Murphy as an Absurdist Novel

Samuel Beckett's Murphy is an absurdist novel, which depicts absurd, meaningless, nostalgic, ennui condition of its protagonist questioning of the truth, certainty and happiness of modern life. Absurdist views that the human condition is essentially absurd. Absurdity means no sense, no reason, and no aim.

Samuel Beckett

The hero in absurd literature lies neither in the condition of nostalgia or optimism. Absurdist sees human life as condemned life. But total rejection of life is not possible, so we cannot free ourselves from this sort of meaninglessness.

The protagonist of Beckett's Murphy also represents the uncertainty of life. There is no any fixed and predetermined truth and position in Murphy's life. His love relation with Miss Counihan doesn't get the destination. Whether he keeps relation with Counihan or Celia or with any other people all is absurd. There is meaninglessness in Murphy's every action. He is purposeless character. Literature of absurd questions about the death of life. Due to this cause anxiety appears in his life. So he represents ennui which is the representation of late 30s and early 40s modern people.

Beckett is trying to represent that the world and life are very uncertain and absurd. It is also one of the themes of the novel. Uncertainty creates vagueness and unclarity in Murphy's life. He wants to forget all the knowledge of the world by giving extreme torture to him by fighting himself in a rocking chair. Many people in Europe are like as Murphy. He doesn't love people. He likes the darkness. Murphy says that if you find a job, marriage and settled life at that time you and your freedom is killed. There is not any meaning whether Murphy finds a job or not. So the tendency to find any definite meaning is questioned in Murphy. It is another feature of novel to discuss it as an absurdist novel. Murphy lives in different kinds of life, for example, his life is life without the worry of prestige, life, society, love decision etc. He is homeless character. His love, life, relation with society all are the ingredients of absurdist literature. One interpretation of life is Murphy himself. He wants that his body after death should be burnt and ashes should be thrown in the toilet. He is living only unconventional and precarious life. Not only Murphy even Celia is also homeless, meaningless, prostitute character. Miss Counihan also doesn't have fixed and single love relations. The rigid and uncertain behave of almost all characters also serve to prove the novel as an absurd novel.

Thus, Murphy is a kind of metaphor of absurd human life. There is a kind of purposeless purpose in Murphy's life which is another feature of absurd literature. There is the sequence of eternal recurrence of worldly things without any goal or destination. The tragic side of human life, the world, society during the period of world war is depicted in completely absurd manner in the novel. Everything lies in nothingness of Murphy's behave. He wants to forget worldly valueless things with the goal of life. Our very first mistake is taking birth and its solution is dying as quickly as we can. This sort of aim is Murphy's aim which is another ingredient of absurd literature. In that sense also Murphy is an absurdist novel. In this way Murphy's alienation despite being among the people his meaninglessness in life, society, relation, behavior, purpose, his irresponsibility all these feature proves Murphy as an absurdist novel. Theme, context, setting, characterization, plot all aspects of the novel are presented in a completely absurd manner. So Beckett's novel Murphy is an absurdist novel that includes most of the ingredients of absurd literature.