Theater: Hell Without End

Life on earth is every man's hell some of the time. From man to man, the span of suffering and the sense of damnation varies. For some, the searing pain, the numbing descent into nothingness lasts minutes or hours or days; for others, weeks, months and years. It is Samuel Beckett's special vision to see man's entire life as a torment, a flaying of the heart, a hell without end.

His entire work—plays, novels, poems —is a lamentation for the living. It is astonishing, at times, that Beckett can bring himself to write at...

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