This is a passage from Samuel Beckett’s play Worstword Ho, 1983: “...All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better ...” Since I first read this passage, I’d always interpreted “fail better” to mean “to fail in way that is less of a failure.” But recently I read that by “fail better,” Beckett meant “to fail in a way that is even more of a failure,” and that this was Beckett’s true literary goal. Is there a verb that conveys the second interpretation?
... Beckett meant “to fail in a way that is even more of a failure,” and that this was Beckett’s true literary goal. Is there a verb that conveys the second interpretation?
... a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is.
part of the pain is that the sufferer really wants the world to be otherwise
Beckett, who was close to James Joyce and greatly admired him, could have been looking at the example of Finnegan's Wake, Joyce's final work, which was, in most people's and most critic's eyes, a gigantic failure. Many great writers thought he'd gone crazy or was just having a joke at everyone's expense. Which didn't make sense since he spent nineteen years writing it. And when it was finally 'cracked,' begun to be deciphered, Joseph Campbell's Skeleton Key being the first book to break it down, it became apparent it was a work of genius, again. So Beckett could have been talking about something like that - you can't fail better unless you try for something harder to achieve than before.