certain extent, then, we can think of art and its presentation of singularities as a ‘becoming-imperceptible’. We become perceivable and extended bodies, or located perceivers, by contracting from the complex flow of life. We reduce the chaos of perceptions that we receive into an extended object, and can become ‘subjects’ who observe this object. By contrast, we become imperceptible – no longer disengaged from life and difference – by becoming one with the flow of images that is life. Instead of being an image set over against the world, such as a mind that receives impressions, we recognize ourselves as nothing more than a flow of images, the brain being one image among others, one possible perception and not the origin of perceptions.
The human becomes more than itself, or expands to its highest power, not by affirming its humanity, nor by returning to animal state, but by becoming-hybrid with what is not itself. This creates ‘lines of flight’; from life itself we imagine all the becomings of life, using the human power of imagination to overcome the human. We become free from the human, open to the event of becoming. Here, freedom would not be the opposite of necessity; it would not rely on a free self opposed to a necessary nature. Rather, there is a freedom in no longer seeing the world from our partial and moralizing perspectives. In perceiving the force and power of life that is also ourselves we become with life, affirming its creative power: no longer reacting against life from a position of illusory human judgment. Freedom requires moving beyond the human to affirm life.
The search for self-discovery, a common theme in literature, often involves a main character that finds his or her identity after a progression of experiences. Krapp fails to create identities for himself, he brilliantly portrays the existence of the individual as well as the absurdity of the human condition. In his play Krapp’s Last Tape, Krapp, whose failure to achieve personal continuity makes the search for identity impossible based on his perception of life as a progression of details, his interruption of recorded memories, and his disparity between fragmented selves that all of them can be concluded as becoming. Krapp is the single character. He is sixty-nine years old, isolated, near-sighted, and cynical. Krapp’s tradition is to record a new tape on each birthday, in order to review the events of the previous year and comment on the events of years past. Krapp, therefore, attempts to define his identity through the annual progression of perspectives on the past. He remains mostly stationary during the play, with the notable exceptions of his idiosyncratic behaviors such as vaudeville like banana-eating as well as frequent trips backstage to drink alcohol. Most of the play consists of Krapp’s review of a tape he recorded at the age of thirty-nine, punctuated by both commentary and silent reflection.
At first glance, Krapp appears to be the only character in the play, making it tempting to classify Krapp’s Last Tape as a monologue. However, it may be more accurately interpreted as a dialogue between Krapp’s past and future selves. The elder Krapp, the one physically present in the play, is celebrating his sixty-ninth birthday by listening to an earlier recording of himself, as seems to be his annual tradition, while the second Krapp is the thirty-nine-year-old Krapp whose voice is heard on tape. In addition, the voice of young Krapp makes reference to an even younger self, perhaps twenty-eight years old, a “young whelp” he has trouble believing he ever was. There may be, in fact, an infinite number of Krapps, imprisoned on the spools of tape carefully catalogued and locked away should the present-day Krapp feel the need to summon them.
The process of becoming can obviously be seen in Krapp’s life in order to escape from his gloomy atmosphere. The world that he lives in pushes him from stable and fixed identity to the becoming and floating transformation. Krapp would rather be other things than be human. This issue can be seen in every part of the play when he has obsession with things around himself
Krapp remains a moment motionless, heaves a great sigh, looks at his watch, fumbles in his pockets, takes out an envelope, puts it back, fumbles, takes out a small bunch of keys, raises it to his eyes, chooses a key, gets up and moves to front of table. He stoops, unlocks first drawer, peers into it, feels about inside it, takes out a reel of tape, peers at it, puts it back, locks drawer, unlocks second drawer peers into it, feels about inside it, takes out a large banana, peers at it, locks drawer, puts keys back in his pocket (76).
Krapp seems to repeat a lot of the same movements and then proceed to undo them as though he is not sure of what he is doing. For example, he takes out an envelope then immediately puts it back. He takes out a reel of tape from his dresser then puts it back. When he peels a banana, puts it in his mouth yet stops midway as though he does not remember what he’s doing. He does this twice before the monologue begins. Negating the ego is representing with his obsession with things rather than his identity.
Krapp is focusing on papers, tapes and spools, he is drinking too much and he eats bananas a lot despite his constipation. One of Beckett’s primary themes in Krapp’s Last Tape is that of unfulfilled goals. Despite his early convictions that he should give up his nasty obsessions, drinking and eating bananas, we still see him at sixty-nine and hear him at thirty-nine doing both. Beckett meditates on the uselessness of every goal ever set by Krapp. Krapp has never accomplished anything he hoped to, nor has he ever really tried. Becoming banana throughout the play can be as a representation of these unfulfilled goals. In fact, results can be seen by banana and alcohol. The former represents his identity that is nothing in this society, Krapp suffers from constipation and this can pave the way that he is remained part of the society too. In fact, not only is he nothing in his personal life but also he is negated by the society through his art. Also, the latter shows his own negation of identity by drinking too much alcohol, he tries to ignore his gloomy life through unconsciousness and this is concerned with Krapp’s suffering and survival, and his characteristics is struggling with meaninglessness and the world of the Nothing.
When Krapp plays the tapes, we hear his confident voice proving he was not always a loser but he became one some time ago. Young Krapp reveals two character flaws before the first pause that could foreshadow his demise. First, he reveals that he is healthy except for an old weakness and he celebrates this weakness alone at a wine house. Already at the age of thirty-nine, he refers to his weakness as an old one, as oppose to a new or recent weakness, leaving the reader to wonder, “what is this weakness and how long has he had it?” We also learn that recently he has been escaping his weakness through alcohol. As the tape continues, we are presented with young Krapp reflecting on an even younger Krapp. This Krapp is between the ages of twenty-seven and twenty-nine. This younger version of Krapp claims to want “to drink less.” However, young Krapp does not manage this and instead begins to drink to escape his weakness. So becoming banana and alcohol can be concluded from mentioned explanation.
Through becoming tape, Krapp tries to negate his identity. In fact, by recording his voice in different ages, he is attempting to copy himself and escapes from his identity. A live audience could interpret that Krapp is stuck in a moment in his life. This could explain why he is always repeating everything. He ritualizes it into an annual event to listen to this particular tape since it is the defining moment of his life. This tape then becomes a symbol of a bittersweet memory. His greatest triumph mixed in with his biggest failure. He never did overcome these flaws nor has he ever shared the same level of intimacy with someone else. Krapp’s life climaxed at the age of thirty-nine and from that point on, it could only go downhill. His only option from that point is to wait for death while escaping life through his tapes and alcohol. Every time that he records his voice, he is copying his identity and in the old age he is listening to those copies that were negated his humanity through copying.
By becoming tape, Krapp puts the process of subjectivity under the question. By considering the tapes and Krapp, we can see the body without voice in the old age and the voice without body in tapes. Separation between body and voice can be represented as shattered identity and catastrophic situation for identity. Tapes here are recording of identity. So we can conclude that without having a body, identity goes to nowhere. In fact, Krapp is destroying little by little physically and simultaneously he is collapsing his identity through recording himself. Krapp is looking for himself and his identity through different tapes in order to find himself because his identity is shattered into different tapes. As a matter of fact, he is trying to put these pieces of tapes together in order to find his own identity. But nothing comes out of it.
We can discern from Krapp’s heterogonous combination that the tape, the spool and the nonsense sound are put together not according to their structure. Krapp enters a regime of becoming silence through making a lot of hole and void phase. In fact, he is trying to desubjectify himself by recording silence and making a lot of pauses through recording
Here I end this reel. Box–(pause)–three, spool–(pause)–five. (Pause. Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back. Krapp motionless staring before him. The tape runs on in silence.(67)
Deleuze believes that with a repetition of the text doesn’t produce the same but effects a difference. When a virtually identical course of parts is repeated on two tragic figures, one can read them as paradigms of repetition and difference in Deleuzean mode. The lunatic Krapp seems to echo Deleuze’s word that “to produce difference in repetition is to discharge, to lighten”. As Deleuze says “Essence is nothing, essence is repetitions and differences” (87). We can see the different reflections in Krapp who fails in his personal life and his writing when he listens to one part of the tape twice but with different reflections toward it. For the first time that he is listening to this part of the tape, he is mocking at himself and he puts himself under the focus
–gooseberries, she said. I said again I thought it was hopeless and no good going on, and she agreed, without opening her eyes. (Pause.) I asked her to look at me and after a few moments–(pause)–after a few moments she did, but the