Endgame by Samuel Beckett


Hamm  I’ll give you nothing more to eat.

Clov  Then we’ll die.

Hamm  I’ll give you just enough to keep you from dying.You’ll be hungry all the time.

Clov  Then we shan’t die.

The play itself could be summarised just in these few lines. The play doesn’t give anything the reader could feed on yet it gives a continuous flow of words that keeps the reader alive even though it makes you want to kill yourself.

If we dig deep enough we might find some meaning of this play which can make us feel even more miserable. It seems as a picture of life itself: nothing really happens, birth and death are two important points on a line and everything that happens in between is unimportant and we are just waiting for death we so desperately want. It is clear existentialism that lacks any structure and doesn’t deliver its message very well.

We might argue this by simply stating that it falls after all into absurd drama. But if we compare it for example to Ionesco’s Rhinoceros or La Cantatrice Chauve Beckett’s Endgame is simply not on the same level with them. We could say that La Cantatrice Chauve is pure nothingness but its purpose is to show the ridiculousness of language and it manages to do that in a very amusing way. Endgame lacks any of that. It’s nothing about nothing and makes you feel nothing. The strongest existentialism we could maybe find in that is asking why does this exist?

Although it doesn’t work much in text it might work very well on stage. The repetitiveness and actions that could be shown fill the hole of nothingness the play creates. If we take Havel’s Audience which is a political absurd drama we could say that the play text is not very appealing to the reader but seeing the play on stage manages to accomplish its job and Endgame might be the same case.


Beckett, S. (1957) Endgame. London: Curtis Brown Group Ltd

Havel, V. (1975) Audience [Vinyl]. Prague: Bonton

Ionesco, E. (1950) La Cantatrice Chauve. Translated from French by I. Zmatlik, V. Mikes, 2006. Prague: Artur

Morozzo, T. (2016) Endgame [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/feb/08/endgame-review-citizens-glasgow-coronation-street-stars-samuel-beckett (Accessed: 27 March 2017)


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