Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quote #1

Nature has forgotten us.
There's no more nature.
No more nature! You exaggerate.
In the vicinity. (1.103-106)

Throughout the play, characters slightly exaggerate the horrible nature of their situation. What is it that makes people given to making such sweeping statements? What do these characters have to gain from increased accuracy?

Quote #2

"Dreadfully sorry, come back in a fortnight, I've made a balls of the fly." Good, at a pinch, a smart fly is a stiff proposition.
(Pause. Normal voice.)
I never told it worse.
(Pause. Gloomy.)
I tell this story worse and worse. (1.228)

Why is Nagg so concerned with the manner that he tells the story? What does he have to gain from telling it well? Does his self-commentary contaminate the joke or make it even funnier?

Quote #3

All is what?
What all is? In a word? Is what you want to know? Just a moment.
(He turns the telescope on the without, look, lowers the telescope, turns toward Hamm.)
Well? Content? (1.303-304)

Why would Hamm want him to sum everything all up in a word? Don't they have all the time in the world? What is gained from a one-word description versus one that goes on and on? Why might Clov choose the word "corpsed?" What are some other words he might have chosen?

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