Endgame | senshido.info
Possession, Power and Colonialism in Samuel Beckett's Endgame comes from the domain of chess, in which case there is a series of moves - highly tactical, into some sort of interminable relationship, both Hamm and Clov depend on each When Hamm is moved by Clov to be close to the window or around the room. this is not to ignore that Hamm, Nagg and Nell are also restricted in a no less .. In Endgame, Hamm's relationship with Clov is like the one Pozzo has with Lucky. .. series; questioning its endings is quite justifiable but counterproductive if it is. This can be seen in Endgame through Hamm's and Clov's relationship. .. discovers a series of painful truths, and he wants life, but life is about to end and his.
Hamm asks Clov to wake up Nagg. Hamm promises Nagg a sugarplum if he will listen to a story Hamm would like to tell.
Next is a long monologue by Hamm. Hamm recalls a poor man and his baby who on Christmas Eve had once sought Hamm's kindness. Hamm tells the story with zeal, remembering his eventual agreement to take the man into his service and provide for his son.
It becomes clear that the story Hamm is telling is that of Clov's father and how Clov came to be with Hamm.
Hamm relishes his power over the others. Hamm prays to God for salvation. Hamm continues to tell his story. Hamm sends Clov to see if Nell is dead. Clov replies, "Looks like it. Clov raises Nagg's ashbin lid and says, "Doesn't look like it. Again, there is no light from the earth, and the sea is calm. Hamm accepts the world's condition and asks for his father but receives no response. Clov is sent to see if Nagg has heard either of Hamm's two calls. Clov reports that Nagg has heard only one call but is not certain if it was Hamm's first or second call.
Hamm asks for a lap rug, which Clov does not provide. Clov refuses to show Hamm any affection when Hamm asks for a kiss. Hamm asks for his toy dog but then changes his mind. Clov goes to the kitchen to kill the rat he has discovered there before it dies.
Endgame (play) - Wikipedia
Hamm's next monologue begins calmly and nostalgically and builds feelings of guilt as well as curiosity about what happens after the end of the play. There I'll be, in the old shelter, alone against my silence and … he hesitates … the stillness. If I can hold my peace, and sit quiet, it will be all over with sound, motion, all over and done with. Clov was unable to kill the rat in the kitchen and the time for Hamm's painkiller has finally arrived. Clov now tells Hamm, after all of his requests, that the supply has been depleted.
Clov seriously considers leaving Hamm. Hamm tells Clov to look at the world outside "Since it's calling you. He and Hamm debate the state of the outside world and Hamm protests that he does not care what has happened.
Clov reminds Hamm that he refused to provide Mother Pegg oil for her lamp and continues to tell Hamm harshly that Mother Pegg died of darkness. And so we believe that Mother Pegg's death was in part due to Hamm.
Hamm asks for the toy dog and Clov hits him on the head with it. Hamm pleads that Clov use an axe or gaff. When Clov announces that there are no more coffins, Hamm says, "Then let it end! Hamm's final monologue begins, "Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing.
After his monologue, Hamm calls twice for his father. There is no answer. Hamm then throws away the toy dog and his whistle and calls for Clov, who does not respond.
Hamm covers his face with "Old Stancher," the bloodstained handkerchief. Hamm, blind and paralyzed, seems to have chosen against life. Clov, standing in his travel clothes, is confronted with the choice to remain or walk out and live in an unknown world. Whether this will work out or not, Clov does not know nor does the audience. Crippled but not incapacitated, Clov is capable of leaving the shelter he has known his entire life and of taking his chances in the "other hell" beyond the walls.
Clov shows that he is capable of handling tasks and life, and at the end of the play he prepares to leave Hamm and take his chances in the outside world. Hamm Hamm is dying in a world that seems to be ending.
Hamm is blind and confined to a wheelchair. He is selfish and wants always to be the center of attention and considers himself something of a god-like character. He berates his servant Clov, upon whom he is completely dependent. His parents, Nagg and Nell, live in ashbins and occasionally emerge only to be berated by their son. Though the world may be coming to an end, Hamm takes satisfaction in knowing that perhaps all existence may fade to extinction.
He hopes to exist long enough only to outlive his father. Nagg Nagg is Hamm's father. He and his wife now live in ashbins, having lost their legs in a bicycling accident years ago. Although their current situation is bleak, there are moments in the play where we understand that in their youth, Nagg and Nell had a great and wondrous love. They still reach for that love, despite the horrid conditions and their ungrateful son. Nell Nell is Hamm's mother.
She, like Nagg, lives in an ashbin, also having lost her legs in the bicycling accident years ago. She dies in the play to the great distress of Nagg. The characters, trapped in their single room occupy themselves with routines and tasks.
Hamm is paralyzed and blind, Nagg and Nell cannot leave their ashbins, and the action of the play occurs in a single room, outside of which life evidently cannot survive. These characters struggle to move on or take action, and the actions they do take are often stagnant and nondescript. Each is dependent upon another for his or her very survival and Hamm questions the benefit of continuing life at all, often pestering nag for the ultimate painkiller—death.
The existence of God is also questioned and indirectly denied, painting a bleak picture of life as hard and without redemption, directed by the needs of handicapped tyrants like Hamm. Life seems a merciless cycle of desire and grief, of handicaps and ashbins, and, to these characters, death is no reward for enduring that cycle.
The characters of Endgame maneuver through lives of emotional strife that anticipate death, though they lack the means to achieve it on their own. Interdependence One of the most obvious themes of Endgame is the necessity of interdependence, even if the relationship is one of hate. Clov, for example, depends on Hamm for food since Hamm is the only one who knows the combination to the cupboard.
Hamm relies completely on Clov for movement and vision. Critics often compare Endgame to Beckett's previous drama Waiting for Godot, noting that characters in both plays are grouped in pairs.
Endgame is bleaker and more perplexing because it lacks the hope for redemption that Waiting for Godot contains. Generational Conflict Generational conflict, particularly between father and son, also emerges as a prominent theme. Hamm twice tells a story about a father and son and seems to view parent-child relationships only in terms of power and resentment. Critics have argued that Hamm resents Nagg, his father, for not being kind to him when he was young, whereas Hamm resents Clov, his son, for being young at a time when his own life is in decline.
Endgame has also been interpreted as a depiction of humanity's denial of such life processes as death and procreation. The acclaimed Beckett on Film project brings together some of the most distinguished directors and actors working today. Several of the films from the Beckett on Film project have been exhibited at international film festivals around the world including New YorkToronto, and Venice. Artistry Endgame is a self-reflexive work in which the hand of Beckett can often be seen.
For example, Hamm's narration is at once taking its own course in developing his personality while it also comments on the idea of creation, alluding to the creative process of an author. At the end of the story Hamm talks about the difficulty of creation: Will it end soon? I'm afraid it will.
You'll make up another.
Black Swan State Theatre Company
I feel rather drained. The prolonged creative effort. The characters make numerous, explicit references throughout Endgame to their roles as characters in a play. Hamm at one-point states: Humor "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness. Clov's confusion over which items to fetch first and his antics with the ladder could be directly out of a film starring Charlie Chaplinwhom Beckett admired.
Commenting on Endgame himself, Beckett identified the phrase "nothing is funnier than unhappiness" as key to the play's interpretation and performance. STYLE Words and Stage Directions Endgame's visual performance and self-reflexive dialogue constantly remind the audience that they are watching a performance by actors.
That I'm being watched! Beckett uses stage directions to create dynamic relationships between characters and the things they require to live: Hamm needs his armchair, and Nagg and Nell require their ashbins. Beckett creates a vivid physical world to complement the powerful and stripped-down dialogue. Beckett presents the characters' inability to understand through abstract language and stagnant dramatic structure.
Beckett has stripped down and broken apart his words and sentences. Words are able to contradict each other and are often elliptic. Clov utters the first line of the play: As Beckett's characters search themselves and the world around them, language reflects the precarious balance between understanding and confusion. Nagg and Nell, Hamm's parents, are in ashbins throughout the play.
What comment does this make on society and our ideas and treatment of the elderly? Beckett's plays are filled with rituals. What rituals does Clov perform for Hamm, and what does this say about the master-servant relationship they are in? Endgame contains several elements of comedy. How do you feel these elements work in regard to the overall tone of the play?
Why does Beckett make use of comedy in this manner? What is Beckett saying about life and the nature of comedy? Beckett's Minor Plot Samuel Beckett's plots are notable for their lack of the classical dramatic structure. The minor plot line of Endgame is that of Hamm's parents, Nagg and Nell. It is clear that they had a romantic love in their youth, but they now live in ashbins and are not well-taken-care-of by their son.
The end of the play finds both Nagg and Nell dead, without having experienced much satisfaction throughout the play. Indeed, most of their interactions are attempts to recall their past happiness or to endure their current helpless situation. Theater of the Absurd Drama known as the theater of the absurd begins in the s. Endgame, Beckett's first play after Waiting for Godot, continues in the tradition that Waiting for Godot established.
This was certainly a looming fear when Beckett wrote the play and when it was performed in Although today this fear is still present, in the fear was at an all-time high, and the likelihood of such an event seemed all too possible and near. The Cold War The late s and the s were dominated by the cold waran intense rivalry between the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union.
After World War IIEurope was divided into two zones of power, a capitalist west and a socialist east. The rivalry soon became worldwide, and there was always a threat that it could have developed into full-scale nuclear war. The struggle did become violent in when communist North Korea invaded South Koreabeginning the Korean Warwhich ended with the country divided. Eisenhower on January 5,pledged military and economic support to any Middle Eastern country needing help in resisting communist aggression.
Marking another escalation in the cold warthe doctrine was intended to check the increase of Soviet influence in the Middle East and the increasingly strong Soviet support given the Arab states. In the late s and early s, writers were trying to overthrow dramatic conventions and wanted to challenge audiences with something new.
Sartre's viewpoint, combined with Albert Camus 's writings, provided the building blocks for the absurdist movement, which began to take shape in the early s. InIonesco premiered his play The Chairs, which is an excellent example of the theater of the absurd.
However, it was not until and the premiere of En Attendant Godot, or Waiting for Godot, that absurdism reached a popular and international audience. Waiting for Godot is perhaps the best-known work from the absurdist movement.
The two-act tragicomedy tells the story of two old men, Vladimir and Estragon, who cannot decide if they should leave or stay and wait for Godot, who may or may not arrive and rescue them from their desperate situation. Endgame takes this struggle to the next level as Hamm and Clov struggle with the meaning, if there is any, of living at all. Beckett's importance to the absurdist movement is obvious, but saying that he is an absurdist writer is not giving full credit to his wide range of work.
Beckett's writing stands out above the other absurdist works in its ingenuity, universality, and humanity. Kenneth Tynan in the Observer said that Beckett's new play made it "clear that his purpose is neither to move nor to help us.
For him, man is a pygmy who connives at his own inevitable degradation. He considered Hamm "the intellectual, paralysed, blind as talkative as a fourteenth century doctor. He is waited upon by the Common Man, half way between man and beast" who "has been given a simian appearance: The intellectual's father and mother are stuffed into two dustbins; from time to time a lid is lifted and one of the parents begins to talk.
Worsley in the Listener said of Waiting for Godot, "Mr. Beckett's neurosis and mine were for quite long stretches on the same theme; in Endgame they never tangled. He has, in Endgame, … expanded not the public but the private images. He has concentrated not on what is common between his audiences and him but on what is private in himself.
Setzer never forget the play's portent, but neither do they shortchange its mordant humor. The director approaches Endgame as a gem to be played, as a piece to be performed.
Chaikin is an experimental artist who is scrupulous when dealing with classics. The acting is prodigious. In the following essay, McDaniel discusses Beckett's Endgame. Samuel Beckett's writing can be something of a puzzle. There are no final positions or absolute interpretations. Endgame is, however, a unique masterpiece with an intricate dramatic structure that runs contrary to traditional theatrical structure.
Fear of a nuclear war increases. The United States and England engage in war with Iraq. The United States wages war on terrorism throughout the world. North Korea possesses nuclear weaponsand the potential for nuclear war again seems all too possible. Russian scientists launch Sputnik into orbit, initiating the space race between the United States and Russia. Beginning in the s, Russian cosmonauts worked together with American astronauts on the space station Mir.
The United States and Russia continue to have cooperative working efforts in space exploration and research. Albert Camus receives the Nobel Prize for literature "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times.
Imre Kertsz Hungary receives the Nobel Prize for literature "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history. Beckett uses circular dialogue, refuses to accessorize the play or its characters with anything but the bare minimum, yet he creates a complex fictional and highly theatrical world for his characters to inhabit. Beckett chooses his words carefully, and the nature of the dialogue is circular, for example in Hamm's opening soliloquy: Yes, there it is, it's time it ended and yet I hesitate to— he yawns —to end.
The breakdown of language reflects the breakdown of the characters' ability to perceive the world around them. His use of self-reflexive dialogue informs the audience that they are sitting in a theater watching a play, alluding to the play as a "game. Endgame's structure breaks from the theory that shaped centuries of dramas and tragedies.
Aristotle wrote that tragedy is "an imitation of an action.
Beckett strips bare all detail except the necessary minimum, and the detail he does provide is often vague. Beckett's use of dramatic motivation is also minimal. In traditional drama, a character's motivations are made clear to the audience, but the character's actions in Endgame are peculiar. One may wish to go to the theater to come away with conclusions and answers, but Beckett presents a fictional world as complex as the real world, where conclusions are uncertain and answers not easily defined.
Other than many insinuations, we have Hamm telling Clov: Roman Catholics firmly believe in the infallibility of the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra from his throne. It is not an accident that Hamm wears dark glasses: Hamm is so consumed by his need to feel powerful, that nothing is more important for him. He is presented as a sarcastic and a cynical tyrant who torments his parents and his son, and he makes sure that they will not be allowed to forget that he is in power: Being the master of the house, he controls the material objects the others can possess e.
Later on, Hamm wants to make a narration, and to do that, he has Clov waking Nagg, so that he ensures he has an audience. Although Nagg does not really want to hear it, Hamm mesmerises him with the promise of giving him a sugar-plum, which eventually does not really exist. Although there is some controversy over whether it is actually a chronicle a real storyas Hamm claims, or simply a story an invented storythe outcome and implications of this narration are extremely significant: But, in both cases perhaps a bit more in the case it is made-upwhat Hamm does is to control the past and create memories for the others, by procuring his side of the story - a story so well- documented that even the weather conditions he describes are verified by scientific apparatuses.
It is not enough that he controls the human residents of his house, he also wants to control the animals found in it: He adores having the lame dog begging him, imploring him for a walk, and - unable to see for himself - he asks Clov to verify that.
So, it seems that Beckett has somehow strong feelings on the subject. We could draw a parallel between Hamm and the coloniser and Clov and the colonised.
Just like the coloniser, Hamm wants to rule over Clov and Nagg and Nellhe likes feeling like being the epicentre of events, he owns the house, controlling what people do, what they say and what they possess, and he never lets anyone know his true intentions. History, it seems, is the one thing oppressors are most intimidated by: Throughout history, we see colonisers and oppressors trying to conceal parts of the History of the colonised nations they rule over, and the same happens in films which cinematise these situations: Only Nagg and Nell seem to have their own memories, but Hamm silences them before their reminiscence becomes a critical intervention.
What does that mean? I use the words you taught me. If they don't mean anything any more, teach me others. Hamm several times raises the question whether there is someone else outside the periphery of the house.