A Short Summary of the Play Endgame by Samuel Beckett
Hamm, Clov, Nagg and Nell live in a house, they seem to be the last survivors on the earth. Everything is declining in their world. Hamm is the master of the house and Clov is the servant who serves everyone present in the house. Nagg and Nell are the parents of Hamm. Hamm wakes up and whistles Clov for service. He asks him to cover him with sheet but Clov denies and they indulges in a conversation in which they show how they are dependent on each other. Meanwhile Nagg and Nell appear from their ashbins. They perform their daily routine: trying to kiss each other, asking for scratching, check their hearing and seeing abilities. They recall their lovable and enjoyable past. Nagg narrates the story of a tailor that is a sarcasm on the world.
Hamm interrupts them and asks Clov to put them inside their bins. He inquires for his pain-killer but Clov replies that it is too soon. They check the wall and find it hollow. Hamm takes a round of the place to reach at his exact place. Hamm asks Clov to look outside and latter defines outside world as corsped. Clov feels that he has a flea in his trousers and Hamm asks him to kill it because life might begin with it again. Hamm indulges in his long monologue and shows his intense desire to see Clov in his own position. Hamm demands his dog and inquires about mother Pegg and the painter. Hamm is anxious how will he know that Clov has left him? Clov gives him a solution that they will set an alarm. Hamm narrates his story and prays to God. He denies to give sugar-plum to Nagg and Nagg curses him. Clov gets busy in placing things in order. Hamm imagines if he could go to sea and enjoy life. Hamm asks him to check his parents. Clov checks and reports that it seems as if Nell is dead and Nagg is crying. Hamm wants to hear the sea and asks Clov to open the window. Clov opens it but there is no sound of sea because sea is calm and there are no navigators. Clov goes in his kitchen and he finds a rat there. Hamm asks him to kill it.
Hamm verbalizes his long soliloquy until Cloy comes back, Hamm demands his dog and while giving it to Hamm it falls on him. Hamm becomes angry and rebukes Clov. Clov says he will Leave Hamm and Hamm wants him to speak a few lines for him. Clov pours out his heart in his long monologue and finally goes in his kitchen. He returns back in proper dress up for outdoor and stands on the threshold of the house when Hamm speaks his last words. Hamm reveals that it is just a day like any other day and perhaps tomorrow they are going to do the same activities again.
A Detailed Summary of the Play Endgame by Samuel Beckett
Interior is Bare. Grey light covers the whole stage. Left and right back, high up, there are two small windows. The curtains are drawn. There is one picture hung with its face to wall at the front right. At the front left there are two ashbins covered with an old sheet. Hamm rests on an armchair in the centre of the stage. By the door, Clov stands motionless gazing at Hamm. Clov moves and stands under window left. He has stiff and staggering walk. He looks up at window left and turns for window right. He looks at it. He goes out and brings a step ladder. He gets the ladder on both the windows, draws back curtain, looks outside and produces brief laugh. He keeps the ladder under window right and removed the sheets from the ashbins. He raises the lids of both the bins, stoops into them and laughs. Hamm is sitting in the middle of the room in a dressing-gown, a stiff togue on his head and his face is covered with blood stained handkerchief. There is a whistle round his neck, a rug over his knees and he has put on thick socks. He seems asleep. Clov notices him. He goes towards the door, stops and turns towards the auditorium.
Clov starts his monologue and produces the theme of the play, “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished, Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap” (935). He tells that he will go to his kitchen and wait for Hamm’s whistle to call him. He goes out and comes back instantly. He goes to window right, takes the ladder and carries it out. Hamm wakes up and removes his handkerchief. His face is very red and he wears black glasses. He wants to play. He takes off his glasses, folds handkerchief and keeps it back in the breast pocket of his gown. He says that no one has a miserable life like him. He wants to believe that they are suffering as much as people like them can suffer but that does not mean that they are suffering just like him. He calls Clov but gets no reply. He recalls his dreams and feels that “It’s time, it ended, in the shelter too.” But he hesitates to end. He does not know the reason but somehow he feels he cannot end. He wants to go back to bed. He whistles to call Clov. Clov comes immediately and stands beside his chair. He asks Clov to get him ready but Clov denies that Hamm has just got up. He says that he has other things to do than getting Hamm ready, Hamm inquires whether Clov has ever seen his eyes when he was asleep. Clov denies and Hamm says that he will show his eyes to Clov one day. It seems to him that his eyes have gone all white. He asks the time and Clov replies as usual.” His reply indicates that the time means nothing in their lives. He inquires whether Clov has looked outside. Clov informs that outside is zero, Hamm asks Clov how does he feel? Clov replies that he does not complain. Hamm asks again. Have you had enough? Clov wants to know of what thing he had enough but Hamm does not tell anything excepts this thing.’ The audience /reader never knows about which thing they were talking. Clov simply says ‘I always had.’ Hamm declares that then there is no need to change it. Clov feels it may end and asks Hamm why do they converse same question and same answers?
Hamm wants to relax and asks Clov to get the sheet. When Clov does not respond, he scolds him saying he will not give him anything to eat. Clov says that he will die in that case. Hamm gets scared of Clov’s death and changes his remark that he will give him food just enough to live. Clov is ready to go and get the sheet but Hamm prevents him and asked why does he stay with him. Both confirmed their dependability on each other. Clov stays because there is nowhere else and Hamm keeps him because there is noone else. Hamm asks Clov whether he loves Hamm or not and Clov denies of having such feelings for him. Hamm asks him whether it’s time for his pain-killer. Clov says, ‘no’. Hamm inquires about his eyes and legs and Clov replies that they are bad but he can walk.
Hamm wants to know the reason why Clov had not killed him. Clov shows his helplessness of staying back with Hamm that he does not know the combination of cupboard that contains food. Hamm orders him to get two bicycle wheels but Cloy informs that there are no more bicycle wheels. Hamm never bought a bicycle for him. Nagg appears from his bin. He has very white face and wears a night cap. Clov announce that he is leaving Hamm because he has things to do in his kitchen.
Nagg demands his pap and Hamm rebukes him saying “The old folk at home! No decency left! Guzzle, guzzle, that’s all they think of (938) He whistles to call Clov who immediately comes He orders Clov to give Nagg his pap but Clov says there are no more pap. Hamm tells then give him a biscuit. Clov exits and comes back with a biscuit. But Nage does not like this biscuit and complains that it is hard. Hamm orders “Bottle him!” and Clov pushes Nagg inside the bin. Hamm asks Clov to sit on the bin. Clov reveals his inability to sit, “I can’t sit.” Hamm admits his helplessnes, “True, and I can’t stand. Every man his beciality.” (938) Hamm inquires whether there is any phone all for him. Clov does not reply and Hamm continues “Don’t we laugh?” Clov simply replies, “I don’t feel like it.” Hamm wants to know whether nature has forgotten them. Clov says that there is no more nature.” Hamm claims “But we breathe, we changel we lose our hair, our teeth! Our bloom! Our ideals!” (938) Clov finally agrees that in that case nature has not forgotten them. Clov wants to go but Hamm wants to communicate. Clov informs him that he saw his light dying. Hamm mocks on it and says, ‘Your light dying! listen to that! well, it can die just as well here, your light. Take a look at me and then come back and tell me what you think of your light.” (938) Clov defends himself and warns Hamm not to speak like this to him.
Hamm asks forgiveness from him. Meanwhile Nage comes out of his bin and listens their conversation. Hamm wants to know whether the seeds that Clov planted have come out or not Clov says that they have not sprouted and they will never sprout. Suddenly Hamm begins to feel boredom and says “This is not much fun. [Pause) But that’s always the way at the end of the day, isn’t it, Clov?
Clov : Always.
Hamm : It’s the end of the day like any other day, isn’t it, Clov?
Clov : Looks like it. (939)
Hamm feels that something is happening. Clov claims that “something is taking its course.” Hamm asks him to go and observe it. Clov goes out and Hamm relaxes on his chair. Na Locks on the other bin and Nell appears with a lace cap and very white face. Nell calls him her pet and asks why he knocked on her bin. Is it time for love? Nagg demands a kiss from Nell but they cannot do it. Nell gets irritated and says “why this farce, day after day?” Nagg informs her that he has lost his tooth yesterday. Nagg checks her eyesight and asks”Can you see me? Nell replies ‘hardly. Nell repeats the same question to Nagg to receive the same answer. Then they check each other’s hearing capacity and find that they can hear properly. They cherish their bygone days how moving towards Sedan they lost their shanks.
Nagg inquires whether Clov has changed the sawdust of her bin but Nell says that it used to be sawdust once but now it is sand that Clov fetches from the shore. But Clov has not changed sand also. Nagg asks whether Nell wants a biscuit he has saved for her. Nell replies no without listening him then asks “of what!” This is the habit of Nell that she immediately replies in negative only to ask again a question relating to that. Hamm gets disturbed by their conversation and asks them to keep quite. “Talk softer. [Pause] If I could sleep I might make love. I’d go into the woods. My eyes would see… the sky, the earth. I’d run, run, they wouldn’t catch me.” (Pause) Nature! (Pause) There’s something dripping in my head. [Pause.) A heart, a heart in my head. (940) Nagg makes fun of Hamm’s statements “A heart in his head!” But Nell prohibits him to go so because she believes that “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. But – Nagg : [shocked] : Oh! Nell: yes, Yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s always the same thing. Yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh anymore.” (941) She reveals the ultimate truth of life in her speech.
Nell wants to go back in her bin and Nagg demands her to scratch her back. Nell suggests him to rub himself against the rim. Nagg asks her whether she is crying. She replied that she is trying to cry. Nagg wants the company of Nell and asks her whether she would like to hear the story of tailor. Nell says that it’s not funny but Nagg reminds her when he narrated this story he thoughts she would die laughing. Here Nell justifies her previous speech that with the passage of time you will find a comical thing funny but you don’t laugh on it. Nagg recalls how they went out rowing on lake Como on one April afternoon. Nell was very happy that day and Nags believes the reason of her happiness is his story. He begins to narrate his story again that there was an Englishman who needs a pair of striped trousers in a hurry for the New year festivities. He visited a tailor who assured him that he will make his trousers in four days. After four days, when the man comes, the tailor makes excuse “So sorry, come back in a week, I’ve made a mess of the seat.” He asked the Englishman to come after a week. A week later when the Englishman reached at his shop and asked for his trousers, the tailor was ready with a new excuse “Frightfully sorry, come back in ten days, I’ve made a hash of the crotch.” (942) The Englishman came again after ten days and this time the tailor said, “Dreadfully sorry, comeback in a fortnight, I’ve made a balls of the fly.” Nagg feels that Nell is losing her interest in the story and Nags admits, “I tell this story worse and worse.” He shortened the story and presents the scene after three months. The Englishman lost patience and burst out on the tailor, “God damn you to hell, Sir, no, its indecent, there are limits. In six days, do you hear me, six days, God made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of making me a pair of trousers in three months!” The Tailor replies in simple and clear words, “But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look (disdainful gesture, disgustedly at the WORLD-pause) and Look-loving gesture, proudly at my TROUSERS!
Nagg looks at Nell who seems impassive. Nagg tries to makes her laugh. Hamm interrupts and asks them to remain silent. “Have you not finished! Will you never finish!”(942) Hamm whistles to call Clov and asks him to “clear away this muck!” Nell tells Clov to desert Hamm but Clov pushes her down in her bin and informs Hamm that she has no pulse. When Hamm inquires what was the saying! Clov twisted the meaning of the word and says she wanted me to go into the desert. Hamm asked Clov to bottle both of them. His anger now subsides and he wants to do pee. Clov moves to bring the catheter but Hamm prevents him and asks whether it is time for his pain-killer. Clov replies it is too early to have pain-killer because he has just taken his tonic. Hamm says “In the morning they brace you up and in the evening they Calm you down. Unless it’s the other way round.
He inquires about the death of a doctor and Clov confirms that he is dead. Hamm wants to take a round of the room. He asks Clov to hug the wall and come back in the centre of the room. Clov goes near the wall. Hamm also touches the wall and exclaims, “Old wall! [Pause) Beyond is the… other hell.” (943) Hamm wants to be closer to wall, Clov shifts his chair against the wall. Hamm puts his ears to it and knocks it with his knuckles. He exclaims, “All that’s hollow!” He wants to go back to his position now. Hamm wants to be right in the center and asks Clov, “Am I right in the center?” (944) Clov says that he will go and bring the tape to measure it. Hamm says that Clov can tell him roughly. Clov shifts his chair slightly and says that now Hamm is right in the center. But Hamm feels” a little too far to the left.” Clov again moves the chair but now Hamm feels” a little too far to the right.” Clov shifts chair again but now Hamm feels “a little too far forward.” Clov moves chair slightly again but still Hamm is not satisfied with his position now he feels “a little too far back.” Finally Clov makes another move of chair and gets success to place Hamm in center of the place. He stands behind the chair but Hamm asks him to move from there because he gives him the shivers.
Clov now utters his ultimate desire, “If I could kill him I’d die happy.” Hamm inquires about weather on the earth and Clov replies it is as usual but Hamm wants Clov to look at it with glass, Clov goes to bring the telescope but now he wants steps. Hamm becomes angry and asks ‘why? Have you shrunk?’ Clov exits and comes back with a ladder but now he forgets to bring telescope back. So he goes again to take glass Hamm feels that “This is deadly. ‘Clov sets ladder, gets up on it but drops telescope. He says that he did it on purpose. Then he sets the telescope towards auditorium and says “I saw… a multitude in transports…of joy’ (944) He is addressing to audience who is having joy in his activities.
He continues “That is what I call a magnifier.” He asks Hamm whether they laugh But Hamm says “I don’t.” Clov gets upon ladder and informs outside atmosphere as Zero. He says that all seems to be in one word ‘corpsed.’ Then Hamm asks Clov to look at the ocean. Clov sets the ladder on window left and exclaims “Never seen anything like that! Hamm inquires what is it “A sail? A fin? Smoke? Clov replies that the light 18 sunk. Hamm wants to know what is happing on the horizon.
Clov becomes angry on this and says “What in God’s name could there be on the horizon?” Hamm asks about waves and the sun Clov says zero. Hamm feels that it should be sinking and asks whether it is already night but Clov says it’s gray outside, “Light black. From pole to pole.” Clov gets down and stands behind his chair. Hamm feels that Clov is exaggerating and repeats his refrain “Don’t stay there, you give me the shivers.” Clov is fed up of all these activities and asks “Why this farce, day after day?” Nell asked the same question to Nell when Nagg asked her to kiss him. Now the audience /reader get the answer “Hamm: Routine. One never knows.” Hamm informs Clov that yesterday night he saw inside his heart and found a big sore. Clov mocks at it. Hamm proves his point saying “No, it was living.” He asks Clov what is happening? Clov replies “Something is taking its course.” What is this ‘something’ is not explained in the play. Clov tries to find out it and Hamm feels as if they are beginning to mean something. But Clov flatters this idea by mocking at this thought “You and I mean something?” It is a good joke. Hamm says that he just wonder about it.
He asks Clov to imagine what will happen if a rational being comes back to the earth. He will get ideas about life if he observed them for long time. A voice of rational being can be heard on the stage. Hamm claims how he is getting what they are about to do. Clov scratches his belly while Hamm is busy with his thoughts. Hamm continues “…we ourselves… at certain moments… (Vehemently) To think perhaps it won’t all have been for nothing! (946) Clov announces that he has a flea in his lower. Hamm gets surprised, “Are there still fleas!” Clov confirms its presence unless it is a crablouse. Hamm becomes scared because he feels that “humanity might start from there all over again!” (946) He asks Clov to kill him. Clov exits to get powder. It is awful for Hamm to have a flea. Clov comes back with insecticide, he loosens his trousers, pulls it forward and put powder into the aperture. Hamm asks whether Clov got it or not, Clov says it seems unless he is laying doggo. Hamm corrects him saying does he mean lying? But Clov says it is laying. At this Hamm rebukes him saying “If he was laying we’d be bitched.” (946) Clov inquires whether Hamm wants to go for pee. Hamm replies “I’m having it.”
After a pause, Hamm suggests Clov to come with him to south. They will make raft and go far away. But Clov denies to go with him. Hamm says that he will go all alone. “Get working on that raft immediately. Tomorrow I’ll be gone forever.” Hamm enquires whether there will be sharks in the sea. Clov has no idea of it. Hamm once again asks for his pain-killer. Clov becomes violent. Hamm again asks Clov about his eyes and legs. Clov gives the same answer that they are bad but he can walk. Clov: I come… and go.” Hamm seems to be jealous of these abilities of Clov and in prophetic way he continues, one day Clov will become blind and he will be sitting in dark forever. “One day you’ll say to yourself, I’m tired, I’ll sit down, and you’ll go and sit down. Then you’ll say, I’m hungry, I’ll get up and bring something to eat. But you won’t get up.”(947) He continues that one day you will look at the wall and then will close your eyes for a nap. When you will open your eyes, there will be no wall instead you will see “infinite emptiness will be all around you.’ One day Clov will be like Hamm, the only difference in their situation will be that Hamm has Clov to serve him but Cloy would not have anyone because he has not shown pity on anyone or because there would be none to have pity on. Clov defends himself saying his situation is uncertain and moreover he cannot sit. Hamm becomes impatient and says that position does not matter much, Clov may lie down or stand still “One day you’ll say, I’m tired, I’ll stop. What does the attitude matter?” (947) Clov asks whether they all want him to leave them.
Hamm replies “naturally.” Clov asserts that he will leave them. Hamm says that he can’t leave them. Clov simply says that then he won’t leave them. Hamm asks why does he not finish them? Hamm will tell Clov the combination of the cupboard if Clov promises to finish him. But Clov shows his helplessness that he cannot finish him. Hamm asks him whether Clov has any memory of the day he had come to Hamm’s house or about his father. Clov says that he has no memory of those days as he was too small. “You have asked me these questions millions of times.” Hamm loves to ask old questions. He says with fervour, “Ah the old questions, the old answers, there’s nothing like them.” He claimed that he was a father for Clov and his house a home for Clov. Clov positively agrees that “This was that for me.” But for Hamm there is no father and home. Clov repeats his refrain “I’ll leave you.” Hamm changes the topic and continues conversation. He asks Clov whether he has ever think of one think that they are living in a here but perhaps beyond the hills, it’s still green. He feels that perhaps Clov need not to go very far for greenery, Clov says that he cannot go very far.
Cloy wants to leave Hamm. Hamm asks whether his dog is ready. Clov says that it is a kind of Pomeranian who lacks a leg. Hamm demands Clov to go and get his dog. Clov exits and brings a black colour dog. Hamm asks the colour of the dog, “He’s white, isn’t he?” (948) Clov does not say that he is black rather he says isn’t. Hamm continues that Clov has forgotten the sex. Clov becomes annoyed and claims, “But he isn’t finished. The sex goes on at the end.” (948) Hamm inquires whether Clov has tied a ribbon on his dog. Clov says angrily that he has already told Hamm that first he has to finish his dog only then he will put the ribbon on him.
Hamm asks whether his dog can stand. Clov tries to make it stand but fails. Hamm puts his hand on dog’s head and asks whether he is looking at him for a walk or a bone. Clov says only if you like. Clov gets fed up and says ‘T’ll leave you.’ Hamm inquires about Mother Pegg whether her light is on or not. Clov replies that it is extinguished as well as Mother Pegg is also extinguished. Clov does not understand what’s happening with Hamm today. Hamm feels that he is taking his course today. Hamm asks whether Clov has buried her or not. Clov replies why he should bury her. He has lots of other works excepts burying people. Hamm wants to know whether he will bury Hamm or not, Clov simply denies. Hamm describes Mother Pegg, “She was bonny once, like a flower of the field. With reminiscent leer.) And a great one for the men!” Clov says that all of them were bonny once. Hamm demands Clov to bring the gaff. Clov becomes irritated and says “Do this, do that and I do it. I never refuse. Why?” Hamm says because he is not able to refuse.
Clov exits and comes with a gaff. He hands over it to Hamm who tries to move his chair with its help but fails. He throws it and tells Clov to get oilcan to oil the castor. Clov says that he has oiled them yesterday. Hamm does not understand what Clov means by yesterday. Clov loses his temper and speaks angrily
that means that bloody awful day, long ago, before this bloody awful day. I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything anymore, teach me others. Or let me be silent.” (949) After a pause, Hamm changed the topic to a madman who informed him that the world has come to an end. That man was a painter and Hamm liked him. He visited him in the asylum. Hamm used to take him to window and showed him the rising corn, the sails and all the loveliness of outside world. That man used to snatch his hand and went back to his corner. “All he had seen was ashes.” Clov wants to know when all this had happened. Hamm does not know the exact time, he only says “way back, you weren’t in the land of the living.” Hamm asks Clov whether he does not feel that this has gone long enough. Clov does not get the idea about which Hamm is talking. Hamm does not make it clear but says, “This… this… thing, “Clov understands that he is talking about their condition. They both conclude that “it’s a day like any other day.” All lifelong they are facing the same inanities. Hamm cannot leave Clov. Hamm wants to know if in near future, Clov makes a plan to leave him, how will he get to know? Clov says that Hamm may whistle and if Clov does not come, it means that he has left. Hamm asks whether he would – not come to say goodbye, Clov denies. Hamm has another doubt what will happen if Clov would die in his kitchen. Clov replies that sooner or later, his body will stink. Hamm believes that “You stinks already. The whole place stinks of corpse.” (950) Clov feels that the whole universe stinks of corpses. A pause occurs and Hamm become restless.
He asks Clov to have some idea to continue the conversation, Clov begins to move here and there in the room as if he is thinking of something. Soon he feels pain in his leg and says, “Soon I won’t be able to think any more.” Hamm only wants to be with Clov and says then Clov would not leave him. He asks what Clov is doing? Clov makes movements as if he is busy in thinking and finally he gets an idea that he will set alarm. If alarm rings that means he has left, if it does not it means he is dead. They both argue whether alarm is working or not. Clov exits and brings the alarms. He releases the alarm near Hamm’s ear and they both listen it ringing to the end. It is working, Hamm asks Clov whether it is time for his pain-killer. Clov says no.
Hamm wants to narrate his story but Clov denies to listen. Hamm asks him to wake up Nagg if he wants to listen it. Clov goes to Nagg’s bin, opens it, Nape is sleeping, Hamm asks him to wake up Nagg. But Nags is notánterested. Hamm offers him a bon-bon and finally they settle on a sugar-plum. Hamm wants to know why his father has given him birth. Nagg simply replies that he did not know that it would be you.” Nagg only wants the confirmation of his sugar-plum. He wants two-“one for me and one for but Hamm promised him to give only one. Hamm starts gloomily that “It’s finished, we’re finished. [Pause.) Nearly finished. (Pause.) There’ll be no more speech.” (951) He begins his story in a narrative tone. A pale man came crawling towards him, suddenly he stopped and feels he has completed this much He restarts that he calmly filled his pipe with meerschaum and have few puffs. He asked that man what does he want from him? It was Christmas eve and the temperature was bitterly low. That man raised his face that had become black because of dirt and tears. Hamm asked him to drop his eyes and that man murmured something as if he apologised. Hamm told him that during festival season, he is a busy man he wanted to know the reason of his invasion. Hamm recalls that “It was a glorious day, I remember, fifty by the heliometer…”Hamm demanded him to quickly present his petition.
The man said that his little boy is bad and he came all the way on a horse to have bread for him. Hamm did not have bread, so the man asked for a little corn, Hamm made him understand the situation that even if Hamm gives him corn, he will go back and make a nice pot of porridge for his child. This might bring colours on his cheeks but the man is not getting the real point that you’re on earth, there’s no cure for that.” (953) Hamm reminiscences that it was an exceedingly dry day, I remember, zero by the hygrometer.” He asked that man what does he think that the earth is going to revive again or the rivers and sea will flow naturally with lots of fishes or there’s manna in heaven, nothing like this is going to happen.”
Finally Hamm asked him about his journey and he said that it took three whole days till he reached Hamm. He has left his son deep in sleep. Hamm shortened his story and says that he offered him to take his son under his service. “He had touched a chord. And then I imagined already that I wasn’t much longer for this world.”(953) Suddenly Hamm speaks a line that reveals the reality of life, “Here if you were careful you might die a nice natural death, in peace and comfort.” (953) The man asked whether Hamm would consent to take in his child. Hamm observed him down on his knees, his hands flat on the ground, he was staring at him for merey.
Hamm says that he will soon end the story if he is not going to add new characters. In reality, he does not have the courage to end his story because in Beckett’s world nothing reaches at finale. Hamm thinks than where he will get his characters and in an abrupt way he ends his story and whistles to call Clov. He asks everyone to pray to God. Nagg wants his sugar-plum. Clov informs him that there is a rat in the kitchen. Hamm asks “you haven’t exterminated him?” Clov says that he was doing so when Hamm called him. Hamm says that he can kill it later first they should pray to God. They start “Our Father which art-But Hamm wants them to do prayer silently. Nagg demands his sugar-plum after prayer but Hamm says that there are no more sugar-plums. Nagg says that he is the father of Hamm.
Though it is true that if Nagg had not been his father, anybody else would be but that is no excuse for misbehaving with a father. He continues if he asked Turkish delight from Hamm in return for a kindness, that might be a difficult one to give because it no longer exists. He made Hamm remember how he used to cry in darkness and called his father. Now Nagg was sleeping happily as a king but Hamm woke him up to listen his story. “It wasn’t indispensable, you didn’t really need to have me listen to you.” (954) Nagg believes that one day will come when Hamm really needs him or anyone else to listen has story or to hear their voice. “Yes, I hope I’ll live till them, to hear you calling me like when you were a tiny boy, and were frightened, in the dark, and I was your only hope.” (954)
Nagg knocks on Nell’s bin but she does not come so he also goes back in his bin. Hamm feels relax, “our revels are now ended.” He searches for his dog and asks Clov to give it to him. Clov hands over it to Hamm who throws it away saying “Dirty brute!” Clov gets indulged in arranging the things lying on the floor. When Hamm asks him what he is doing, he simply replies that he is keeping things in order. Hamm mocks on the word order. But Clov loves order, he says, “I love order. It’s my dream. A world where all would be silent and still and each thing in its last place, under the last dust.” (954) Hamm becomes restless and asks him to leave this task. Clov goes near the door and Hamm questions him about his feet. Clov does not understand at first then asserts “I must have put on boots?” Hamm wants to know whether his slippers are hurting him but Clov breaks the raising conversation by announcing his departure. He asks “What is there to keep me here? Hamm reveals the true reason of his staying “dialogue.” That he got from his story. “I have got on with it well.” Hamm calls it his chronicle for which he has to wait till he gets it. “No forcing, no forcing, it’s fatal.” He has continuing it with technique. Clov admires his capability to get on with it. Hamm feels that it is better than nothing and narrates a few lines of his story. “Crawling on his belly, whining for bread for his brat He’s offered a job as gardener. Before” (955)
Clov bursts out laughing but Hamm does not understand the reason of his laughing. Clov says a job as gardener!” Hamm feels that the whole thing is comical and asks whether he wants to guffaw again but Clov denies. Hamm continues his story that the man demands whether he can bring his little boy with him. Clov wants to know the age of the boy and Hamm refers him as a tiny boy who can do all the little odd jobs. He has grown up likely, Cloy wants him to continue as if he has the feeling that Hamm is narrating about his arrival in this house but Hamm says “That’s all. I stopped here.” (956) Clov asks Hamm whether he notices how his story goes on. Clov feels that Hamm is nearly about to end his story. Hamm agrees that he feels drained with the prolonged creative effort.
Now he wants to take rest. “If I could drag myself down to the sea! I’d make a pillow of sand for my head and the tide would come.” Clov breaks his dream by saying that there are no more tide. Hamm asks him to go and check if Nell has died or not. Clov checks and informs “Looks like it.” Hamm now wants to know the condition of Nagg and Clov confirms that he is alive, because he is crying, Hamm asks Clov “Did you ever have an instant of happiness?” Clov denies. Hamm shows his desire to sit under the window so that he can feel the light on his face. Hamm makes Clov remember how in the beginning, he used to pick up his chair very high. Hamm nearly fell at every stop. Hamm had great fun in that. Cloy placed his chair under window right (earth window) Hamm does not feel light there so Clov pushes chair towards left window. Hamm feels a ray of sunshine there but Clov neglects the idea that it is not the ray of sunshine.
Hamm questions him whether he is white, Clov simply replies “not more so than usual.” Hamm wants to hear the sea and demands to open the window. Clov asserts that he will not be able to listen even if he opened the window. Hamm seems to agree with him “Then it’s not worth while opening it?” and suddenly ordered to open it. Clov goes and brings a ladder. He opens the window. He asks Clov that the sea must be very calm because there are no more navigators. Clov answers in affirmative.
Hamm feels that Clov is not doing much conversation and asks him whether he is well or not. Clov replies that he is cold. Hamm wants to know the present month but as time has become static, the question goes unanswered. Hamm orders Clov to close the window as he wants to go back to his position. Clov placed the chair on its place and stands behind it to give opportunity to Hamm to repeat his refrain? “Don’t stay there, you give me shivers!” (957) Hamm calls his father but gets no reply. He asks Clov to go and check whether Nagg heard his voice or not. Clov goes and murmur something and replies that he heard once. Hamm becomes impatience to know which time he heard him, Clov stops and answer that he does not know. Hamm asks whether he is still crying. Clov says no and Hamm feels “The dead go fast.” Nagg is sucking his biscuit and Hamm refers it as “Life goes on.” Hamm demands a rug but Clov says that there are no more rugs. Hamm wants Clov to kiss him but latter denies to kiss him anywhere. Hamm wants to touch the hand of Clov but Clov is not interested in giving his hand.
Now he wants his dog and when Clov is searching it, he suddenly says his refrain, “Then I’ll leave you.” Clov exits and Hamm takes out his handkerchief, and spreads it before him. He starts his soliloquy. “We’re getting on. [Pause) You weep. and weep, for nothing, so as not to laugh, and little by little… you begin to grieve.” He recalls the people he helped or rather saved. He feels that the place is full of them. He pauses several times in this soliloquy. He continues, “Get out of here and love one another! Lick your neighbours as yourself! [Pause. Calmer.] When it wasn’t bread they wanted it was crumpets. (Pause. Violently). Out of my sight and back to your petting parties! (958) He gets irritated that there is even not a real dog.
He feels “The end is in the beginning and yet you go on. He is indicating towards the circularity of the structure of the play. He thinks that perhaps he could go on with his story. He may end it and begin another one. Perhaps he could throw himself on the floor. He tries to do it but falls back in his chair. He feels as if he could dig his nails into the crack to drag himself forward.
It would be the end then I must be wondering what can have brought it and why did it take so long duration to reach the end? He moves ahead, “There I’ll be, in the old shelter, alone against the silence, and … (he hesitates)… the stillness. If I can hold my peace, and sit quiet, it will be all over with sound and motion, all over and done with.” (959) He says that he will call his father and son three times if they should not have heard him at the first or second time. I will console myself saying, “He’ll come back. What will happen then?” He wouldn’t turn back what will happen? He becomes impatient that these are all fantasies, “That I’m being watch! A rat! Steps! Breath held and then… [He breaths out] Then babble, babble, words like the solitary child who turns himself into children, two, three, so as to be together, and whisper together, in the dark. [Pause.) Moment upon moment, pattering down, like the millet grains of … (he hesitates)… that old Greek, and all life long you wait for that to mount up to a life.” (959) He opens his mouth to continue but drops the idea and whistles to call Clov. He waits and questions “Neither gone nor dead?” Hamm says that outside of here it is death for Clov. Clov immediately replies “and vice versa.” Hamm realises the fact that outside his house is death. He inquires about the rat and Clov asserts that it ran away and both feel that it cannot go very far.
Hamm asks for his pain-killer, finally Clov says yes it is the time but he has no more pain-killer. Instead of feeling bad, Hamm says that it is good that there are no more pain-killer. Hamm remembers that the little box is full of medicines but Clov says it is empty now. Clov moves around the room to find out the place for keeping the Clock, Hamm does not know what he should do and screams, “What’ll I do?” Clov takes down the picture from the wall and hang alarm clock there. When Hamm asks him what is he doing? He answers he is winding up as if he is indicating towards the end of the play.
Hamm asks him to look at the earth but he denies that irritates Hamm and he orders him to stop singing. Clov gets angry and says, “One hasn’t the right to sing anymore?” Hamm replies no then Clov wants to know how will they end? Hamm allows him to sing if he wants to do so. Clov goes to window right and asks Hamm what he should do with steps. He goes towards window left and feels “Sometimes I wonder if I’m in my right mind. Then it passes over and I’m as lucid as before.” (960)
He gets up on ladder and exclaims, “Christ, She’s under water!” Who is she, it is not mentioned. He becomes surprised because it has not rained, how it could be in water. He wipes the pane and calls himself a fool that he is looking on the wrong side. He gets down and carries the ladder towards window right. He wonders if he is in his right sense, he would be as intelligent as ever. He asks Hamm whether he wants information about whole thing or particular sector. Hamm replies ‘Whole thing.”
Hamm says that he was never there and Clov calls him lucky. He looks outside the window. Hamm repetitively asks him “Do you know what’s happened?” Clov gets irritated and replies what does it matter? Hamm does not know that. Clov turns towards Hamm and speaks rudely that when Mother Pegg asked him for the oil for her lamp, did he know what was happening then? Hamm does not know that Mother Pegg died because of darkness and indirectly somewhere Hamm is responsible for her death, Hamm becomes soft and says he did not have any oil but Clov claimed that he had. Hamm asks him to go and have a glass to look outside. Clov gets down the ladder and questions Hamm “why I always obey you. Can you explain that to me?” Hamm feels that it is because of compassion, Clov begins to search for telescope, he feels tired. He gets the telescope and gets up on the ladder when Hamm asks him to give former his dog. Clov says ‘quiet!’ but Hamm becomes angry. Clov finally gets down and hands over Hamm his dog. The dog falls to the ground. Hamm shouts that he hits me. Clov feels that Hamm is driving him mad. Hamm asserts, “If you want hit me, hit me with axe.” (961) or Clov should hit him with gaff. Clov picks up the dog and gives it to Hamm. Clov asks Hamm to stop playing.
Hamm demands in that case he has to put him in coftin. But Clov says “There are no more coffins.” Hamm also wants it to end with a bang. Hamm asks if anybody had pity on him. Clov thinks that he is addressing to Clov but Hamm says it’s an aside, he is warming up for his last soliloquy. Clov warns that he is looking outside at the filth last time. He describes outside “Nothing… nothing… good… good… nothing… goo (962) He observes outside again and says ‘Bad luck to it!” Hamm immediately asks if there are more complications but he believes it will not be under plot. Clov moves ladder closer to window and asserts “Look like a small boy!” Hamm in sarcastic tone speaks “A small… boy!” Clov wants to go and see him. He moves towards the door and turns to take the gaff. Hamm stops him and warns that the boy might be a potential procreator.” Hamm makes him understand that if there is a boy outside, he will die there or come to his house but if he does not exist, it is not worth going outside. Hamm does not want Clov to cross the threshold of the house. Clov feels as if Hamm has no trust on him “You think I’m inventing.” Hamm asserts that they have come to end and he does not need Clov anymore.
Clov goes towards the door. Hamm asks him to give the gaff as well as a few word from his heart for Hamm “With the rest, in the end, the shadows, the murmurs, all the trouble, to end up with.” (963) Clov starts his speech tonelessly, towards auditorium. “They said to me, That’s love, yes, yes, not a doubt, now you see how-“(963) He continues that they told him that is friendship and you have found it. They told him that it is the place, where he should stop and raise his head to view beauty. That is an order. They hold him that he should think about these things so that everything will become clear. “They said to me, What skilled attention they get, all these dying of their wounds” (965)
Hamm wants to stop him but he continues that he says to himself, he should learn to suffer much if he wants them to be weary of punishing him. He feels that one day he will be better if he allows himself to go out of this house. But he feels old and exhausted to develop new habits. He feels good that this circle will never end and he will never go. Suddenly he feels that one day everything will end, “it ends, it changes, I don’t understand, that either. I ask the words that remain-sleeping, waking, morning, evening. They have nothing to say. (Pause] I open the door of the cell and go. I am so bowed I only see my feet, if I open my eyes, and between my legs a little trail of black dust. I say to myself that the earth is extinguished, though I never saw it lit.” (963) Everything is going comfortably when he will fall, he will Weep for happiness. He goes towards the door when Hamm calls him and he halts and without turning says, “This is what we call making an exit.”
Hamm says thanks to him for his services. Clov turns and says that it is he who is obliged to Hamm. Hamm finally settles the matter, “It’s we are obliged to each other.” Clov moves towards the door, Hamm wants a last favour from him before he exits. He continues that cover me with sheet. He waits for a long time but gets no reply. He begins his last soliloquy “Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing. (963) He tries to move his chair with the help of gaff. Clov enters, he is properly dressed up for road, “Panama hat, tweed coat, raincoat over his arm, umbrella, bag, “He halts by the door and stands there motionless. He has fixed his eyes on Hamm and he remained there like this till the end.
Hamm throws away the gaff. Now raise that, he raises his hat put it again. He take off his glasses, wipe them and put on his glasses again. He keeps his handkerchief in his pocket. He says that we are coming after a few more squirms, he will perform his last duty of calling. He tries a little poetry : “You CRIED for night, it comes [Pause. He corrects himself.] It FALLS: Now cry in darkness. (He repeats, chanting. You cried for night; it falls: now cry in darkness.” He feels that he has made a nice poetry. The problem again exists that what should he do now? He feels that time is over and now it is time to end his story. He begins it if he could have that child with him. He pauses and feels that it was the moment, he was waiting for. He continues, “You don’t want to abandon him? You want him to bloom while you are withering? Be there to solace your last million last moments?” (964) That child does not know anything, he just knows about hunger and cold. But Hamm, he knows what is the earth like and he put him before his responsibilities. He changes his tone to normal and feels that it is enough. He wants to whistle but drops the idea. He calls his father but gets no reply; he says, “Good.” He is assure that they are coming to end. He throws away the dog and tears the whistle from his neck and continues “With my compliments.” and throws away the whistle towards auditorium. He calls Clov softly but gets no reply, he feels good. He takes out his handkerchief and concludes the play, “Since that’s the way we’re playing it… (he unfolds handkerchief)… let’s play it that way… (he unfolds)… and speak no more about it… (he finishes unfolding) speak no more.” (965) He spreads his handkerchief before him and curses his father “Old stancher! [Pause.) You… remain.” He covers his face with that handkerchief, lower down his arms to armrest and remains motionless. A brief tableau is presented and the audience witness the same scene that they had observed in the beginning of the play.