Study Guide

Endgame Lines 236 – 345

By Samuel Beckett

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.