Beckett's Purgatories

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Abstract:

Examining these texts within the Catholic medieval conception of purgatory as an intermediate state between sin and salvation, we can consider the position of Beckett's characters as trapped in their ambiguous afterlives. Rejecting the original concept of purgatory as a place of cleansing the soul before its heavenly reception, Beckett and his creations deny medieval certainty and confront modern agnosticism. Influenced by traditional perceptions of the place of purging, yet scouring from his depictions the surety of an end to their suffering, Beckett reshapes purgatory into a negative space of spiritual and physical confinement from which escape remains as uncertain as redemption.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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