Study Guide

Happy Days Marriage

By Samuel Beckett

Marriage

We're all familiar with the wedding phrase, "Till Death do us Part," from the Book of Common Prayer, which raises the question: are Winnie and Willie even alive, or are they in some sort of limbo state? Of course, since we don't know where Winnie and Willie may be—on earth? Hell? Purgatory? Arizona?—it's important to think about what marriage means to these two characters. In the wasteland world of Happy Days, how much does it matter that despite all the hardships and challenges they face, Winnie and Willie's marriage is something that sustains them and defines their very existence?

Questions About Marriage

  1. Do Winnie and Willie have a balanced, fair marriage? Do they contribute equally to their shared life?
  2. What is there to suggest that Winnie is married to an idealized version of Willie rather than to her actual husband?
  3. If we are in purgatory and these characters are in fact "dead," does the marriage between Winnie and Willie still exist, and how?
  4. Are Winnie and Willie happy in their marriage? Would they be better off as individuals?

Chew on This

Winnie and Willie's marriage is not mutual—it's more akin to the relationship between a master and a slave.

Winnie and Willie's marriage exists out of necessity, and not love.

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