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Additional resources for Des Elements Aux Traces/Elements and Traces. (Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui)
C’est d’ailleurs au mot “cendre” que M sort son cigare. Tenant d’un Zeus despotique (parmi d’autres identités), imaginant donc un “tonnerre d’applaudissements” pour sa catastrophe, le Metteur en scène tyrannise son assistante et le Protagoniste. Celui-ci, nouveau Prométhée enchaîné (même si c’est seulement au figuré) lui résiste jusqu’au bout. , ce qui n’est pas sans rappeler le jeu de Watt avec la braise. La querelle du feu Le complexe de Prométhée 31 et de la cendre, de la clarté et des ténèbres, alliée à la cruauté et à la résistance au pouvoir se poursuit donc dans cette pièce tardive qui se termine, comme d’habitude, par la déconfiture du despote régnant sous le signe du feu.
Or, perhaps more accurately, Nemo can be aligned with the more detailed discussion of the “rupture of the lines of communication” (70) in Cézanne’s painting. Thus in two letters he wrote to MacGreevy in September 1934, Beckett stated that the painter had “the sense of incommensurability not only with life of such a different order as landscape, but even with life of his own order, even with the life operative in himself” (Knowlson, 188). Beckett’s aesthetic exploration of this ‘dehiscence,’ or to be more precise, his attempt to state and define the “no-man’s-land” between two poles is evident throughout the 1930s.
Fizzle 4, “I gave up before birth,” similarly mentions a death by water – “perhaps he’ll drown, he always wanted to drown” (1995, 235). If these examples all attest to a general terminal wish, it is also significant that their mode of suicide takes place in the symbolically regenerative element of water. It is unnecessary here to speculate about why Beckett in his texts appeared to be so fixated on this mode of death. But in a letter to MacGreevy of 1 November 1933, written from Dalkey where Beckett was staying by the sea with his mother, he noted that “I don’t know how people have the nerve to live so near, on, the sea.