Absurdism in Samuel Beckett’s Murphy

Samuel Beckett is an apostle of existentialism. As an existentialist author he views human life as a meaningless collection of facilities. Life is a jumble of facts devoid of any sense. In existential sense living a life is analogous to living a routine life. Life or human existence seems circular.

Samuel Beckett

By breaking the barrier of human existence if the characters struggle to see any extra unique truth, they shall be condemned to evaporate in the crucible of human existence.

Murphy is that sort of character who wants to avoid the unavoidable. He is that sort of character who unfortunately reaches that places from where he deliberately intends to turn away. He constantly rejects that thing which he is condemned to accept.

Murphy sought to live in that position which is unaffected by the movement of the body and the play of mind. To evolve to exist and to exist to evolve, we have to live by the joint play of body and mind. No biological entity (mind or body) alone can run life. For the smooth existential growth of selfhood an individual must not try to go beyond body mind non-dualism. Murphy is crazy to experience that position unharmed and unaffected by the oppressive forces of body and mind. That is why he chose to live in a state of blissful nonbeing. This act of Murphy's living in a rock and shaking the rock to and fro can't solve the actual discomfort he had to encounter in real life. Hence Murphy is an absurd hero. We know that Murphy's dwelling in the state of non-being of non-involvement and, of non progression is not the reasonable way of solving the problem he faced. Murphy does not know that his activities are saturated with some elements of absurdism.

Murphy, despite Celia's rhetoric of work, declines to hunt for jobs. Is it not absurd of Murphy to live an idle life, even at the moment of chilling and crushing poverty? If Murphy had been rich, then it would have been rational of him even if he had lived an idle life. He left Dublin and came to London.

Even in such a big city where life is very selfish and competitive, Murphy continues to follow his own absurd bent. He lives a meager life with meager income. He is infested by penury. He is almost about to die of hunger. But he does not hunt for employment. He loves and is loved by Celia but does not think about living in accordance with his beloved's advice. On the one hand Murphy negates employment, he negates incomes, negates money. He negates the definition of selfhood and life-view determined by the capitalist order. But he deceives waiter for a small gain of sipping a little more tea and a few more pieces of biscuit. Does not it bring into light the fact that Murphy is absurdist. The following network of love brings into light the presence of some absurdist elements in the novel 'Murphy'.

Wylie loves Miss Counihan. Neary really loves Miss Counihan. But Miss Counihan has not given her heart to them. To their surprise she loves Murphy. But Murphy went away from her. To Miss Counihan's disappointment she loves and is loved by Celia.

What kind of serpentine and labyrinthine relation existed amidst them? Can any rational relationship develop between them? Miss Connihan promised Neary to accept Neary only when she hears from Murphy's mouth that Murphy has no love for her. If so, why are other characters involved in a Counihan's journey to London. The journey to London is evocative of the undertones of absurdist elements.

By living in the position between body and mind Murphy feels as if he is free from all worldly and physical woes. But we readers feel that the more Murphy struggles to turn away from the physical and worldly woes the more tumultuous and torturous he feels. So, entire activities of Murphy seem ludicrous. Murphy runs away from Miss Connihan who loves him. To escape from Miss Counihan's possessive love, Murphy went to London. Even in London Murphy fell in possessive love of Celia. Murphy's journey to escape from possessive love does not lead to the world of freedom. It seems Murphy is engaged in the journey to freedom, but in an absurdly unfortunate way he gets trapped in the same oppressive and possessive love. Hence Murphy is an absurd hero.

Murphy deliberately moves into the whirl of nothingness. Instead of living in the world of something Murphy forcibly moves into the world of nothingness. Murphy is getting pushed into the world of nothingness. Isn't it absurd about Murphy to rush into the world of nothingness?

Finally, we can say that Murphy is an absurdist hero because his life-view, his manner and his thought pattern don't match with that of ours. Murphy's life seems absurdist if tested in our own world.