FROM SLOTHFUL WANDERERS TO CRAWLING BODIES: DANTE’S BELACQUA AS BECKETT’S MODERN EVERYMAN
Keywords:Samuel Beckett, Dante, The Divine Comedy, Belacqua, Modernist Novel
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a life-long obsession for Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and the Divine Comedy (1320) had a great impact on his literary trajectory. Concerned with “Purgatory” in particular, Beckett was fascinated with Dante’s Belacqua, a character Dante encounters in Ante-purgatory where the souls wait for a lifetime in order to begin their journey of purgation. Belacqua is portrayed by Dante as a slothful figure who is not much interested in purging his soul and seems quite content with his lethargic state. While for Dante, Belacqua is a pitiful soul, an epitome of sloth, and a negative example for humankind; for Beckett, he is the ultimate representative of the modern man who has lost his purpose in life and his will to make sense of the world he occupies. In Beckett’s novels, then, Dante’s Belacqua is transformed from an exemplary character serving for a moral message into an ‘everyman’ figure reflecting the existential predicament of the twentieth-century individual. Dante’s Belacqua, in this sense, constitutes the gist of Beckett’s outsider protagonists who are depicted as aimless and indifferent wanderers. Therefore, these characters are portrayed as merely different versions of Belacqua. In this light, this article purposes to discuss how Beckett adapts Dante’s Belacqua to the twentieth-century context and revives him as the epitome of the modern everyman who suffers from an existential plight, and how Beckett’s oeuvre is, indeed, shaped by this very character.
How to Cite
Articles submitted to the Journal of Modernism and Postmodernism Studies to be evaluated for publication should not be previously published in any publication. In case the articles are accepted for publication, all publication rights belong to the Journal of Modernism and Postmodernism Studies. Author (s) must send the Copyright Transfer Form if their manuscript is accepted for publication in the Journal of Modernism and Postmodernism Studies. The author (s) should sign this form with a wet signature and upload it in the file upload section.
Although the Journal of Modernism and Postmodernism Studies takes the transfer of the publishing rights from the authors, it reserves the following rights:
- Patent rights.
- All unregistered rights other than copyright
- The right to reproduce the work for their own purposes, provided that they do not sell.· The right of the author to use all or part of the work in her/his own book and other academic works, provided that the source is indicated.