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by Samuel Beckett

Endgame Lines 690 – 799 Summary

  • Hamm whistles and Clov enters with the alarm clock. He halts beside the chair, and Hamm wonders that he is neither gone nor dead. Clov says that he is in spirit only. Hamm asks which and he says both.
  • Hamm says that if Clov left him, Clov would be dead. Clov says this is true for Hamm, too. Hamm repeats that outside of the shelter, it is death. He wonders about the rat.
  • Clov says that the rat has gotten away. Hamm says that he cannot have gone very far, and with an anxious pause he wonders if this is true. Clov points out that the rat does not need to go very far. Hamm asks if it is not time for his painkiller, and Clov says that it is. Hamm wonders that it finally is time for his painkiller, and demands that Clov give it to him quickly.
  • Clov says that there are no more painkillers. Hamm is appalled, but then says that this is good. He can't believe there are no more painkillers.
  • Clov repeats it, and says that Hamm will never get any more painkillers. Hamm says that the little round box was full, and Clov agrees that this was true, but he says that now it is empty.
  • Clov starts to move about the room looking for a place to put down the alarm clock.
  • Hamm asks softly what Clov will do. After a pause, he screams the same question.
  • Clov sees a picture on the wall, takes it down, and puts the alarm clock up on its hook. Hamm asks what he is doing. Clov says that he is winding up.
  • Hamm orders him to look at the earth, and Clov marvels at the fact that he has to do so again. Hamm says that it is calling to him.
  • Clov asks if his throat is sore and if he would like a lozenge. Hamm says that it is not, and Clov says that is a pity. Clov goes humming over to the right window and looks up at it.
  • Hamm tells him not to sing. Clov turns to Hamm and asks if one no longer has the right to sing. Hamm says that they do not. Clov asks how it can end then? Hamm asks if Clov actually wants it to end, and Clov says that he wants to sing.
  • Hamm says that he cannot prevent Clov from singing. Clov turns to the right window and wonders what he did with the ladder. Clov looks around for the ladder, and then spots it. He says that he sometimes wonders if he is in right mind, but it soon passes and he is as lucid as before.
  • Clov gets up on the ladder and looks out the left window. He curses and says that she, the earth, is under water. He wonders how that can be, since it has not rained. He wipes the pane and looks again and then realizes that he is on the wrong side, the left side. He calls himself a fool.
  • Clov goes back for the ladder, and takes it to the window on the right. Clov says that he sometimes wonders if he is in right senses, but then it passes and he is as intelligent as ever. He climbs the ladder and looks out of the right-hand window, and asks if Hamm is interested in a particular part of it or if he's interested in the whole thing. Hamm says that he is interested in the whole thing.
  • Clov asks if he's looking for the general effect, and tells him to wait for a moment.
  • Hamm calls for Clov, but Clov is absorbed. Hamm asks him what time it is, but Clov is still absorbed. Hamm says that Hamm was never there and then calls for Clov. Clov turns to Hamm and asks what it is that's irking him. Hamm says that it is the fact that he was never there. Clov says that is lucky for Hamm. He again looks out the window.
  • Hamm says that he was always absent, that things happened without him and he does not know what has happened. Hamm asks Clov if he knows what happened. After a pause, he calls for Clov.
  • Clov turns to him, exasperated, and asks if Hamm actually wants him to examine the muckheap or no. Hamm tells him to answer first, and Clov asks what the question was. Hamm asks if he knows what has happened, and Clov asks when? Where?
  • Hamm repeats the question violently several times and tells Clov to use his head.
  • Clov asks what, for Christ's sake, it matters. Hamm says that he doesn't know, and Clov turns to him.
  • Clov asks harshly if, when old Mother Pegg asked for oil for her lamp and Hamm refused to give it to her, if he knew what was happening then. Clov asks Hamm if he knows what she died of. Clov says that she died of darkness.
  • Hamm says feebly that he hadn't any oil. Clov insists that he had.
  • Hamm asks if Clov has seen the telescope, and Clov says no. Clov says that it is clear enough as it is.
  • Hamm tells him to go and get the telescope. Clov rolls his eyes and raises his fists. He loses his balance, and clutches the ladder. Clov starts to get down, but halts.
  • Clov says that there is only one thing that he will never understand. He says he does not understand why he always obeys Hamm, and asks if Hamm can explain it to him.
  • Hamm says that he cannot, and wonders if it is some sort of compassion. He says that Clov will not find it easy, and repeats himself.
  • Clov begins to move about, searching for the telescope. He says that he is very tired of things, and asks if Hamm is sitting on it. Clov moves the chair to check underneath, and then resumes the search.
  • Hamm cries that Clov cannot leave him there, and Clov angrily restores Hamm's wheelchair to the center of the room. Hamm asks if he is right in the center.
  • Clov says that you would need a microscope to find the center, and then he sees the telescope. He picks it up, goes back to the ladder, and looks back outside.
  • Hamm asks for the dog, but Clov calls for him to be quiet. Hamm angrily calls for the dog. Clov drops the telescope and clasps his hands to his head. He gets down carefully, gets the dog, rushes over to Hamm, and strikes him on the head with the dog.
  • Clov cries out — "there is his dog for him! – and drops it to the ground. Hamm is shocked that Clov has hit him. Clov says that Hamm drives him mad.
  • Hamm says that, if Clov must hit him, Clov should do it with the axe. Or the gaff (remember, that long poll used in sailing?). Clov picks up the dog and gives it to Hamm, who takes it in his arms.
  • Clov pleads that they stop playing.
  • Hamm cries that they will never stop playing. He asks Clov to put him in his coffin. Clov says that there are no more coffins. Hamm asks him to let it end with a bang of darkness. He wonders if anyone has pity on him.
  • In the meantime, Clov starts to climb the ladder, realizes he doesn't have the telescope, gets it and gets back up on the ladder, looking outside.
  • Clov lowers the telescope and asks if Hamm is referring to him.
  • Hamm angrily cries that he was making an aside. He asks if Clov has ever heard of an aside before. Hamm says that he is warming up for his last soliloquy.
  • Clov replies that he warns Hamm that he will look at the filth because it is an order, but this is the last time. He scans the outside with the scope, finds nothing at each interval, and decides this is good.
  • Hamm wonders that there are more complications. Clov gets down, and Hamm says he trusts that there is not some underplot going on. Clov moves the ladder closer to the window, gets up on it, and turns the telescope towards what is outside.
  • Clov is dismayed and says that he thinks he sees a small boy. Hamm mocks him sarcastically.
  • Clov says that he will go and see. He gets down, rushes to the door, and stops in the frame. He says that he will take the gaff. He gets it and hastens toward the door.
  • Hamm cries out No! Clov halts. Clov wonders why he is shouting. He is says that there is a potential procreator. Hamm says that if the boy does exist he will either die out there or come where they are. He then wonders what will happen if the boy doesn't.
  • Clov is indignant that Hamm thinks he is just inventing things and does not believe him.
  • Hamm says it is the end, that they have come to an end. He says that he does not need Clov anymore.
  • Clov says that this is lucky for Hamm.
  • Hamm asks Clov to leave him with the gaff. Clov gives him the gaff and goes to the door. He stops and looks at the alarm clock. He searches for a better place to put it, leaving it on the lid of Nagg's bin.
  • Clov says that he will leave Hamm. Hamm says that, before Clov goes, Hamm would like Clov to say something.
  • Clov says that there is nothing to say.
  • Hamm asks for a few words to ponder in his heart.
  • Clov scoffs at the idea of his heart.
  • Hamm says yes, and then more forcibly says, "Yes!" He says he wants something to ponder with the rest, in the end, the shadows, the murmurs, all the trouble. He begins to narrate how Clov had never spoken to him, but then he did in the end, without having been asked. He trails off, leaving the opportunity for Clov to fill in.
  • Clov moans despairingly. Hamm requests something from Clov's heart. Clov exclaims, "My heart!" Hamm asks for a few words from his heart.
  • Clov, in a fixed toneless voice and facing the audience, says, "That's love, yes, yes, not a doubt, now you see how—" (1.790).
  • Hamm demands that he articulate. Clov begins again.
  • Clov says that they told him what friendship was, that he had found it without a question. He said they told him to stop at a given place and admire all the beauty. The order. He said they told him that he was not a brute beast, how if he thought upon these things, all would become clear. And simple. He said they noted what skilled attention all those who were dying of their wounds received.
  • Hamm cries that it is enough, but Clov goes on.
  • Clov says that he sometimes thinks if he learned to suffer better, they would stop punishing him. He says that if he acted better, they might let him go. He says that he feels too old to form new habits and knows that, in the end, he will never go.
  • Clov says that, in the end, all changes suddenly. Something dies, or perhaps it is him, and he asks the words that remain but they have nothing to say.
  • Clov says that he opens the door of his cell and he goes. He says that he is so bowed that he can only see his feet if he opens his eyes. He says to himself that the earth is extinguished, though he never saw it lit.
  • Clov says that it is easy going, and that when he falls, he will weep for happiness.
  • Clov goes toward door.
  • Hamm calls him. Clov halts but does not turn. Hamm says that it is nothing. Hamm calls him again. Clov halts but does not turn.
  • Clov says that this is what they call making an exit. Hamm replies that he is obliged to him for Clov's services. Clov turns and says sharply that it is he who is obliged to Hamm.
  • Hamm says that they are obliged to each other. Clov goes toward the door.
  • Hamm asks for one more thing, a last favor. Clov exits. Hamm asks Clov to cover him with the sheet. When he does not, Hamm says this is good. He says that it is just him to play.
  • Hamm says, "Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing" (1.799).
  • Hamm wonders what to do and then again begins to attempt to move chair with the gaff. Clov enters with a Panama hat, a tweed coat, a raincoat over his arm, an umbrella, and a bag. He halts by the door and stands impassive and motionless, his eyes resting on Hamm until the end. Hamm gives up moving the chair.
  • Hamm says this is good and calls out, "discard!" He throws away the gaff and starts to throw away the dog, but thinks better of it. Hamm tells himself to take it easy. He says that he will raise his hat, which he does, and prays peace to everyone's bottoms. He puts it on again. He says deuce, takes off his glasses, says wipe, and wipes his glasses with his handkerchief.
  • Hamm says, "Put on again," and puts the glasses back on again. He says that they are coming; it is just a few more squirms. He calls for a little poetry, and begins to say "you prayed," but then changes to "you cried one night," and then changes once more to: "It FALLS: now cry in darkness" (1.799).
  • He repeats the phrases again, and admires his word choice.
  • Hamm recalls that time was never and it is over, the reckoning is closed and the story ended.
  • He recalls the man asking if he could have his child with him, and how it was the moment that Hamm was waiting for. Hamm asks if the man does not want to abandon the child, if he wants the child to bloom while he himself was withering. Hamm asks if the man wanted the child to be there to solace his last million moments.
  • Hamm pauses and says that the man doesn't realize. because all he knows is hunger, and cold and death. He tells the man that he should know what earth is like nowadays, and reminds the man of his responsibilities.
  • Hamm decides that is truly enough. He whistles, and then whistles again louder.
  • He says that it is good. He calls twice for his father and, when no one responds, he says that it is good. He says that they are coming and wonders what they will end up with.
  • He says that he will discard his dog, and throws it away from himself. He tears off the whistle and throws it to the auditorium with his compliments.
  • He sniffs softly.
  • Hamm calls for Clov, and when he does not hear him, he says that it is good. He takes out the handkerchief and begins to unfold it.
  • Hamm says that, since that is how they are playing it, they will speak no more about it. He exclaims, "Old stancher! You… remain."
  • After a pause, he covers his face with handkerchief, lowers his arms to the armrests, and remains motionless.

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