dynamic; although Hamm takes the position of dictator, his subjects know his vulnerability. In response to his abuse (here, the absence of a promised sugar plum), Nagg curses Hamm: “I hope the day will come when you’ll really need to have me listen to you, and need to hear my voice, any voice” (56). When the oppressed Nagg imagines the most torturous retribution for Hamm’s evils, he envisions him alone, crying out with no one to answer. Without anyone to connect him to the world, Hamm would be adrift in his blindness.
At the end of the play, Hamm’s inability to perceive by means other than verbal communication leaves him incapacitated as Clov is standing by the door. Although he is present until the curtain falls, Clov refuses to acknowledge Hamm’s speech or ever-present whistle. The pathos of the situation comes from Hamm’s uncertainty about, and finally acceptance of, Clov’s departure. He tries to entertain himself with a monologue, as he had suffered the other characters to do so many times before, finally surrendering and hesitatingly whistling for Clov. Whether or not he does so consciously, Hamm is admitting his need for companionship.
In fulfillment of Nagg’s prediction, Hamm calls out,
Father! (Pause. Louder.) Father! (Pause.) Good. (Pause.) We’re coming. (Pause.) And to end up with? (Pause.) Discard. (He throws away the dog. He tears the whistle from his neck.) With my compliments. (He throws he whistle towards the auditorium. Pause. He sniffs. Soft.) Clov! (84).
As Hamm slowly surrenders the hope of perception by another, he pauses after nearly every word, straining to hear some confirmation of Clov’s presence. He disposes of the possessions tying him to others, even the stuffed dog that once acted as an artificial substitute for personal interaction. If it is possible for audiences to pity a tyrant, the sentiment is provoked by the interruption in habit and subsequent loss of perception of the outside world that Hamm is suffering. The audience is further implicated as the whistle is thrown at them, a physical protest of the pain of isolation. Whether Hamm dies or is simply lying there with the handkerchief covering his face, he believes that he is not being perceived by another person. Cut off from this exchange, Hamm surrenders; the hopelessness and futility of the play turns to tragedy.
The difference between the characters’ situations can be explained by the dynamics between the blind and the seeing characters in the plays. Endgame alludes to a shared personal history in which Hamm plays the role of a father figure to his servant, Clov. This is a possible explanation for the nature of their interactions. They have been having the same conversations for years because they have been trapped in the same space under the same conditions for a seemingly interminable amount of time. Although they never admit it, they act as if they have feelings of obligation toward one another, which justifies, at least in part, their inability to abandon their arrangement. Hamm exerts his power over Clov, but at least on an unconscious level there is a certain amount of a mutual bond.
In exploring what it means to be human, with human limitations, Beckett expresses the necessity of such perception through the senses. Most commonly, this interaction occurs through the physical structure of eyes, as characters connect through sight. When this capacity is limited, hearing becomes its surrogate, as characters communicate through speech and listening. In doing so, they attempt to bridge the divide between themselves and others who, by virtue of their shared humanity, are forced to suffer similar psychic pain. This is simultaneously escapist and cathartic, as they attempt to avoid the anguish of self-perception and search for something to make them whole and, in a sense, resolve the separation of the self. In Beckett’s work, this struggle to mend the psyche is the source of tragedy as well as that of the hope, however dim, that inspires his characters to continue to exist despite the cruelties and anxieties of the world.
4.3.1 Endgame and Smooth Space
As mentioned earlier, there are two spaces that can be discussed here. First, one must pay attention to the major difference between striated space and smooth space in Deleuzean trajectory. While the former is the space directed to a point, the latter is the space of line. It is marked by a smooth directional movement where the point is between lines, it is point-oriented, it is a moving limited between two points on one single line. However, the nomadic space finds freedom, it can go everywhere and it can flow through any part.
Striated space is governed by regular pattern, order, and law. Therefore, its “vertical being” (A Thousand Plateaus 43), top to bottom indicates hierarchy. This vertical arrangement represents a limiting force with its centered space of order and discipline. On the other hand, the smooth (nomadic) space seems to be a space marked by ‘free action’. Deleuze goes toward these new regions where the connections are always partial and nonpersonal, the conjunctions nomadic and polyvocal, the disjunctions included, where homosexuality and hetero-sexuality cannot be distinguished any longer: the world of transverse communications, where the finally conquered nonhuman sex mingles with the flowers, a new earth where desire functions according to its molecular elements and flows. Such a voyage does not necessarily imply great movements in extension; it becomes immobile, in a room and on a body without organs—an intensive voyage that undoes all the lands for the benefit of the one it is creating. Besides, Deleuze insists on abolition of ego, so as to enable one to live as a flow and singularity. Unity and identity are useless and he sets forth the concept of becoming and immense of desire. Furthermore, unlike the striated space in which one goes from one definite point to the equally other definite points (which means teleological, linear direction) the nomad space privileges lines over points. This vacillation between the smooth and striated space is of importance in Deleuzean thinking as he asserts that the two exist in mixture, one is always traversed into the other, the smooth doesn’t remain smooth forever, it constantly returns to the striated as the striated reverses to the smooth.
In Endgame Samuel Beckett as setting employs the image of a confined dim room, which is not surprising as his plays are produced in out-of-the way places. Hamm is seated in a wheelchair and covered with a sheet when the curtain opens. Barrenness prevails in the “bare interior” (1). Two ashbins stand on the left stage, which later turn out to be the containers of Hamm’s legless parents. Also, there are two high and tiny windows, facing both earth and sea, curtained. Other objects displayed on the stage either at the opening of the curtain or later on in the play are a picture, whose face is interestingly to the wall, hanging near the door, a toy dog, lacking one of its legs, a telescope, the flea in Clov’s trousers, and an alarm clock. Throughout the play, nothing else appears on the stage confirming the idea of proceeding within certain limits of time and space, and keeping the sphere of necessity or material utility outside. In fact this space is foreshadowing the smooth space that Deleuze mentioned in which there is no order and unity anymore and the space is a chaotic place.
Concerning the setting and location in Endgame, there are some different comments. The commonest one is that it is the representation of a skull located in the middle of a destroyed environment, that is some kind of collapsed and extinct external space created after a world-striking disaster. On the other hand, there is another outstanding explanation of the place in Endgame. In Endgame “Grey light” (1) which illuminates the room remains the same. Its being constant without any change underlines the frozen zero point of time and place. However, Clove reports the increasing loss of light in the world outside of the windows of the room:
Never seen anything like that!
What? A sail? A fin? Smoke?
The light is sunk.
Pah! We all knew that.
There was a bit left. (30).
Apart from the bare interiority of the room on the stage, the space or the scene beyond the windows draws attention by being repetitively mentioned. Hamm sitting motionless in his chair is curious about what is seen out of the window. When he first asks Clov to describe the land, through Clov’s communicating his perception of out, it is understood that outside is also as bare as inside:
CLOV (after reflection):
(He gets up on ladder, turns the telescope on the without.)
(He looks, moving the telescope.)
Nothing stirs. All is—
Wait till you’re spoken to!
All is… all is… all is what?
All is what?
What all is? In a word? Is that what you want to know? Just
(He turns the telescope on the without, looks, lowers the
telescope, turns towards Hamm.)
In fact, there is nothing worth seeing outside other than zero for the last survivors like Clov. This is quite ironic because Hamm can see nothing as he is blind; Clov can see nothing as nothing exists out. There is no difference between the two characters’ visions. And both of them accentuate the smooth space of their environment in which there is no order but just nothingness and chaos.
As Clov says, the space is ‘corpsed’, which embodies the sense of nothingness, and even the sky is a persistent grey. Hamm’s second attempt to investigate the outside comes late in the play. This time Clov reports that there is precisely ‘nothing’:
I warn you. I’m going to look at this filth since it’s an order.