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by Samuel Beckett

Endgame Defeat Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.

Quote #1

CLOV (fixed gaze, tonelessly)
Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished.
Grain upon grain, one by one, suddenly there's a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.
I can't be punished any more. (1.1)

Why does Clov begin by saying that things are "finishes" and then qualify by saying that things are "nearly finished" and then qualify again by saying that things "must be nearly finished"? How much more uncertainty is there at the end of this sentence than at the beginning? Is there any hope in the play after these first few lines?

Quote #2

Enough, it's time it ended, in the shelter too.
And yet I hesitate to…to end. Yes, there it is, it's time it ended and yet I hesitate to—
(He yawns.)
—to end. (1.2)

How is Hamm's hesitation to end in a way an admission of defeat? How is the failure to accept defeat that runs throughout the play itself an even greater defeat? Why do you think that Hamm hesitates?

Quote #3

Could you not?
Would you like me to scratch you?
Are you crying again?
I was trying. (1.209-210)

Why might Nell still be trying to cry? Do you think that she would be crying for herself or for other people? How does she still show sympathy for Nagg even though she refuses to scratch him? Is the fact that she cannot cry in some way a hint that her death is imminent?

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