Murphy as a Failure of Modern Life

Murphy is an absurdist hero. He marks a pivotal point in the narrative of 'Murphy'. Murphy was born in Irish capital Dublin. Fed up with the Irish lustiness and possessive love of Miss Counihan, Murphy made a dash to London. The crucial journey of the narrative starts from Murphy's journey from Ireland to London.

Samuel Beckett

Murphy's entry into London shows Murphy was eager to live a modern life in a modern city London. Murphy went to London in an attempt to escape from Irish orthodoxy and rusticity. It reflects Murphy's intense inner desire to pursue modern life. Murphy went to London means he has a desire to get settled in an urban area. By living in an urban area Murphy wanted to adopt modern life. He wanted to be a modern man. There was one more 'hidden purpose' behind Murphy's departure from Dublin. By departing from Dublin Murphy was departing from tradition, from rustic life and from life of traditional love and sentiments.

While living in London, Murphy happened to be loved by a prostitute. He was fascinated by urban, modern life without growing aware of its pros and cons oppressed by his desire to get settled in London. Murphy came out on a mad hunt for employment. While living in London Murphy came to know how mechanical modern life is, how joyless and isolated urban life is, how juiceless and joyless modern life is, and how sterile and insipid urban life is.

With his desire to live in London, Murphy grew extremely self-conscious of modern life. He began to dislike the capitalistic system which defines self and manhood in terms of income and economic power and employment. Murphy failed to present himself in that form of modern manhood admired by the capitalistic modern economy. Celia constantly goaded him to hunt for jobs. But Murphy himself was repugnant to do the job. To satisfy the basic requirement of Celia, Murphy became unable. The capitalistic system expects an individual to exert a mind or a body. Employment is defined as a hallmark of modern manhood. But Murphy failed to put on this hallmark of modern manhood. He failed to wear this trademark of modern life. He became unable to embrace the modern virtue of mechanical involvement in the work. That is why he failed. Even after getting employed in mental hospital Murphy died. Had he died in idleness, it would not have been the failure of modern life. But he died even at the time of his employment. He was told by the modern urban protocol and values that an employed manhood is the best sort of manhood. But after being employed Murphy saw the serious limitations of modern life. Murphy's violent death is a new way of defining life. By living a blissful life at the point between body and mind, Murphy had been seeking a new way of defining life and existence.