The Mysterious Banana Essay Example
The Mysterious Banana Essay Example

The Mysterious Banana Essay Example

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The Mysterious Banana Included in many literary works are objects, which may seem meaningless, contributing to the theme of the work.

In Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape”, a dramatic work which falls into the category of Theatre of the Absurd, the banana is a discreet object which eludes to the meaning behind why Krapp chose that particular event to listen to while recording his last diary tape. Sigmund Freud’s theory of wish fulfillment suggests that a banana represents repressed sexuality which can be linked to the event on the tape marked “Box Three, Spool Five”.Psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that who a person is and how he/she acts stems from the workings of their subconscious; this is known as the psychodynamic approach to psychology (Santrock and Mitterer 11). Through the psychodynamic approach, Fr


eud developed his theory of wish fulfillment.

Freud believed that the reason why people have dreams is so that their subconscious can express feelings and desires that they may not be aware they have, or are not able to act out while awake.In wish fulfillment there is manifest content which is the object that a person dreams of and latent content which is the symbolism behind the object they dream of (Santrock and Mitterer 235). The type of theatre which “Krapp’s Last Tape” is classified in is known as the Theatre of the Absurd. Theatre of the Absurd is a form of comedic drama which portrays the often meaninglessness of life.

Plays of this nature usually do not display a direct plot and are usually repetitious such as every day life is (Kirszner, Mandell, and Fertile 920).With using this form of comedic drama Samuel

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Beckett is able to portray the life of Krapp in a dream-like state, with a dark stage, cluttered desk, only one actor, and no direction of where the play is going. When looking at “Krapp’s Last Tape” as if it were set in a state of dreams it can be seen that an object in the play may have more meaning than what is originally thought to have. In dreams all objects and occurrences are thought to have a meaning other than what is seen at face value.It is thought that, in dreams, a banana represents the repression of sexuality. Not only does it represent the repression of sexual urges but of phallic sexuality (“Banana”).

It is thought that if bananas are seen in one’s dream then “your hard work will be met with little reward and gains” (“Banana”). In “Krapp’s Last Tape” the elderly man Krapp is listening to a diary tape representing his early years. On the tape marked “Box Three, Spool Five”, a younger version of Krapp relays an event in which he finds himself on a boat with an unknown woman.While before he searches for the tape, Krapp unlocks a drawer, pulls out a banana, and eats it. Shortly after the tape starts to play the younger Krapp says “Have just eaten I regret to say three bananas and only with difficulty refrained from a fourth.

Fatal things for a man with my condition” (Beckett 1370); as Krapp consumes specifically a banana before both recording the tape originally and listening to it years later suggests that the banana does have more of a meaning to him other then just nutrition.There are

two meanings behind the presence of a banana in a dream: repressed sexuality and the representation of failed work. Both of these meanings can be seen in “Krapp’s Last Tape”. When the tape of spool five is played, a younger version of Krapp discloses that he has consumed several bananas before starting the recording.

The recording that he makes is of a sexual encounter that had occurred at some time that year. The presence of a banana at this point in the play suggests that as he was remembering the event, before he started recording, he was trying to suppress his urges.It can be seen that he represses by covering up his emotion as while he relays the story he places a lot of emphasis on the scratches he sees on the woman’s leg and that he attributes them to her unfaithfulness. The fact that although the woman gives a viable explanation for the scratches, at the time of the recording, he refuses to believe which suggests that he is coming up with reasons to discredit her which may help him deal with how the relationship ended. The possibility that he is trying to discredit her ties into the second meaning behind why a banana is present in a dream.The banana is seen to imply that one’s hard work will be poorly rewarded.

Towards the end of the play Krapp consumes yet another banana and begins to record a new tape, his last tape, to reflect on the views of a younger version of himself. Krapp had rewound the tape to listen to a younger Krapp’s interpretation of the scratches on the woman’s leg. During

his new recording it is implied that Krapp may have ended the relationship to pursue a business endeavor when he says “seventeen copies sold, of which eleven at trade price to free circulating libraries beyond the seas” (Beckett 1373).This statement implies that he had tried to find success as a writer but failed. Moments later on the tape Krapp further justifies the presence of the banana. As he continues his recording he starts to wonder aloud “Could have been happy with her, up there on the Baltic, and the pines, and the dunes.

(Pause). Could I? (Pause). And she? ” (Beckett 1374). It is this thought that bring him to speak of a woman named Fanny who wonders how he manages ‘it’ at his age which may be interpreted by the reader that he is, to some extent, still sexually active.If that were the case, and he is not lacking the physical aspect of sex, it further implies that the banana represents the repressed sexuality from his lost love.

It is at this moment, at the end of the play, which Krapp seems to have come to realize what his choices have brought him. There is a feeling of sadness as he rewinds the tape to listen to the event of the tape one last time and continues to sit after the recording has ended. The play comes full circle at the end with a saddened Krapp; an elderly man who looks back on his choices in life regretfully repressing the memories with bananas.Although “Krapp’s Last Tape” is indeed a play occurring in the awakened state of Krapp, and not a dream, Freud’s psychodynamic approach

can still be applied to explain the value of the banana. Samuel Beckett’s use of the Theatre of the Absurd allows for the play to be seen in a dream-like state. While to Krapp the banana is just a piece of fruit that he feels is not good for his health, the reader is able to see, using Freud’s wish fulfillment, that the banana is a symbol of his repressed sexuality, built up from his lost love; love he gave up to try his luck in business.

Works Consulted Beckett, Samuel. “Krapp’s Last Tape. ” 1960. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G.

Kirszner, Stephen R. Mandell, and Candace Fertile. Scarborough, ON: Nelson, 2007. This is the piece of dramatic literature which my essay is based on. It is a play by Samuel Beckett about an elderly man who looks back on his diary tapes from years ago and voices how his opinion has changed over the years Dream Moods. “Banana.

” Dream Dictionary. 6 March 2007 <http://dreammoods. com/cgibin/searchcsv. pl? method=exact&header=dreamsymbol&search=banana>.This website is an online dream dictionary. It allows for you to look up specific objects and also scenarios.

It was very useful in my essay as it gave a best description of the symbolism behind a banana. The negative side to this website is that it is not peer-reviewed but I was unable to find anything substantial in the journals. Kehler, Dorothea. “Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. ” Explicator. 60:3 (2002): 159.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Georgian College Lib. , Barrie, ON. 9 March 2007 <http://web. ebscohost.

com>.Kehler points of the references made in “Krapp’s Last Tape” which relate to both “Othello” and “Gooseberries”. This article

gives insight to the reader as to where Samuel Beckett came up with some of the ideas for writing “Krapp’s Last Tape”. I did not use this in my research essay. Kriszner, Laurie G. , Stephen R.

Mandell, and Candace Fertile. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 2nd ed. Scarborough: Nelson 2007. This is the text that “Krapp’s Last Tape” came from but also served as a reference to types of theatre. This text covers many kinds of literature such as short stories, drama, and poetry.

Chapter 20, Understanding Drama, was particularly helpful as it described all of the genres of drama including the Theatre of the Absurd which was relevant to my essay. Santrock, John W. and John O. Mitterer. Psychology.

2nd ed. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson 2004. Santrock and Mitterer wrote this text as a learning tool for first year psychology students. It contains an overview on all of the fields of psychology.

Chapter 1, What is Psychology? , was very helpful in explaining Freudian theory. Chapter 6, States of Consciousness, further explained Freud’s theory of wish fulfillment.

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