Murphy (Beckett)

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Murphy (1938) is the first published novel by Samuel Beckett . Unlike many of his later works, Beckett Murphy wrote in English, not French. The text contains many autobiographical details and is considered Beckett's most realistic and humorous novel.


Murphy, an unemployed and silent eccentric, has turned his back on his native Ireland and left his mistress, Mrs. Counihan, in Dublin . He now lives in London , where the attractive prostitute Celia discovers him as a weird Hans-peep-in-the-air, falls in love with him and gives up her job because of him. However, she can only maintain the relationship if he looks for a job and earns money, otherwise she would have to get back on track. Murphy refuses, however, because he would then no longer have time to devote himself to his favorite activity, permanent meditation. One of his favorite ways to spend his days is to tie himself naked to his rocking chair, get it going, and then remain motionless until he and the chair come to rest. Only in this way does he believe he can get closer to his dream and enjoy the feeling that his mind has separated from his body. Obviously, in such circumstances it is not easy to find a suitable job.

In a second strand of the novel, Neary tries to find his friend Murphy because he is interested in his lover, who has been left behind in Dublin. He sees this as a chance to convince his beloved that Murphy is not worth saving for him. After a few failures, in which, among other things, the investigative Cooper is complicit, Neary, Mrs. Counihan and Wylie (another old acquaintance, also interested in Mrs. Counihan and much more successful than Neary) gather in London for more looking for what has disappeared against each other than with each other.

Murphy has now found a job as a guard in the Magdalen Mental Mercyseat psychiatric clinic and is completely absorbed in his work there. He believes he has finally found soul mates in the patient. When his relationship with one of the schizoid inmates (Mr. Endon) leads to Murphy being terminated, he kills himself with the help of a broken gas pipe.

The bag with his ashes, which according to his last will should be brought back to Ireland, is used as a weapon by the idiot Cooper in a bar fight, so that Murphy's remains are scattered over the floor of the pub and swept away without a sound the following morning .

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