Images and Recurring Themes


Each voice in That Time has a subject area independent of the others at first, but as the play progresses, connections are made through common images and recurring themes. The weather is described in B and C frequently, and in A and B sitting on a stone in the sunlight often is mentioned, and in C sitting on a slab in the portrait gallery seems to correspond to the others. The fact that the man's father and mother both are dead is stated in A and C, and the green coat left for him by his father is described in A and C.

In each voice, the idea that the person is making up people or events is stated or suggested, as when voice B says, “Just one of those things you kept making up to keep out the void” (Beckett 230). This also leads up to the eventual loneliness in voice B when he admits that he keeps making up the same scene, which then brings into question whether the girl in the earlier scene is real (Beckett 233). This new solitude in B then starts to parallel the theme of solitude in A and C that is apparent throughout the work. In C, the man is ignored by the people around him: “The eyes passing over you and through you like so much thin air” (Beckett 234). In A the man goes back to the places of childhood mentioned in B apparently to restore his memories of childhood and presumably to defy the solitude, but his attempt fails and he leaves has he comes: alone.


Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Collected Shorter Plays. NY: Grove Press, Inc., 1984. 226-235.


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The Use of Time