Study Guide

Happy Days Marriage

By Samuel Beckett

Marriage

WINNIE

Don't go off on me again now dear will you please, I may need you. (1.1)

Marriage seems disposable to Winnie, right? Like she can pick Willie up and drop him when she sees fit. After all, he doesn't do or say much…she may as well be talking to the wall. So why doesn't she? Why do Winnie and Willie stay together? Is it convenience, loneliness, or simply love?

WINNIE

Ah yes, if only I could bear to be alone, I mean prattle away with not a soul to hear. (1.1)

The tug-of-war between needing someone else in your life and needing space for yourself is evident here. However, when Willie doesn't respond, it can often feel like Winnie is on her own, and that doesn't seem like a very happy (or balanced) marriage to us.

WINNIE

... even when you do not answer and perhaps hear nothing, something of this is being heard, I am not merely talking to myself... (1.1)

Communication is a two-way street. One person listens as the other person speaks. It's crucial in our day-to-day interactions. After all, how many of us would continue talking if no one were listening? How important is it to have someone on the other side, receiving our message?

WINNIE

Golden you called it, that day, when the last guest was gone —to your golden... may it never (1.9)

Winnie recalls something Willie said of her hair (could it have been at their wedding?), which gives us a hint as to what their relationship looked like prior to the mound. It seems Willie was quite the romantic, perhaps even a bit of a charmer…and very different to the Willie we know now.

WINNIE

Oh I know it does not follow when two are gathered together—in this way—that because one sees the other the other sees the one, life has taught me that… (1.23)

Are you invisible to your crush? Well then, you might just understand what Winnie feels. Winnie spends a large amount of her time trying to get Willie's attention but he mostly just ignores her. What does that say about their marriage? Can it even be classified as a marriage?

WINNIE

One does not appear to be asking a great deal, indeed at times it would seem hardly possible—to ask less—of a fellow creature—to put it mildly—whereas actually—when you think about it—look into your heart—see the other—what he needs—peace—to be left in peace—then perhaps the moon—all this time—asking for the moon. (1.23)

Winnie's realized that the best way for the relationship to function is by taking a good look at Willie and actually acknowledging what he needs, which is obviously a lot of peace and quiet. Oh yeah, and naughty postcards. And yet, we can't help but feel like it's pretty one-sided. After all, what does Willie do for Winnie?

WINNIE

Say it is a long time now, Willie, since I saw you. Since I heard you. (2.1)

We hate to say it Winnie, but we think you might be in a marriage of one. Even through the course of the play, we see Willie become increasingly absent and unresponsive, which doesn't really make for a happy marriage, does it?

WINNIE

I used to think... I say I used to think that I would learn to talk alone. By that I mean to myself, the wilderness. But no. No no. Ergo you are there. (2.1)

It almost seems like Willie is an afterthought, and who wants to be an afterthought? Then again, Willie doesn't say much. And even though he doesn't provide much, at least he listens to Winnie. The question is—is listening alone enough to sustain a marriage?

WINNIE

Reminds me of the day you came whining for my hand. I worship you, Winnie, be mine. Life a mockery without Win. (2.2)

The number one way to turn a relationship sour is to worship the other person as if they were a god. After all, if we're worshipping the other person then that means we don't value ourselves. But it seems like Willie's gone in the opposite direction and acts increasingly disrespectful toward Winnie. We don't know about you, but being ignored day in and day out is pretty disrespectful in our book. It seems like the best marriages find a middle ground, one between disdain and worship. We sure hope Winnie and Willie can get there.

WINNIE

There was a time when I could have given you a hand. And then a time before that again when I did give you a hand. You were always in dire need of a hand, Willie. (2.2)

Support systems within a marriage are important. Has Winnie given a lot for a long time? Has she grown tired of being a shoulder to cry on? How might have Winnie and Willie's marriage led them to the mound?

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...