The Failure of Man’s Dominance over the World in the Beckettian Drama: Endgame Case Study


  • Majid SHIRVANI PhD Student, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Cristina Georgiana VOICU Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch



failure, identity, (in)humanity, material world, existentialism,


This article leads a phenomenological reading towards the dramaturgy of Samuel Beckett and more specifically his Endgame with recourse to the doctrine of Merleau-Ponty. By mapping out a drama that decentralizes subject-ivity, Beckett‟s Endgame textualizes the subversion of the constancy of identity (“être-pour-soi”) of the modern man who holds a dichotomous look on subject and object in his dominating view on the world. From this perspective, Endgame exudes an atmosphere of existential Angst which peaks in a potential way of being that prevails in the hope for an authentic life but yet at the same time falls in a cosmic exile that emanates from man‟s failure in his dominance over the world. Here, the examples of the Hegelian master-bondage concept and experimental psychology are felicitous reflections of this tragic relegation of man. Accordingly, registering the Pontian phenomenology of disembodiment delineates the characters of the Endgame as (in)human beings lost in a meaningless space that abandons all attempts to influence the progress of the mechanistic material world they live in. Nevertheless, this case study traces the humanistic resonance of man to bestow new methods of exploring Beckett‟s „art of failure‟ as a relevant aesthetic reaction of the destabilized man in the modern world.

Author Biographies

Majid SHIRVANI, PhD Student, University of Vienna, Austria

Majid Shirvani is a junior researcher who recently completed his M.A. studies (2016) at the Department of English Language and Literature of Lorestan University, Iran. His scientific interests include social sciences, comparative and postmodern literature, deconstructive studies, and psychoanalytical criticism. He has also held a junior assistant position at the University of Kuhdasht, Iran (2016-2017).

Cristina Georgiana VOICU, Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch

Cristina-Georgiana Voicu is a former Post-PhD Fellow at The Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch. She received her PhD in Humanities/Philology (2012) from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi. Her scientific interests focus on cultural studies, philosophy of language, discourse analysis, epistemology and cognitive science. Her overall 3 h-index score shows both her productivity and citations in Google Scholars.


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How to Cite

SHIRVANI, M., & VOICU, C. G. (2018). The Failure of Man’s Dominance over the World in the Beckettian Drama: Endgame Case Study. Postmodern Openings, 9(2), 145-160.



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