predicted or controlled and therefore …show more content…

Seeking to fill the hours of the day, Winnie chooses to reminisce about the past, speak in “old style” language, and carry out various rituals. Her black bag is the source of her rituals and it seems to be all that she really has, considering Willie hardly ever acknowledges her. Winnie starts and ends her day by the sound of a bell, quickly moving to the minute details like brushing her teeth, combing her hair, polishing her glasses, and putting on lipstick. Habit is Winnie’s sole consolation in her thought of a threatening universe winding down and eventually burning out. She insists on constructing activities to pass the time and to provide a sustaining illusion of meaning. Every action taken is in hopes to diminish her loneliness. Her rituals, repetitive in nature, erase Winnie’s distinction between past, present, and future. It is almost as if she has no free will and her habits consume her entire life on an almost superstitious level. Winnie must complete every ritual each day in order to feel whole. In the beginning of the play, the reader picks up on Winnie’s compulsiveness when she dramatically proclaims, “My hair! Did I brush and comb my hair” (756)? It seems as if superstition creeps in and Winnie cannot continue her day if she does not fully complete her rituals. Winnie bases her future on her next ritual. All of her available sources for optimism, however, are being used up in her black bag so she must work harder and harder to stay