Samuel Beckett - Endgame

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The World is Meaningless

Jan 31, 2001 (Updated Jan 31, 2001)
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Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:brilliant, genius ideas

Cons:may be confusing, people like plots

The Bottom Line: This is wildly creative, original, and sarcastic. Its genius. Some may not like it because it defies standard convention of play format.


Endgame written by Samuel Beckett in 1957 is an absurdist play that’s general meaning is that everything is meaningless. Beckett wrote during the period following World War II, and thought the world was crazy because everyone was just waiting around to die due to the nuclear and atomic bomb scares of that time. The world, he thought, was meaningless because little kids were being trained to live in fear and hide under desks to avoid nuclear fall out. He called for change in this mixed up world. He saw it all as meaningless and his play attempts to bring that into the minds of people, and change their typical thinking about things. The play is also a change in that it is a backlash of his predecessor’s play.

According to absurdist views at this time, man had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding, but the world is eternally unknowable. It is unknowable because it has no meaning except the one people give it, which is only their personal opinion, and they never know if their own perceptions are correct. The theater of the absurd was set up to show a realistic portrayal of the world, though that world doesn’t really exist. People just have the meaningless world that they’ve created to live in. Its all over before it begins. This is a radical change in thinking on his part.

The play seems to point at several themes. They are: a grand hatred of life, a desire to die, a total lack of values in life, the statement that there has never been any happiness, and the wish to end the compulsion to speak. “All life long the same questions, the same answers,” says Clov (pg. 1179). The characters all live in a repetitive world where they keep doing the same thing, and getting the same results. Nothing is changing. On page 1198, Hamm asks Clov, “Did you ever have an instant of happiness?” Clov responds, “Not to my knowledge”. The characters in this play live in a constant world of despair.
In Beckett's theatrical work, Hamm, Clov, Nagg and Nell have to invent their own worlds, reconstructing the past and deconstructing themselves while Beckett himself reconstructs and deconstructs theater.


Recommend this product? Yes


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