Study Guide

Happy Days Language & Communication

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Language & Communication

Like many of Beckett's other plays, Happy Days confronts the idea that words are always failing or breaking down. But what does it mean to be human if we cannot communicate? The use of pauses and Winnie's refusal to stop talking for the duration of the play is a dramatic struggle between language and silence—a struggle where silence equals death.

Questions About Language & Communication

  1. Why is Winnie afraid of silence?
  2. What does Beckett use pauses? What do those pauses represent?
  3. What does it mean when words fail?
  4. Even though Winnie and Willie are speaking the same language they are clearly not communicating. What do you think is the cause of their miscommunication?

Chew on This

Happy Days is more like a monologue (and not a dialogue), because Winnie is forever talking at Willie and not with him.

Winnie never says anything new. She has no real words of her own—if it wasn't for the all the quotations, she wouldn't know what to say.

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