Codependency In Samuel Beckett's Endgame Essay

1386 words - 6 pages

Codependency in Samuel Beckett's Endgame

"Clov asks, "What is there to keep us here?" Hamm answers, "The dialogue."" In the play Endgame, Samuel Beckett demonstrates dramatically the idea of codependency between the two focal characters who rely on each other to fulfill their own physical and psychological needs. Beckett accomplishes this through Hamm, who assumes the identity of a kingly figure, and his relationship with Clov, who acts as his subject. In Endgame, this idea is established by tone and humor in the dialogue amid Hamm and Clov.

Samuel Beckett was an Irish-born poet, novelist, and foremost dramatist of the theater of the absurd. His surreal writings mixed humor into a world paralyzed and grief stricken with pain and anguish. Beckett's characters grasp for a meaningful existence amongst an unrelenting and disorderly world, finally finding release only within the confines of their own minds.

The play Endgame is the story of a few survivors after some unknown apocalypse on Earth. Hamm, a blind man who lives in a small bare room with two windows, shutoff from the rest of the dead outside world, is accompanied by two legless parents, Nagg and Nell, who live in two dustbins. The remaining character is Clov, who acts as an enslaved son of Ham[HAC1]m, who answers to his beckon call and grants his requests. At the end of the play his parents have apparently died, and he has given up the struggle or reason to live on. It is now that Clov is on the verge of escape to leave his life of submission to Hamm, but to where? For there is nothing but a vast void of emptiness.

Samuel Beckett was born on April 13, 1906, in Foxrock, near Dublin. As a child he was raised in a religiously oriented, Protestant, middle-class family in Northern Ireland. He then entered Trinity College in Dublin, where he earned an A.B. and later an M.A. in Romance languages. Beckett moved to Paris, France, where began his writing career. It was here that he developed and perfected his absurdist style, and began to write novels and plays alike with his bleak outlook on the core of human existence. His literature ultimately sought to expose this concept of a wretched solitary self which was representative of quite literally nothingness. (Encarta) Beckett created four major works including; his trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951), and The Unnamable (1953), novels that he considered his greatest achievements; and the play, Waiting for Godot (1952) which critics acclaim as his masterpiece. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Samuel Beckett's writings were a reflection of his mastery of the written word, and laid the foundations of a long continuance of the absurdist tradition.

In Antony Easthope's article he remarks on Hamm and Clov's relationship in the play and analyzes Beckett's dramatic method. Easthope's explanation of Endgame's plot is focused around one pivotal question: Will Clov leave Hamm? Thus, he asserts...

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