Study Guide

Endgame

Endgame Summary

Endgame is set after some sort of apocalyptic disaster (though we never learn the details). Hamm, his servant Clov, his father Nagg, and his mother Nell are trapped together in Hamm's home.

The play opens on a bare stage in gray light. It is a room of Hamm's house. To the left are two trash bins covered in sheets. In center stage is Hamm, seated in a wheelchair and covered in a sheet. (He's also blind.) At the back of the room are two windows, and to the left is a kitchen. The first character to appear is Hamm's servant, Clov, who goes through a long routine – he opens the curtains on the windows and pulls the sheets off of all the other characters. He then goes to his kitchen.

When Hamm awakens, he calls for Clov, and the two of them discuss the possibility of things ending. At one point, Hamm asks why Clov does not leave him, and Clov says that there is no one else. Later, Hamm again asks why Clov doesn't kill him, and Clov says that he does not know the combination to the cupboard. After a while, Hamm's parents, Nagg and Nell, emerge from their trash bins. Nagg wants Nell to kiss him and to scratch him, but Nell is less enthusiastic. Nagg tells a long joke in an attempt to cheer Nell up, but she doesn't laugh. Discouraged, they both return to their trash bins.

Hamm calls again for Clov so that Clov can take him for a tour around the room in Hamm's wheelchair. As Clov returns Hamm to his original spot, Hamm becomes obsessed with being in the exact center of the room.

Hamm then demands that Clov look out the window and report what he sees, which is nothing. Clov says that he is sick of their farce, day after day. Hamm, for his part, worries that the two of them are beginning to mean something. While Hamm is making a speech, Clov discovers that he has a flea. Both of them worry that the flea might have babies and start up the world from scratch again. Clov kills it dramatically with a can of insecticide.

The two of them continue their bickering. Hamm tells Clov that Clov can't leave him, and Clov concedes that this is true. Later, Hamm asks Clov to kill him, but Clov says that he can't. Instead, Hamm sends Clov to get a stuffed dog that Clov is making for him. Hamm wants Clov to set the dog beside his wheelchair to make it seem as though the dog is gazing up at him imploringly. Clov does so, and then accuses Hamm of not helping an old woman named Mother Pegg, who needed oil for her lamp. Hamm tries to deny this.

Clov wonders why he never refuses Hamm's orders, and Hamm says that it is because Clov is unable to. Hamm recalls a madman that he knew, who thought that the entire world was ashes. Hamm doesn't think this man's case is unusual.

Once again, Clov threatens to leave. Hamm and Clov get into a long debate about how Hamm would know if Clov left or if Clov died in the kitchen. Clov decides that if he leaves, he will set an alarm clock so that Hamm will be certain of what Clov has done.

Hamm has Clov awaken Nagg, so that Nagg will listen to his story. Nagg agrees to listen if he gets a sugarplum. With many stops and starts, Hamm recounts what is probably the story of how he obtained Clov from Clov's father, who was one of Hamm's subjects before the end of the world. At the end of the story, Hamm tells Nagg that there are no more sugarplums. Nagg curses him at length, and returns to his bin.

Hamm makes Clov bring him his dog again. After he does so, Clov begins to tidy things up around the room. When Hamm asks what he is doing, Clov says that he is trying to put things in order, because order is his dream. Hamm demands that Clov check on his parents, and they learn that his mother, Nell, is dead, and Nagg is in his trash bin crying. Neither Hamm nor Clov show any sign of sympathy for Nagg.

Hamm asks Clov if he has ever been happy. Clov says no. Hamm makes Clov bring him under the window because he wants to feel the light, but he realizes that there is none. When he gets back to the center of the room, Hamm asks Clov to kiss him, but Clov refuses. Hamm makes a speech in which he talks about how the end happened right in the beginning and yet they continued on. Hamm forces Clov to check the windows again for action outside. Clov becomes extremely frustrated with him, and when Hamm again asks for his stuffed dog, Clov rushes over and hits him with it.

Clov, looking out the window, thinks that he sees a boy, and decides to go find him. Hamm says that he doesn't need Clov anymore, but asks him for a few parting words for Hamm to hold in his heart. Clov recalls all the promises of happiness people made to him when he was growing up, and then thinks how happy he will be when he finally falls. Clov goes to the kitchen. Hamm calls for him, but he does not respond. Hamm calls for his father, but he does not respond either. Hamm decides that this is good, and casts away his few possessions. He makes a short speech on the nature of ending and then covers his face with his handkerchief. Clov stands in the doorway the entire time, dressed to go, but unmoving.

  • Lines 1 – 141

    • The stage opens on a bare room in gray light. In the left and right rear of the stage, there are two small windows with curtains drawn. There is a door front right, with a small picture hanging beside it. To the left are two ashbins covered with sheets. In center stage, Hamm (the main character) is seated in an armchair with a sheet on top of him. Standing motionless by the door is Clov (Hamm's servant), with his eyes fixed on Hamm and his face very red.
    • Okay – patience with this part, it's tough to describe stage directions. Clov walks stiffly to the left window, where he stands for a moment. He looks up at the window, and then turns and looks at the right window. He goes and stands under the right window, looks up at it, and then turns and looks back at the left window.
    • Clov goes out, and comes back with a step-ladder, which he carries and sets down under the left window. He gets up on it and draws back the curtain. He gets off the ladder, and goes to the right window, realizes he has forgotten the ladder, goes back for it, and sets it under the right window. He gets on the ladder and draws back the curtain.
    • Clov gets down, goes to the left window, realizes he has forgotten the ladder, goes back for it, and sets it under the left window. He mounts it, looks out the window, and laughs. He gets down, starts to go to the right window, goes back and gets the ladder, carries it and sets it under the right window. He mounts it, looks out the window, and laughs.
    • Clov gets down, picks up the ladder, and starts to walk toward the ashbins. He stops, goes back and sets the ladder under the right window, then goes to the ashbins, removes the sheet covering them, and folds it over his arm. He raises a lid, stoops, looks into the bin, and laughs. He closes the lid and repeats the action with the other bin.
    • Clov goes to Hamm, removes the sheet covering him, and folds it over his arm. Hamm sits in a dressing gown with a stiff toque (a small, close-fitting brimless hat) on his head and a large bloodstained handkerchief on his face. There is a whistle hanging from his neck, a rug over his knees, and thick socks on his feet. He seems to be asleep. Clov looks him over and laughs.
    • Clov starts for the door, halts, and then turns toward the audience.
    • Clov speaks in a toneless voice, gazing fixedly into the audience. He says that things are finished, or nearly finished – they must be nearly finished. Clov pauses and says that things stack up, grain upon grain, and then suddenly (even though it seems impossible) there is a little heap. He pauses and claims that he can't be punished any more.
    • After another pause, Clov declares that he will now go to the kitchen, which is ten feet by ten feet by ten feet, and then he will wait for Hamm to whistle for him. He stops and observes that the kitchen has "nice dimensions, nice proportions" (1.1). He says that he will lean on the table, and he will look at the wall, and he will wait for Hamm to whistle for him.
    • Clov stands motionless for a moment, and then goes out. Immediately, he comes back in and goes to the right window, takes the ladder, and goes out with it.
    • After a pause, Hamm stirs and yawns under his handkerchief. He removes the handkerchief to reveal a very red face and black glasses.
    • Hamm starts to say something, but then yawns. He says that he will play, and then holds the handkerchief out before him. He says affectionately: "Old stancher!" (1.2)
    • He then takes off his glasses and wipes his eyes and face, as well as the glasses. He puts the glasses back on, folds the handkerchief and returns it neatly to the breast pocket of his dressing gown. Hamm clears his throat and makes a steeple of his fingers.
    • Hamm startles and yawns again. He asks if there can be any misery loftier than his. He does not doubt that there used to be, but he wonders about now. He pauses before wondering if his father suffered more, and then halts again before wondering if his mother suffered more. He waits a moment and wonders if perhaps his dog suffered more.
    • Hamm believes that dogs suffer as much as such creatures can possibly suffer, but wonders if their suffering is equal to his own. He does not doubt it.
    • He pauses, and starts (but yawns again), and says that all is absolute. Then, he says proudly that the bigger a man is the fuller he is. Hamm halts and becomes gloomy as he acknowledges that the man is also emptier.
    • Hamm sniffs and calls for Clov. He pauses, and acknowledges that he is alone. He stops briefly and then wonders at what wild dreams he had – something about forests. It's enough, Hamm muses, and decides that it's time things ended even in the shelter.
    • Hamm pauses, and then says that, despite the fact that things are finished, he hesitates to end. He yawns twice, and acknowledges that he is tired and that he had better go to bed.
    • Hamm whistles for Clov, who enters immediately and then halts beside Hamm's chair. He tells Clov that he pollutes the air, and then pauses before telling Clov to get him ready for bed.
    • Clov retorts that he has just gotten Hamm up, but Hamm asks what Clov's point is.
    • Clov says that he can't be just getting Hamm up and then putting him back to bed every five minutes – he has other things to do!
    • Hamm asks if Clov has ever seen his eyes Clov says that he hasn't.
    • Hamm demands to know if, out of curiosity, Clov ever took off Hamm's glasses while he was sleeping so that he could see Hamm's eyes. Clov inquires if Hamm means that Clov would pull back his eyelids (while Hamm was sleeping) so as to see his eyes. Clov waits a beat before saying that he hasn't.
    • Hamm tells him that, one of these days, he'll show them to Clov. He then pauses and says that they've gone all white, and waits a moment again before asking what time it is.
    • Clov tells him that it's the same time as usual. Hamm gestures toward the right window and asks if Clov has looked out of it. Clov says that he has, and Hamm asks what he saw. Clov says "zero" (1.15).
    • Hamm says that it would need to rain (for there to be anything out the window), and Clov says it won't rain. He pauses. Hamm asks, apart from that (the fact that there's nothing out the window, which is generally pretty darn depressing), how Clov feels? Clov says that he can't complain.
    • Hamm asks if he feels normal, and Clov gets irritated and replies that he told Hamm he couldn't complain. Hamm says that he himself feels "a little queer" (1.22).
    • Hamm pauses and then calls Clov, who answers him. Hamm asks Clov if he has had enough. Without a moment's hesitation, Clov exclaims, "Yes!" (1.25). Then Clov stops and asks what he is supposed to have enough of.
    • Hamm says that he is referring to this… thing. Clov says he has always had enough, and then pauses and asks if it is not the same for Hamm.
    • Hamm gets gloomy and replies that then there is no reason for things to change. Clov says that things may end, and then points out that, all one's life, one has the same questions and one gets the same answers.
    • Hamm tells Clov to get him ready for bed. Clov doesn't move. Hamm demands that Clov get the sheet. Clov doesn't move. Hamm shouts his name, and Clov says yes. Hamm says that he won't give Clov anything more to eat, and Clov says that if he doesn't, then they will both die.
    • Hamm retorts that he will give Clov just enough to keep him from dying, and then he will be hungry all the time. Clov acknowledges that then they wouldn't die. Clov pauses and goes to get the sheet.
    • Hamm shouts No! Clov halts, and Hamm tells him that he will give Clov one biscuit per day; he pauses and ups the ante to one and a half. Hamm stops and asks why Clov stays with him. Clov responds by asking why Hamm keeps him. Hamm responds that there is no one else. Clov acknowledges that there is nowhere else.
    • Hamm says that Clov is leaving him, all the same, and Clov acknowledges that he is trying. Hamm accuses that Clov doesn't love him, and Clov acknowledges that this is true. Hamm says that Clov loved him once, and Clov exclaims, "Once!" (1.45).
    • Hamm acknowledges that he has made Clov suffer too much, and then pauses and asks if it is true.
    • Clov acknowledges that suffering is not the reason he doesn't love Hamm. Hamm is shocked and asks if he hasn't made Clov suffer too much; Clov exclaims, "Yes!" (1.49)
    • Hamm is relieved, and he says that Clov had him in a fright. He then pauses, and says coldly that Clov should forgive him. He repeats louder that Clov should forgive him (it's an order, not a request).
    • Clov says that he heard Hamm the first time, and then pauses before asking if Hamm has bled. Hamm says that he has bled less, and then stops in turn before asking if it is time for his painkiller. Clov says that it is not.
    • Hamm asks how Clov's eyes are doing, and Clov says badly. Hamm asks how Clov's legs are doing, and he says bad. Hamm asks if Clov can move, and Clov says yes. With violence, Hamm tells Clov to move. Clov goes to the back wall and leans against it with his forehead and his hands. Hamm asks where Clov is.
    • Clov says, "Here" (1.61). Hamm tells him to come back, so Clov returns to his place beside the chair. Hamm asks where he is, and Clov says, "Here." Hamm asks why he doesn't kill him. Clov says that he doesn't know the combination of the cupboard.
    • Hamm instructs Clov to go and get two bicycle wheels. Clov says that there aren't any more bicycle wheels. Hamm asks what he has done with his bicycle, and Clov replies that he never had a bicycle. Hamm asserts that this is impossible.
    • Clov tells him that, when there were bicycles, he would have wept to have one. At the time, he clawed at Hamm's feet, and Hamm told him to go to hell, and now, there are no bicycles.
    • Hamm asks about his rounds, when Clov used to inspect Hamm's paupers (as if Hamm were a king, and Clov used to go around and inspect his subjects). Hamm asks if he always did this on foot, and Clov says that he would sometimes do it on horseback.
    • A bin lid opens, and Nagg's hands appear. He grips the rim of the bin. His head emerges, clad in a nightcap. His face is very white. Nagg yawns, and listens to the conversation between Clov and Hamm.
    • Clov says that he will leave Hamm because he has things to do. Hamm asks if the "things to do" are in Clov's kitchen. Clov says that they are.
    • Hamm says that outside of where they are, it is death. He then pauses and tells Clov to be off. Clov exits, and Hamm acknowledges that they are getting on.
    • Nagg calls out "Me pap!" (1.77) (Pap, by the way, is a softened food used for invalids, like bread soaked in milk. Yum!) Hamm retorts. "Accursed progenitor!" (1.78). FYI: A progenitor is one who prolongs the species, usually considered a good thing, but definitely not here. Nagg again calls for his pap.
    • Hamm says that the old folks are at home, and they have no decency left. All they think of is guzzling things down. Hamm whistles for Clov, who enters and stands beside his chair. Hamm says that he thought Clov was leaving him.
    • Clov replies that he has not left Hamm just yet. Nagg calls once more for his pap, and Hamm tells Clov to give his pap to Nagg. Clov informs Hamm that there is no more pap.
    • Hamm asks Nagg if he heard. He rubs the lack of pap in Nagg's face, telling him that it's all gone, and that Nagg will never have his pap again. Nagg yells yet again that he wants his pap.
    • Hamm tells Clov to give Nagg a biscuit. Clov exits, and Hamm yells "accursed fornicator" at Nagg (1.87). He then asks how Nagg's stumps are doing. Nagg tells Hamm not to mind his stumps.
    • Clov enters with a biscuit, and says as much. He gives the biscuit to Nagg, who fingers it and sniffs it. Nagg asks what it is.
    • Clov tells him that it is "Spratt's medium" (a type of dog biscuit, Google tells us). Nagg complains that it is hard and he can't eat it. Hamm shouts for Clov to bottle him, and Clov pushes Nagg back in his bin and closes the lid.
    • Clov returns to his place beside Hamm's chair and exclaims, "If age but knew!" (1.94). Hamm tells Clov to sit on Nagg, and Clov notes that he can't sit. Hamm acknowledges that this is true, and notes that he himself cannot stand. Clov responds that this is how things are.
    • Hamm proclaims that every man has his specialty, and then pauses before asking if there were any phone calls. There is a pause, and Hamm asks why they don't laugh.
    • Clov reflects and says that he doesn't feel like it. Hamm considers and remarks that he doesn't either. Hamm calls for Clov, who answers him.
    • Hamm says that nature has forgotten them. Clov responds that there is no more nature, and Hamm says that he exaggerates. Clov says that there is no more nature "In the vicinity" (1.105). Hamm says that they still breathe and change. They lose their hair and their teeth. They lose their bloom and their ideals. Clov acknowledges that she (Nature) hasn't forgotten them. Hamm retorts that Clov had said there was no more Nature.
    • Clov says sadly "No one that ever lived ever thought so crooked as we" (1.110). Hamm says that they do what they can, and Clov says that they shouldn't.
    • Hamm asks if Clov is at least a bit of all right. Clov acknowledges that he is – "a smithereens" (1.114). There is a pause. Hamm says that this is slow work, and then pauses and asks if it is time for his painkiller.
    • Clov says that it is not, and then pauses. He says that he will leave Hamm because he has things to do. Hamm asks once more if the things to do are in Clov's kitchen, and Clov says, also again, that they are. Hamm says he would like to know what Clov has to do. Clov says that he looks at the wall. Hamm asks what he sees on the wall. He asks if he sees mene (a disk-shaped moonfish) or if he sees naked bodies. Clov says that he sees his light dying.
    • Hamm exclaims, "Your light dying!" (1.123). He says that Clov's light can die, just as well. Hamm tells Clov to come take a look at Hamm and then come back and tell him what Clov thinks of his own light. Hamm pauses.
    • Clov says that Hamm shouldn't speak to him like that. Hamm says coldly that Clov should forgive him, and then repeats himself.
    • Clov says that he heard him the first time. Again, the lid of Nagg's bin lifts. He appears with a biscuit in his mouth and listens.
    • Hamm asks Clov if his seeds came up, and he says that they did not. He asks if Clov scratched around them to see if they sprouted, and Clov repeats that they have not sprouted. Hamm wonders if it is still too early, but Clov insists that if they were going to sprout, then they would have sprouted already. He violently exclaims: "They'll never sprout!" (1.133).
    • There is a pause, and Nagg takes the biscuit from his mouth into his hand.
    • Hamm comments that they are not having much fun (understatement, what with the apocalypse and all). There is a pause, and he acknowledges that that is how it always is at the end of the day, and looks to Clov for confirmation. Clov agrees that is how it always is. So Hamm goes on to ask if the end of this day is just like any other day, and Clov agrees. There is a pause.
    • In anguish, Hamm asks what is happening. He asks again.
    • Clov responds that something is taking its course. Hamm tells him to be off, and then leans back in his chair and remains motionless. Clov does not move, but heaves a sigh. Hamm sits up, and says that he thought he told Hamm to be off.
    • Clov says that he is trying. He goes to the door and halts. He says that he has been trying (to be off) ever since he was born. He exits.
    • Hamm says that they are getting on. Hamm leans back and sits motionless. Nagg knocks on the lid of the other bin. After a pause and another knock, the lid lifts and Nell's hands appear, gripping the rim. Her head emerges, wearing a lace cap, her face very white.
  • Lines 142 – 235

    • Nell asks, "What is it, my pet? Time for love?" (1.142). Nagg asks if she was asleep. Nell exclaims that she was not, and Nagg tells her to kiss him. She says that they can't, and Nagg asks her to try. They strain their heads toward each other, fail to meet, and then fall apart again.
    • Nell asks why they must maintain this farce, day after day. Nagg says that he has lost a tooth. Nell asks when he lost it, and Nagg says that he lost it yesterday. Nell thinks longingly of yesterday, and they turn painfully and look at each other.
    • Nagg asks if Nell can see him, and she says hardly. She asks if Nagg can see her, and he says What? She asks again, and he says hardly. Nell says it's probably for the better, and Nagg tells her not to say that. After a pause, he observes that their sight has failed.
    • Nell acknowledges that it has, and there is a pause as they turn away from each other. Nagg asks if Nell can hear him, and she says yes, and then asks if he can hear her. He says that he can, and after a pause observes that their hearing hasn't failed. Nell asks "Our what?" (1.164). Nagg repeats himself.
    • Nell acknowledges that their hearing has not failed. After a pause, she asks if Nagg has anything else to say to her. He starts to ask if she remembers, but she says that she does not. He refers to a time that they fell off their tandem (probably a type of bicycle, in which two riders sit one behind the other as they peddle) and lost their shanks (legs from the knees down, explaining why they have 'stumps' and are sitting in those trash bins). They both laugh (oh, the hilarity of amputation).
    • Nell remembers that it was in the Ardennes, and they laugh a bit less heartily. Nagg remembers that it was on the road to Sedan, and they laugh even less heartily. He asks if Nell is cold.
    • Nell says that she is perished, and asks about Nagg. He pauses and says he's freezing. He then asks if she wants to go in, and she says yes. Nagg tells her to go in, but she does not move. He asks why she doesn't go in, and she says that she does not know. There is a pause.
    • Nagg asks if he (Clov) has changed her sawdust? Nell says that it isn't sawdust, and asks Nagg why he cannot be more accurate.
    • He says it is sand, and it is not important. Nell says that it is important, and there is a pause. Nagg says that it was sawdust once, and Nell thinks longingly of once. Nagg says, again, that now it is sand from the shore, and after a pause he repeats himself impatiently.
    • Nagg asks if Clov has changed her sand, and Nell says no. Nagg says that Clov hasn't changed his either. After a pause, he says that he won't have it.
    • He offers Nell part of the biscuit, but she doesn't want it. She then asks what he was offering her, and he tells her. He says that he kept half of the biscuit for her. He then says proudly that it was actually three quarters, and proffers it to her. When she makes no sign, he assumes she does not want it, and asks if she feels well.
    • Hamm, wearily, tells the two of them to be quiet because they are keeping him awake. He tells them to talk softer. After a pause he thinks that "if I could sleep I might make love. I'd go into the wood. My eyes would see… the sky, the earth. I'd run, run, they wouldn't catch me" (1.190). After a pause, he thinks longingly of nature. After another pause, he thinks that there is something dripping in his head. He pauses, and wonders if it is a heart inside of his head.
    • Nagg softly asks Nell if she hears Hamm speaking of a heart in his head. He chuckles quietly. Nell tells Nagg that people mustn't laugh at such things, and asks him why he always laughs at them. He tells her not to be so loud.
    • Nell says, without lowering her voice, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. But–" (1.194). Nagg is shocked and exclaims Oh!
    • Nell continues, "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 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 any more" (1.196). She pauses and asks if Nagg has anything else to say to her. Nagg says that he does not.
    • Nell asks if he is certain, and then says that she will leave him. Nagg asks, again, if she does not want her biscuit. There is a pause, and he says that he will keep it for her. There is another pause, and he says that he thought she was going to leave him. Nell says that she is.
    • Nagg asks if Nell can give him a scratch before she goes. Nell says that she cannot, and then pauses and asks where. He says that it is in the back. Nell says no. There is a pause, and she tells him to rub himself against the rim.
    • Nagg says that it is lower down, in the hollow. Nell asks what hollow, and he repeats himself. There is a pause and Nagg asks again if Nell could not scratch it? There is another pause and he notes that yesterday she scratched him there. Nell thinks longingly of yesterday.
    • Nagg again asks if she could not. He asks if Nell would like him to scratch her, and then asks if she is crying again. Nell says that she was trying.
    • Hamm wonders if it is a little vein (the thing dripping in his head). There is a pause, and Nagg asks Nell what he said. Nell repeats Hamm's words. Nagg asks what it means, and then decides that it means nothing. He asks Nell if he can tell her the story of the tailor. She says no, and then there is a pause before she asks what for. Nagg says it would be to cheer her up.
    • Nell says that the story is not funny, but Nagg says it always made her laugh. He says that the first time he told, it he thought she would die.
    • Nell says that it was on Lake Como (a glacial lake in the Lombardy region of Italy) one April afternoon (the first time he told the story). She asks if Nagg can believe it. Nagg asks, "what?" Nell replies that they once went rowing on Lake Como on an April afternoon. Nagg recalls that they were engaged the day before, and Nell exclaims, "engaged!"
    • Nagg remembers that Nell was in such fits that they capsized; by all rights they should have been drowned.
    • Nell says it was because she felt happy. Nagg is indignant, and says that was not why. He says it was only his story that was the reason, and scoffs at the idea of happiness. He asks if she does not still laugh every time that he tells it.
    • Nell says that the lake was very deep, but that you could see all the way to the bottom because the water was so white and clean.
    • Nagg says that he will tell his funny story once more. He tells it putting on the voices of the different characters. The joke is that an Englishman needs a pair of striped trousers ready for New Year festivities, and so he goes to his tailor, who takes his measurements. The tailor tells the Englishman to come back in four days, but when he does, the tailor tells the Englishman to come back in a week because the tailor has made a mess of the seat. The Englishman agrees that he should wait because a nice seat can be very ticklish. When he comes back again, the tailor tells him to come back in ten days because he has made a hash of the crotch. The Englishman agrees that a snug crotch is always a teaser. When he comes back, the tailor tells him to come back in a fortnight because he has made a balls of the fly. The Englishman agrees that a smart fly is a stiff proposition.
    • Nagg stops and laments the fact that he has never told the story worse – that each time he tells it worse and worse. Nagg dives back into the joke, but cuts it short by saying that the next excuse the tailor gives is that the bluebells are blooming and he bollixes up the buttonholes. The Englishman becomes indignant, and damns him to hell. The Englishman says that God made the entire world in six days, and the tailor can't even make a pair of trousers in three months.
    • The tailor responds, "But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look—at the world—and look—at my TROUSERS!" (1.228).
    • By the end, Nagg is proud, and he looks at Nell, who is impassive. Nagg breaks into a high laugh, then stops and leans his head toward Nell, and then launches into another laugh.
    • Hamm calls for silence, and Nagg cuts short his laugh again.
    • Nell remembers that you could see all the way to the bottom of Lake Como.
    • Hamm is exasperated and asks if they will ever finish, or if anything will ever finish. Nagg disappears into his bin and closes the lid behind him. Nell does not move. Hamm says, "My kingdom for a nightman!" (1.231). He whistles for Clov, who enters, and tells Clov to clear away the muck (his parents) and chuck it into the sea. Clov goes to the bins and halts.
    • Nell again recalls how white it was (in Lake Como). Hamm asks what she is blathering about. Clov stoops and takes Nell's pulse by her wrist. Nell calls "desert!" to Clov, and he lets go of her hand, pushes her back in the bin, and closes the lid. When he returns to his place beside Hamm's chair, Clov says that she has no pulse.
  • Lines 236 – 345

    • Hamm asks what Nell was driveling about. Clov says that she told him to go away into the desert. Hamm says that his mother is a d--n busybody, and then asks if that was all. Clov says no, and Hamm asks what else she said. Clov says that he didn't understand.
    • Hamm asks Clov if he has bottled Nell, and Clov says that he has. Clov confirms that they are both bottled.
    • Hamm tells him to screw down the lids, but Clov goes toward the door. Hamm says there is time enough, and Clov halts. Hamm says that his anger has subsided, and that he would like to pee. Clov says enthusiastically that he will go and get the catheter. He heads toward the door.
    • Hamm says that there is time enough, and Clov halts. Hamm tells Clov to give him the painkiller, but Clov says that it is too soon. He says that it is too soon to take his medicine on top of Hamm's tonic, and so the painkiller wouldn't have any effect.
    • Hamm says that, in the morning, doctors brace you up, and then in the evening, they calm you down. Unless he has it backward. There is a pause and Hamm asks if that old doctor is dead. Clov says that he wasn't old, but Hamm asks again if he is dead, and Clov says naturally. He is indignant that Hamm would ask him that.
    • Hamm asks Clov to take him for a turn. When Clov first pushes the wheelchair forward, Hamm yells at him not to push too fast. Clov pushes the chair again, and Hamm shouts that Clov is pushing him around the world. Hamm tells Clov to hug the walls of the room and then go back to the center. Hamm checks to make sure that he was right in the center of the room before Clov began pushing his wheelchair. Clov confirms this.
    • Hamm says that they need a proper wheelchair with big bicycle wheels, and checks to make sure that Clov is moving along the walls. Clov confirms that he is. Hamm gropes out for the wall, and when he can't find it, he accuses Clov of lying. Hamm asks why he lies. Clov brings him closer to the wall.
    • Hamm yells for him to stop, and Clov does, with the chair along the back wall. Hamm puts his hand against the wall, and says affectionately, "Old wall!" (1.260). He thinks that, beyond the wall is that other hell, and yells for Clov to bring him even closer to it.
    • Clov tells Hamm to take back his hand, and then slams the chair into the wall, shouting, "There!" Hamm puts his ear to the wall.
    • Hamm raps on the wall with his knuckles and asks if Clov can hear the hollow bricks. He strikes it again and says, "All that's hollow!" (1.267). He then orders Clov to take him back to the center of the room.
    • Clov protests that they haven't done the complete round, but Hamm repeats that he wants to go back. Clov pushes him to the center, and Hamm asks if he is in his place. Clov confirms this, but Hamm wants to make sure that he is right in the center of the room. Clov says that he will measure it, but Hamm says that more or less will suffice.
    • Clov moves the chair slightly and says, "There!" Hamm asks if he is more or less in the center. Clov says that he'd say so, but this isn't good enough, and Hamm demands to be right in the center. Clov says that he'll go and get the measuring tape, but Hamm only wants to be roughly in the center. Clov moves the chair slightly a second time and tells Hamm that he is in the center.
    • Hamm says that he feels a little too far to the left, then too far to the right, then too far forward, then too far back, and each time, Clov moves the chair in the corresponding direction. Hamm tells him not to stay behind the chair because it gives him the shivers, and Clov moves back to his position beside the chair.
    • Clov says that, if he could kill Hamm, then he would die happy.
    • Hamm asks what the weather is like, and Clov says that it is like usual. Hamm tells him to look at the earth. Clov says he's looked, but Hamm asks if he has looked with the glass (an Anglicism for "telescope"). Clov says that there is no need of the glass, and Hamm tells him to look at it with the glass. Clov goes to get the glass, but when he gets back, Hamm mocks him for saying that there is no need of the glass.
    • Clov confirms that he is back again, with the glass. He goes to the window on the right side and looks up at it, realizing that he needs the ladder.
    • Hamm asks if Clov is shrunk. Clov ignores Hamm and goes to get the ladder but returns without the telescope. Hamm says that he doesn't like the fact that Clov has shrunk.
    • Clov announces that he is back again, with the steps. He sets down the ladder under the right window, starts to get up, realizes he has forgotten the telescope, tells Hamm so, and starts to go get it.
    • Hamm violently tells him that he has the glass. Clov replies, equally violently, that he does not. He exits to go get it, and Hamm says that this situation is deadly.
    • Clov comes back with the telescope and heads toward the ladder. He says that things are livening up. He gets up on the ladder, raises the telescope, and then lets it fall. He claims that he did this on purpose. He gets down, picks up the telescope, and turns it on the audience. He says, "I see…a multitude…in transports…of joy" (1.298). He lowers the telescope, and asks, "Don't they laugh?"
    • Hamm reflects, and says that he doesn't. Clov considers, and says that he doesn't either. Clov gets up on the ladder, turns the telescope out the window, and moves it in three increments, confirming that there is zero outside each time.
    • Hamm says that nothing stirs, all is – , but Clov cuts him off and begins, Zer –, but Hamm cuts Clov off, yelling at him to wait until he is spoken to. Then Hamm tries to regain his thoughts. It is initially unclear that Hamm is addressing Clov, but this becomes obvious a moment later.
    • Clov asks him if Hamm wants to know it all in a word, and then tells him to wait for a moment. He turns the telescope back out the window, and then puts it down. The word he chooses is "corpsed" (1.304). He asks if Hamm is content.
    • Hamm tells him to look at the sea, but Clov says that it is the same. Hamm repeats his demand that Clov look at it.
    • Clov gets down from the ladder and (in a way that's got to be familiar by now) starts for the left window, goes back to get the ladder, carries it and sets it under the left window, gets up on it, and turns the telescope out the window. He looks for a while, and then startles for a moment. He lowers the telescope, examines it, and turns it back out the window. He says that he's never seen anything like it.
    • Hamm anxiously guesses what it might be, and Clov tells him that the light is sunk. Hamm is disappointed, and says he already knew that, but Clov says that there had been a bit left. Hamm says that this was the base, and Clov confirms it. Hamm asks what there is now, and Clov says it is all gone.
    • Hamm asks if there are any gulls, and Clov is indignant. He asks if there is anything on the horizon, and Clov becomes exasperated, asking what in God's name might be on the horizon.
    • Hamm asks how the waves are, and after examining them, Clov says that they are lead. Hamm asks about the sun, and Clov uses his favorite word: zero.
    • Hamm says that it could be sinking, and tells Clov to look again, but Clov curses the sun. Hamm asks if it is already night, but Clov says that it is not. Hamm asks what it is, and Clov says that it is gray. When Hamm does not seem to hear him, Clov repeats himself twice, three times, progressively louder the first two and then whispering in Hamm's ear the third.
    • With a start, Hamm asks if Clov said gray. Clov alters and says that it is light black from pole to pole. Hamm claims that he exaggerates, and then tells him not to stand behind the chair because it gives him the shivers. Clov goes to the spot beside the chair.
    • Clov asks why they maintain their farce, day after day. Hamm says no one knows, but he guesses that it is routine. He claims that, last night, he could see inside his chest, and there was a big sore.
    • Clov dismisses this vision, and says that Hamm just saw his heart, but Hamm claims that what he saw was living. He then gives an anguished cry for Clov, who responds calmly.
    • Hamm asks what is happening, and Clov replies that something is taking its course. Hamm calls for Clov, who responds impatiently.
    • Hamm asks, "We're not beginning to…to…mean something?" (1.343) Clov laughs, and says that it is absurd.
    • Hamm wonders, if a rational being came back to earth, whether he would get ideas in his head after he observed them long enough. He impersonates the being, claiming that now he understands what they are doing.
    • With a start, Clov drops the telescope and scratches his belly with both hands. Hamm continues. He says that, at certain moments, even they themselves think that it might not all have been for nothing.
  • Lines 346 – 512

    • Clov is now scratching himself in anguish, and shouts that he has a flea.
    • Hamm is astonished that there are still fleas, but Clov confirms that there is at least one, on him. As he scratches, he wonders if it is a crablouse.
    • Hamm is very disturbed, and fears that humanity might start up all over again from that flea. He tells Clov to catch it, for the love of God.
    • Clov says that he will go and get a powder, and exits. Hamm laments the fact that there is a flea.
    • Clov returns with a tin, and announces that he is back with the insecticide. Hamm cries out, "Let him have it!" (1.353) Clov undoes his trousers, pulls them forward and shakes the powder into them. He stops for a second and waits before frenziedly pouring more powder into them. He then stops and waits again.
    • Clov cries out, "the bastard!" Hamm asks if Clov got him. Clov says that it looks like it, unless he's laying doggo (or playing possum). He drops the tin and adjusts his trousers.
    • Hamm corrects him: it's not laying it's lying. Clov asks if this is true, and Hamm tells him to use his head because "If he was laying we'd be bitched" (1.359). Clov now understands.
    • He asks if Hamm would like a pee, and Hamm says that he's already having it. Clov cheers him on and says that's the spirit.
    • Hamm ardently offers that the two of them should go south and make a raft, so that the currents can take them away to other mammals. Clov thinks that would be awful.
    • Hamm claims that he will embark alone, but tells Clov to get working on the raft immediately. Tomorrow, Hamm declares, he will be gone forever. Clov heads for the door and says that he will start right away.
    • Hamm calls for him to wait, and Clov halts. Hamm asks if there will be sharks, and Clov says he doesn't know. He starts out again, but Hamm calls and so Clov halts. Hamm asks if it is time for his painkiller, but Clov violently calls out, "No!" He again starts for the door, but is stopped by Hamm.
    • Hamm asks how Clov's eyes are, and Clov says that they are bad. Hamm asks if he can see, and Clov says Hamm can if he wants to. Hamm asks about his legs, which are also bad. Hamm asks if Clov can walk, and Clov says this is confirmed by the fact that he can come and go.
    • Hamm reminds Clov that he does all of this in Hamm's house. He tells Clov that he will be blind one day, like Hamm is, and then Clov will be a speck in the dark forever. Hamm says that, one day, Clov will sit down and think to get up and get something to eat, only to find that he is unable to do so. Hamm says that Clov will close his eyes to go to sleep, and when Clov opens them, there won't be anything there anymore. Hamm says that he will be surrounded by infinite emptiness, and Clov will be just like a little bit of grit. He says then Clov will know it is like to be like Hamm, but he won't have any company because he has never taken pity on anyone and will no longer have chance to.
    • Clov retorts that this is not certain, and tells Hamm that he has forgotten that Clov can't sit down.
    • Hamm is impatient with this, and says that maybe Clov will lie down or come to a standstill – it doesn't matter.
    • Clov asks if Hamm wants him to leave, and Hamm says, "naturally." Clov says that he will leave, but Hamm says Clov can't go; Clov agrees that he won't leave then. .
    • Hamm asks why Clov doesn't finish them. He promises to tell Clov the combination to the cupboard if Clov swears to kill him. Clov says that he couldn't, and Hamm confirms that then he won't.
    • Clov says that he will leave Hamm because he has things to do.
    • Hamm asks if Clov remembers when he came to this place, but Clov says that he was too small. Hamm asks if Clov remembers his father, but Clov says that it is the same answer. He then goes on to remind Hamm that he has asked Clov these questions millions of times.
    • Hamm says that he loves the old questions: "Ah the old questions, the old answers, there's nothing like them!" (1.397).. Hamm then claims that he was a father to Clov. Clov confirms this, and looks fixedly at Hamm.
    • Hamm goes on to point out that his house was a home to Clov, and Clov again confirms this. Hamm then says proudly that Clov had no father and no home. Clov says that he will leave him.
    • Hamm asks if Clov ever thought of doing one thing, and Clov says never. Hamm says that they are down in a hole, but that beyond the hills, perhaps things are still green. He invokes famous cities, and suggests that maybe Clov wouldn't need to go far. Clov says he can't go far, and then reasserts that he will leave Hamm.
    • Hamm asks if his dog is ready, and Clov says that the dog lacks a leg. Hamm asks if the dog is silky, and Clov says that he is a kind of Pomeranian. Hamm tells Clov to go and get him, but Clov again announces that the dog lacks a leg.
    • Hamm shouts for Clov to go and get the dog. Clov exits, and Hamm says that they are getting on. Clov returns, holding a black toy dog by one of its three legs. Clov announces that Hamm's dog is there, and gives it to Hamm, who fondles it.
    • Hamm asks for confirmation that the dog is white, and Clov says, "nearly." Hamm isn't satisfied by this inexactness, and wants to know if the dog is actually white or not, so Clov acknowledges that he isn't.
    • Hamm tells Clov that he has forgotten the sex, and Clov, frustrated, says that the dog isn't finished. He says that he will put the sex on at the end. Hamm goes on that Clov hasn't put on his ribbon, and Clov again announces that he is not finished, and the ribbon doesn't go on until after the dog is finished.
    • Hamm asks if the dog can stand, and Clov says he doesn't know. Hamm tells him to try, and hands Clov the dog. Clov puts it on the ground, and Hamm asks for it, but Clov tells him to wait. He tries to get the dog to stand on its three legs, but it keeps falling.
    • Hamm asks impatiently if the dog can stand, and Clov says that yes, he's standing. Hamm gropes for it and asks where it is. Clov holds the dog up in the standing position, and tells Hamm where it is. He guides Hamm's hand to the dog's head..
    • Hamm asks if the dog is gazing at him, and Clov says that it is. Hamm wants to know if the dog is gazing as if he wanted to go for a walk, and Clov tells him that that can be the case if Hamm likes. Hamm wants to know if the dog looks like it is begging for a bone, and then tells Clov to leave the dog like that, "standing there imploring me!" (1.435). Clov straightens up, and the dog falls on its side.
    • Clov says that he will leave him.
    • Hamm asks if Clov has had any visions, and Clov says, "less." Hamm asks if Mother Pegg's light is on, and Clov indignantly wonders how anyone's light could be on. Hamm says it is extinguished, and Clov confirms that, naturally, this must be the case.
    • Hamm corrects him – he meant Mother Pegg, not just the light. Clov again goes on that, naturally. she is extinguished. He wonders what is the matter with Hamm today, and Hamm says that he is taking his course. He asks if Mother Pegg is buried, but Clov wonders who would have buried her. Hamm says that he would have.
    • Clov says that he has enough to do without burying people. Hamm points out that Clov will bury him, and Clov says that he won't.
    • Hamm recalls that Mother Pegg was a bonnie one, and a great one for men. Clov says that they were both bonny once, and that it is rare for anyone not to have been—once.
    • Hamm tells him to go and get the gaff (a round pole made of wood or metal that supports the sail of a boat). Clov goes to the door and then halts.
    • Clov wonders why he never refuses, and Hamm tells him it is because Clov is unable to. Clov says that soon, he won't do it any more, and Hamm confirms this by saying that Clov won't be able to. Clov exits.
    • Hamm laments the fact that everything has to be explained to "the creatures" (1.457). Clov returns with the gaff.
    • Clov gives Hamm the gaff, and Hamm tries to move his chair with it – using it like an oar. Hamm asks if he moved, and when Clov says Hamm didn't, he throws down the gaff.
    • Hamm tells him to go and get the oilcan. Clov asks what for, and Hamm tells him it is to oil the castors (the pivoting rollers to which the wheels of Hamm's wheelchair attach. Clov says that he oiled them yesterday. Hamm asks what yesterday means.
    • Clov says, "That means the bloody awful day, long ago, before this bloody awful day. I use the words you taught me. If they don't mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent" (1.466).
    • Hamm says that he once knew a madman who thought the end of the world had come. The madman was a painter and engraver and Hamm was very fond of him. Hamm used to go to the asylum to try to get the madman to look out the window on the corn and the sails of the fleet, but all the man saw was ashes. Hamm thinks that the madman alone was spared – forgotten – and then wonders if his case was not so unusual.
    • Clov asks when that was, and Hamm says it was way back before Clov was born. Clov praises the days, and Hamm raises his toque in salute.
    • Hamm remembers his fondness for the painter and engraver as he puts his toque on again.
    • Clov says that there are many terrible things, but Hamm thinks that there are not so many now. He calls for Clov, who answers him.
    • Hamm asks if this has gone on long enough, and Clov enthusiastically says yes, before asking what he is referring to. Hamm says that he is referring to this thing, and Clov says that he has always thought so. He asks if it was the same for Hamm, and Hamm gloomily says that the day is like any other day.
    • Clov says that as long as life lasts, one encounters the same inanities, the same trivial things.
    • Hamm says that he can't leave, and Clov says he knows this and that Hamm can't follow him. Hamm asks how he will know if Clov leaves him. Clov quickly responds that if Hamm whistles for him and Clov doesn't come then it means that he has left.
    • Hamm asks if Clov will come and kiss him goodbye, and Clov says that he certainly doesn't think so.
    • Hamm worries that Clov might just be dead in the kitchen, and Clov points out that the result would be the same. Hamm wants to know how he should distinguish between Clov being gone and Clov being dead in his kitchen. Clov points out that, sooner or later he would start to stink.
    • Hamm complains that he already stinks, that the whole place stinks of corpses. Clov says that the whole universe stinks, and Hamm says to hell with the universe.
    • Hamm commands Clov to think of something that will tip him off if Clov leaves. Clov then begins pacing and looking seriously at the ground. Clov cries out that the pain in his legs is so unbelievable that soon he won't be able to think anymore.
    • Hamm says that Clov will not be able to leave him. Clov resumes pacing, and Hamm asks what he is doing.
    • Clov says that he is having an idea. He then halts and says Ah! Hamm marvels at what a brain he has. He asks what the idea was.
    • Clov tells him to wait, and meditates on it, becoming more and more convinced of this idea's merit. He then says that he has it: he will set the alarm (to indicate when he actually leaves Hamm).
    • Hamm admits that this is not one of his bright days, and he needs help. Clov explains that if Hamm whistles him and he doesn't come and the alarm doesn't ring, then he is dead. If the bell does ring, then Clov has left him.
    • Hamm asks if the alarm is working. Clov asks why it wouldn't be, and Hamm says that it wouldn't because it has been worked too much. Clov points out that it has hardly worked at all. Hamm goes on angrily that it might not work because it has worked too little.
    • Clov says that he will go and see, and he exits. The alarm rings, and Clov enters, carrying it. He holds it against Hamm's ear and releases it, letting it ring to the end. He pauses and says that it was fit to wake the dead. He asks if Hamm heard it, and Hamm agrees vaguely.
    • Clov cries that the end of the bell ringing was terrific, but Hamm says that he preferred the middle. He asks if it is time for a painkiller, but Clov (as always) refuses him. He goes to the door and says that he will leave Hamm.
  • Lines 513 – 689

    • Hamm says that it is time for his story. He asks if Clov wants to listen to it, and Clov says that he does not. Hamm tells Clov to ask Nagg if he wants to listen to the story. Clov goes and checks the bin, but finds that Nagg is asleep. Hamm tells him to wake Nagg. Clov wakes Nagg with the alarm. Something unintelligible comes out of the bin, and Clov tells Hamm that Nagg doesn't want to listen to his story.
    • Hamm promises Nagg a bon-bon. Clov stoops and consults. He reports that Nagg wants a sugarplum, and Hamm says that he will give it to him. Clov announces that it is a deal. Clov goes to the door and halts in the frame. Nagg's hands appear, and then his head emerges.
    • Clov asks if Hamm believes in the life to come, and Hamm says that his life was always that. Clov exits. Hamm is proud, and thinks that he zinged Clov that time.
    • Nagg announces that he is listening. Hamm calls him a scoundrel and asks why Nagg fathered him. Nagg says that he didn't know. Hamm asks what he didn't know. Nagg says that he didn't know that the result would be Hamm. He asks if he can get a sugarplum, and Hamm says that he can have it after the audition.
    • Nagg asks if he swears. Hamm says that he does, but Nagg wants to know what he swears on. Hamm says that he swears on his honor, and after a pause, they both laugh heartily.
    • Nagg tries to bargain for two, so as to give one to Nell, but Hamm insists that there will only be one and yells at him to be silent.
    • Hamm wonders where he was, and begins by saying that things are finished, or at least nearly finished. He says that there will be no more speech, and again ponders what it is that is dripping in his head. He thinks that maybe it is a vein or an artery. Then he decides to turn to story time.
    • He begins by talking about a man who was very pale and thin, crawling toward Hamm on his belly. Then Hamm realizes that he has already done that part.
    • Hamm now begins again by talking about how he lit his pipe and drew a few puffs and asked the man what he wanted. He begins yet once more by saying that it was a very cold and bitter day, but it was around Christmas so that was not so unusual. He claims the temperature was measured by the thermometer.
    • Hamm narrates: he asks the man what ill will blew him Hamm's way, and when the man raises his face, it was black with mingled dirt and tears. He tells the man not to look at him, and the man drops his head and mumbles, which Hamm presumes was an apology.
    • Hamm says that he is a busy man and he must make the final touches before the festivities, which the man should know about. He then forcefully asks the man why he has invaded his privacy.
    • Hamm starts out again by saying that it was a bright and glorious day, fifty by the heliometer, but the sun was already sinking down among the dead. He admires his phrasing.
    • Hamm recalls telling the man to present his petition so that Hamm can resume his labors. The man begins his story (in Hamm's narrated voice) by saying that he has a little boy from a certain hole a good half-day away. The man tells him that the place is not inhabited – that it is just him and the child. Hamm inquires about the situation at Kov, beyond the gulf, and the man tells him that not a sinner lives. Hamm says that the man can't expect him to believe that he left his child alone there while he came to petition Hamm.
    • Hamm commences still another time by saying that it was a howling day, a hundred by the anenometer. He says that the wind tore up the bare pines and swept them away, but decides that the phrasing is a bit feeble.
    • Hamm again recalls telling the man to speak up and tell Hamm what he wants. The man asks for bread for his child, and then he asks for corn. Hamm admits to the man that he does have corn in his granaries, but Hamm wants the petitioner to think about what happens after he goes back to the boy with the corn and makes him a pot and a half of porridge. He wonders what happens after the color comes back into the boy's cheeks, and then admits that he has lost patience.
    • He tells the man, "Use your head, can't you, use your head, you're on earth, there's no cure for that!" (1.537).
    • Hamm tries again by saying that it was a very dry day, zero by the hygrometer. He angrily asks the man what he imagines – if the earth will return in the spring and they will all be saved.
    • Hamm recalls cooling down and getting the man to tell him that the man traveled for three days to get there, and he has left his child deep in sleep.
    • Hamm cuts to the chase and says that he took the man into his service because he imagined that he was on his deathbed. He tells the man that, if he was careful, he could die a natural death, in peace and comfort. But the man asked him to take in the child as well—if he were still alive.
    • Hamm recalls that the man was down on his hands and knees glaring at him with mad defiant eyes. Hamm gets distracted and says that he will soon be finished with his story unless he brings in other characters. He wonders where he would find other characters, where he would look. He whistles and Clov enters and Hamm asks that they all pray to God.
    • Nagg calls for his sugarplum, and Clov shouts that there is a rat in the kitchen. Hamm is astonished, and asks if there are still rats. Clov says that there's one in the kitchen.
    • Hamm asks if Clov hasn't exterminated him. He says half, but he was disturbed by Hamm's whistle. Hamm asks if the rat can't get away, and Clov says no. Hamm says that Clov can finish him later, and again asks that they all pray to God.
    • Nagg calls for his sugarplum. Hamm says that God comes first. Hamm asks if Clov is right, and Clov unenthusiastically says, "off they go." Hamm asks Nagg, who clasps his hands, closes his eyes, and beings to gabble the Our Father, a Catholic prayer.
    • Hamm calls for silence and asks where their manners are. He says that now they begin. They all are silent and prayerful, but then abandon the attitude and become discouraged. Hamm asks Well?
    • Clov mocks the lack of hope and asks about Hamm's prayer. Hamm curses, and asks Nagg. Nagg says wait (he is still praying), but then abandons his attitude and says "Nothing doing!" (1.556)
    • Hamm cries out, "The bastard! He doesn't exist!" (1.557) Clov says not yet, and Nagg calls for his sugarplum. Hamm tells Nagg that there are no more sugarplums.
    • Nagg says that it is only natural that he is Hamm's father. He admits that if it hadn't been Nagg, it would have been someone else; nonetheless, he says that's no excuse. He speaks of Turkish Delight (a gooey, marshmallow-like candy covered with powdered sugar), which no longer exists. He thinks that one day he will ask Hamm for it, and Hamm will promise it to him. He says that one must live with the times.
    • After a pause, Nagg asks Hamm whom he called out to when he was a tiny boy frightened in the dark. He asks if Hamm called his mother, but then says that Hamm called Nagg. Nagg acknowledges that they let Hamm cry, and then they moved him out of earshot so they could sleep in peace.
    • After a pause, Nagg notes that he was asleep, happy as a king, and then Hamm woke him up to have him listen to him even though he didn't really have to. After another pause, Nagg hopes that the day will come when Hamm really does need Nagg to listen to him, when he needs to hear his voice – any voice.
    • Nagg hopes that he will survive until that day comes when Hamm will call for Nagg as Hamm did when he was a tiny boy frightened in the dark and Nagg was his only hope.
    • Nagg knocks two separate times on Nell's bin and calls for her, but when she doesn't emerge, he sinks back into his bin and closes the lid behind him. There is a pause.
    • Hamm says that their revels now are ended, and gropes for the dog, only to find that it is no longer there.
    • Clov tells Hamm that it isn't a real dog, and it can't go anywhere. Hamm continues to grope, insisting that the dog is not there. Clov says that the dog has lain down, and Hamm asks Clov to give him the dog. Clov picks up the dog and gives it to Hamm, who hold it in his arms and then throws it away. He calls the dog a dirty brute.
    • Clov begins to pick up things on the ground, and Hamm asks what he is doing.
    • Clov says that he is putting things in order, and then says fervently that he will clear everything away. Hamm scoffs at order.
    • Clov 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" (1.569).
    • Hamm asks Clov what in God's name he thinks he is doing. Clov repeats that he is doing his best to create a little order.
    • Hamm tells him to drop it, and Clov immediately drops everything that he has picked up. He supposes that the things might as well be there on the floor as elsewhere, and heads for the door.
    • Hamm asks what is wrong with his feet.
    • Clov wonders what Hamm is talking about, and Hamm calls him a tramp. Clov says that he must have put on his boots. Hamm asks if his slippers were hurting him. Clov says that he will leave Hamm.
    • Hamm cries that Clov should not.
    • Clov asks what there is to keep him there, and Hamm replies, "the dialogue." Hamm says that he has got on with his story, and that it is going well, and that he wants Clov to ask how far he has gotten.
    • Clov asks (as though without prompting) about his story. Hamm pretends to be surprised and asks what story he's referring to. Clov says the one that he has been telling himself all his days. Hamm asks if Clov is referring to his chronicle, and Clov says that's the one.
    • There is a pause, and Hamm angrily demands that Clov keep the dialogue going. Clov says that he hopes Hamm has gotten on with it.
    • Hamm modestly says that he has not gotten very far, and thinks that there are days where one is not inspired. He says that, on those days, there is nothing you can do but wait; one can't force it. He says he has gotten on with a little just the same, due to technique. He irritably repeats that he has gotten on with it just the same.
    • Clov acts admiring, and wonders at the fact that Hamm could get on with his story in spite of all his distractions.
    • Hamm again acts modest and says that he has not made it very far but that it is better than nothing.
    • Clov wonders if it is possible for something to be better than nothing. Hamm says that he will tell him how it goes, and begins by saying that "he" was crawling on his belly.
    • Clov asks who, and Hamm asks what, and Clov repeats by clarifying he wants to know who the "he" was who was crawling on his belly.
    • Hamm is indignant, and says that he meant yet another. Clov says "Ah him! I wasn't sure!" (1.599).
    • Hamm continues to tell about how the man whined for bread for his brat, and was offered a job as a gardener. Clov bursts out laughing, and Hamm asks what is so funny.
    • Clov finds the fact that he was offered a job as a gardener very funny. Hamm asks if it was that that tickles him, and Clov says that must be it. Hamm asks if it mightn't be the bread, and Clov wonders if it is the brat.
    • Hamm admits that the whole thing is comical.
    • After reflection, Clov says that he couldn't guffaw again. Hamm says the same. Hamm continues: before accepting Hamm's invitation, the man asks if he could have his little boy with him.
    • Clov butts in and asks what age, the boy is and Hamm says tiny. Clov says that he would have climbed trees, and Hamm says he could have done all the little odd jobs. Clov says that then he would have grown up, and Hamm concedes that this is likely.
    • Clov tells him to keep going, but Hamm says that is all. He stops there. Clov asks if he sees how it goes on, and Hamm says more or less. Clov asks if it will soon be the end (this is Clov's story, if you haven't caught it). Hamm says he is afraid that it will.
    • Clov laughs and says that Hamm will make up another.
    • Hamm says that he doesn't know. He feels rather drained after the prolonged creative effort. Hamm thinks that if he could drag himself to the sea, then he would make a pillow of sand for his head and then the tide would come.
    • Clov points out there is no more tide.
    • Hamm orders Clov to go and see if Nell is dead. He does, and says it looks like it. Hamm raises his toque in salute, and puts it back on again.
    • Hamm asks about Nagg. His hand is on his toque, ready for salute. Clov checks, and says it doesn't look like it. Hamm takes his hand off his toque.
    • Hamm asks what Nagg is doing, and Clov says that he is crying.
    • Hamm says that then he is living. Hamm asks if Clov ever had an instant of happiness, and Clov says, not to his knowledge.
    • Hamm orders Clov to bring Hamm under the window because he wants to feel the light on his face. Hamm asks Clov if he remembers, in the beginning, when Clov would take Hamm for a spin. Clov used to keep his hands too high on the chair so that he nearly tipped Hamm out. Hamm remembers that it was great fun, but says that then, they got into a routine of it.
    • Clov stops the chair under the right window. Hamm is surprised that they are already there, and asks if it is light. Clov responds that it isn't dark.
    • Hamm angrily insists that he is asking if its light. Clov says yes. Hamm asks if the curtain is closed, and Clov says no. Hamm asks which window it is, and Clov says the earth.
    • Hamm exclaims that he knew it. He is angry that there is no light there, and wants to go to the other window. Clov pushes him there. Hamm tilts back his head and says that that is what he calls light. He says that it feels like a ray of sunshine. He wonders if it's not.
    • Clov says that it is not. Hamm asks for clarification, and Clov repeats that it is not a ray of sunshine.
    • Hamm asks if he is very white. Then, angrily, he asks again if he is very white. Clov says that Hamm is no more so than usual. Hamm demands that he open the window, and Clov asks why.
    • Hamm says that he wants to hear the sea. Clov says that he wouldn't hear it, and Hamm asks if this is true even if Clov opens the window.
    • Clov says no, he would not hear it in any case. Hamm wonders if it is not worthwhile opening the window, and Clov says that it is not.
    • Hamm violently demands that Clov open it. Clov gets up on the ladder and opens the window. Hamm asks if Clov has opened it, and Clov says that he has. Hamm asks if he swears, and Clov says yes.
    • Hamm says that it must be very calm, and then violently repeats the statement as a question: is it very calm? Clov confirms this.
    • Hamm says it must because there are no more navigators. He wonders that Clov is suddenly not making much conversation, and wonder if Clov feels well. Clov says that he is cold.
    • Hamm asks what month they are in, and then tells Clov to close the window, because they are going back. Clov closes it, gets down from the ladder, and pushes the chair back.
    • Again, Hamm yells at him for standing behind the chair because it gives him the shivers. Clov moves beside it.
    • Hamm calls twice for his father. He asks Clov to go check and see if Nagg heard Hamm. Clov does, and says that Nagg did.
    • Hamm asks if Nagg heard him both times. Clov again consults with Nagg, and says that Nagg only heard Hamm once. Hamm asks if it was the first time or the second. Clov again consuls with Nagg, and says he doesn't know.
    • Hamm thinks it must have been the second. Clov says that they will never know and closes the lid.
    • Hamm asks if he is still crying, and Clov says no. Hamm wonders that the dead go so quickly. He asks what Nagg is doing. Clov says that Nagg is sucking his biscuit. Hamm says that life goes on.
    • Clov returns to his place beside Hamm's chair, and Hamm asks for the rug because he is freezing.
    • Clov says that there are no more rugs. Hamm asks Clov to kiss him. Clov says he will not. Hamm asks if he will kiss him on the forehead, and Clov says that he will not kiss him anywhere. Hamm asks for Clov's hand – at least. He asks if Clov will not give him his hand.
    • Clov says that he will not touch him.
    • Hamm asks for the dog, and Clov looks around for it. Hamm then cries out, "no!" Clov clarifies that Hamm does not want the dog, and Hamm says that he does not.
    • Clov says that then he will leave Hamm. Hamm, with his head down, says absently that that is right.
    • Clov stops in the doorway and notes that if he does not kill the rat, it will die.
    • Hamm repeats that that is right. Hamm takes out his handkerchief and holds it before him. He says that they are getting on. He says, "You weep, and weep, for nothing, so as not to laugh, and little by little…you begin to grieve" (1.688). He folds the handkerchief and puts it back in his pocket.
    • Hamm wonders at all those he might have helped and saved, how the place was crawling with them. Hamm repeats that one must use his head on earth because there is no cure for that. He yells that people should get out and love one another: lick one's neighbor as oneself.
    • Hamm, in a calmer mood, says that when it wasn't bread they wanted, it was crumpets. He yells that they should get out of his sight and back to their petting parties. He complains that he does not even have a real dog.
    • Hamm says, "The end is in the beginning and yet you go on" (1.688). He wonders if he could go on with his story, end it, and begin another.
    • Hamm wonders if he can throw himself out on the floor, but when he tries, he cannot. He wonders if he could dig his nails into the cracks of the floor and drag himself forward with his fingers. He pauses.
    • Hamm says that one day it will be the end, and he will be there wondering what brought it on and why it was so long coming. Hamm says that he will be there in the old shelter, alone against the silence and the stillness. He says that he can hold his peace and be quiet and motionless, and then it will all be over. He says that he will have called his father and his son. He will call them multiple times to make sure that they hear.
    • Hamm says that he will say to himself that they will come back. He wonders what will happen then. Hamm thinks that Clov couldn't come back because he has gone too far. He wonders at the kind of fantasies that would arise then. How he would begin to babble like a solitary child who turns himself into several children so they can whisper together in the dark.
    • He recalls the way that moments stack up like grains and all life you wait for it to add up to a life. Hamm wants to get over it.


  • Lines 690 – 799

    • 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.