Hamm and Clov Relationship in Endgame

Hamm and Clov Relationship in Endgame

Hamm and Clov Relationship in Endgame

Hamm and Clov are bound in such relationship from which they cannot liberate themselves. Even if they fancy to separate, they cannot do so because one cannot survive in absence of another. Hamm is blind and cannot walk, on other hand Clov can see and walk but cannot sit. He does not know the combination of the cupboard that contains food so he has to stay with Hamm only. Beckett depicts the physical inability of both Hamm and Clov.

HAMM: Sit on him!

CLOV: I can’t sit.

HAMM: True. And I can’t stand.

CLOV: So it is. (938)

This physical deterioration does not make them victims of depression but they face it boldly. Hamm cannot afford to live without Clov because latter fulfill all the requirements of Hamm. Cloy tells him about the outside atmosphere, he helps him in moving here and there inside the room, he takes care of Hamm’s parents and above all he gives realism to Hamm’s existence.

In the declining world of Endgame, nobody and no place are left to survive except Hamm’s house. Hamm will have no other servant to look after him because the human race has come to an end with them. And Clov has no other place to go because he will not get food anywhere else. All the agricultural and natural phenomenon have lost and they are surviving with the help of things they have secured in past.

HAMM: Why do you stay with me?

CLOV: Why do you keep me?

HAMM: There’s no one else.

CLOV: There’s nowhere else. (937)

Here ‘no’ denotes that Hamm’s house has become microscopic world for all the four living members. ‘Nowhere’ also leads to the conception of limited space.

They are caged in such a situation where they have nothing much to do so they used to repeat the activity, movements and even the dialogues. Hamm, throughout the play, asks about the time of his pain killer.

HAMM: Is it not time for my pain killer?

CLOV: No. (938)

Clov always replies in negative but at last responses in positive but only to say that there is no more pain killer.

HAMM: Is it not time for my pain killer?

CLOV: Yes. HAMM: Ah! At last! Give it me! Quick! [Pause]

CLOV: There’s no more pain killer. (959)

Why did he not tell it before? The reason may be that the question and answer is a good pass-time for the two. Clov and Hamm are bound together and the endless question and answer between them leave several marks of ellipsis. The authority to ask questions may be of Hamm and the reply of Clov or vice versa. But the main elements are frequently dropped.

Hamm’s constant enforcement to get him ready for bed and Clov’s warning of leaving him occurs frequently on the pages of the book.

CLOV: I’ll leave you, I have things to do.

HAMM: In your kitchen. (936)


CLOV: I’ll leave you, I have things to do.

HAMM: In your kitchen. (938)

When Clov revolts against the order, Hamm sinks in silence and change the topic. The destiny does not allowed two to separate and in the last scene Clov stands on threshold leaving the audience in suspense about his departure. When Clov stops in his speech, Hamm’s heart begs him to continue because conversation should not be stopped on stage as this is the only element that engage the audience in lack of action.

HAMM (angrily): Keep going, can’t you keep going!

 CLOV: You’ve got on with it, I hope.

HAMM (modestly): Oh not very far, not very far. (955)


CLOV: Keep going, can’t you, keep going!

HAMM: That’s all, I stopped there. (956)

Both are asking each other to continue their speeches to give themselves the sense of existence. Clov knows only those words that Hamm taught him. When Hamm demands him to speak something else he said he must have to teach him new words.

The love relationship between Hamm and Clov is eliminated by the cruel hands of time. The affection of Clov for Hamm is no more left now, he is living with Hamm for his own sake.

HAMM: You don’t love me.


HAMM: You loved me once.

CLOV: Once!

HAMM: I’ve made you suffer too much. (937)

Hamm tries to remind Clov that how much he loved him once. But Clov’s ‘once’ with exclamatory marks clearly reveals his indifference of present day love. Later, the intolerable company of Hamm and Clov results in a dispute.

HAMM: He hits me.

CLOV: You drive me mad, I’m mad!

HAMM: If you must hit me, hit me with the axe. [Pause.] Or with the gaff, hit me with the gaff. Not with the dog. With the gaff. Or with the axe. (961)

Clov hands over a dog to Hamm but it falls down on him. Hamm accuses Clov for hitting him with the dog and advices him if he wants to finish Hamm, he must use axe not the dog.

Either Beckett’s characters do not have the right to laugh or they restrict themselves from laughing, Hamm wants to laugh to avoid the weakness of life but Clov does not feel like it and Hamm too drops his idea.

HAMM: Don’t we laugh?

CLOV: (after reflection) I don’t feel like it.

HAMM: (after reflection) Nor I. (938)

The idea of the departure of Clov shakes Hamm. When Clov finally declares his departure, Hamm longs for some farewell words that will always echo in his ears.

HAMM: Before you go … (CLOV halts near door) … say something.

CLOV: There is nothing to say.

HAMM: A few words … to ponder … in my heart. (962)

Dots maintain the correlation among words that is broken by Clov’s halting near the door. The reader/audience immediately understands that this is the part of their daily routine. The next day they are going to repeat all these things again to kill the time and to show the futility of existence.

So they are just performing their routine task. There is nothing new and there will be nothing exceptional tomorrow. They are going to spend the next day just like today.

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