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on February 9, 2001
So often Beckett's philosophical 'universality' seems like an excuse not to confront genuine dilemmas head on. 'Happy Days' is his most tangible work, a grim portrait of a marriage, where a wife is buried up to her waist/waste in a repetitious living death, trying to avoid confronting the reality of her situation, the brutish indifference of her husband, the incremental inevitability of life only getting worse.
Winnie is Beckett's most sympathetic character because she is the one we are the most likely to meet - she is aware of the hopelessness of her situation, but what can she do? Concentrate on something else - how many of us do better? The dissatisfaction most people have with the play presumably lies with the stage directions which interrupt the monologue every couple of words, rendering a fluid, rhythmic read impossible (like Beckett was ever easy). Instead of complaining, go and see it in a theatre, where words and gesture combine to moving effect, even when the language is at its most insistently ironic and playful (and it's very funny too, but don't they always say that about Beckett?). It certainly made me ashamed of the way I treat my wife.
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on May 23, 2000
Reading through the reviews here, I am absolutely bewildered as to how anybody could find this play intolerable or (even worse) dull. I am not one of these people that adore every word that Beckett ever wrote; I have severe reservations about some of the later minimalist pieces such as 'Breathe', but 'Happy Days' is one of the most concise and fully realised portraits of the human condition in modern drama. 'Waiting for Godot' is just playful and clever; this is sublime and intellectually adept, combining the structural rigidity of 'Not I' with the fluidity of existential ideas that proliferated throughout all his work. While this is not my favourite play of his, that is entirely due to a personal preference for 'Endgame' - there is nothing tangible that really lets it down.
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on December 8, 1998
Even though it was not the easiest read I've come across, that is beside the point. This poem has a large amount of symbolism that I have grown to love...the ringing bell, the revolver, the symbolic gestures of old age and all that he has put into this. Beckett put a lot into this one and it has a meaning, it is a scene in everyday life, put in a different perspective.
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on January 14, 2011
Beckett is one of the most notable writers of the second half of the twentieth century. There has been so much written about him that to add more is difficult. Happy Days is one of his best plays in which nothing much happens in an atmosphere of cheerful nihilism.Whether it is a comedy or tragedy depends on the reader/spectator.
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I am loathe to badmouth anything that came from the great Samuel Beckett, but I can't bear it. Happy Days is the worst play I have ever read. It is a mundane, insipid melodrama of no merit whatsoever. The idea is weak to start with; Winnie is a middle-aged woman buried up to her waist in dirt. SWith only a few possessions and Willie, a mumbling gargoyle of sorts, to keep her company, she remains entrapped in her absurdist situation, delivering a dull monologue that swings between pathetic whining and annoying screeching. I can't even imagine that watching this play would be an any more pleasant experience. No one moves at all, and all that keeps this play "going" is Winnie's humdrum soliloquoy. It's hard to imagine that the talent behind Waiting for Godot and Krapp's Last Tape could have been responsible for this tripe. I'm a worse person for having read Happy Days, a book which only deserves the title when it is burned publicly.
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on November 7, 1999
I am a college student who was required to read the book. I am all about deep meanings in life and looking for other ways of interpeting a writers different views but i feel this book/play was a waste of thought and lacked any purpose
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on August 30, 2002
Even though I consider myself fairly versed in theatre, I have to say that "Happy Days" fails to resonate. Granted Beckett is out there, but he accomplished far greater things with the sublimely ridiculous "Waiting For Godot."
"Happy Days" seems to wander around like a freshman who doesn't know what class he/she wants. Looking for absurdist theatre? You're much better off with Ionesco's "Bald Soprano."
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