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Quotes

Quote #1

HAMM
Can there be misery—
(he yawns)
—loftier than mine? No doubt. Formerly. But now?
(Pause.)
My father?
(Pause.)
My mother?
(Pause.)
My…dog?
(Pause.)
Oh I am willing to believe they suffer as much as such creatures can suffer. But does that mean their sufferings equal mine? No doubt. (1.2)

What do you make of Hamm's word choice: "loftier"? Is there any dignity in his suffering? Does he take pride in it? Why is he competing to see if the others might be suffering more than he does?

Quote #2

HAMM
I've made you suffer too much.
(Pause.)
Haven't I?
CLOV
It's not that
HAMM(shocked)
I haven't made you suffer too much?
CLOV
Yes!
HAMM(relieved)
Ah you gave me a fright! (1.46-50)

Why is Hamm concerned about how much he has made Clov suffer? What might be the reason that Clov wants to leave Hamm if it is not that he has made him suffer? Does Hamm seem to think that suffering is somehow ennobling?

Quote #3

NAGG
Are you crying again?
NELL
I was trying. (1.210-211)

How does this moment foreshadow Nell's death? Consider the moment later in the play when Nagg stops crying after Nell's death. Is this a lack of compassion or a sign that he too will die before too long?

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