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Power Play in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 2124 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)
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Power Play in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame


In a shelter devoid of sunlight and laughter, the family in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame all struggle to find their niches within their world. Central to the play physically and emotionally, Hamm has the ability to make the others revolve around him. Clov, physically the healthiest in the family, has a power that even Hamm could not define until very late in the play. Nagg and Nell, the elderly parents of Hamm, hold the power of memories. Although some characters may appear weaker than the others at times, Hamm, Clov, Nagg and Nell all hold a source of power, resulting in a weak type of mutualism in the family dynamics.

Hamm is blind and unable to stand. However, sitting in a chair at the centre of the room, he is the axis of power in the family. Hamm repeatedly says, “Outside of here it’s death” (2475) and, according to Clov’s observations, the world outside has indeed been forsaken by nature and is awash in desolation. Therefore, as the owner of the shelter, Hamm has the power to protect Clov, Nagg, and Nell. Hamm makes the house rules...


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...m. Nagg and Nell have the power of words and memories, as well as that of listening skills. They are the perfect audience for Hamm, who feels that dialogue is his main reason for living. Without them, Hamm will have no more reasons to continue living. Precariously balanced, the power play in Beckett’s play is like that of its title: an endgame fraught with dangers and overshadowed with doom.

Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. Endgame. 1958. Norton Anthology of English Literature. 7th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 2000, 2: 2472-2500.

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