beg him for a bone. Once he articulates these, language rules and comprises his reality. Approving the power of language, Clov tells “If you like” (41). So, what is possible according to language becomes real. Another instance of ‘language rules’ takes place when Clov gets up on the ladder, raises the telescope, and it falls on the ground. In order to avoid being told off by Hamm, Clov says “I did it on purpose” (29). When he explains the situation telling him that he let it fall deliberately, he manages to manipulate Hamm’s reaction. This again illustrates that language tells what is real for the characters, in this case for Hamm, because he believes his servant’s explanation. Also, the repeated phrase “They said to me” (80) in Clov’s longest articulation reflects that what Clov is talking about from his heart has a potential of being the product of the contingency of language. Consequently, the frame of their language determines their reality, and most of the time the characters just speak to know that they themselves are real.
4.1.2 Endgame and Language 2
Deleuze’s Essays Critical and Clinical deals largely with the oppression and salvation of minorities. Throughout, the staunch materialist aims to expose the means by which art can serve as a liberating experience for the voiceless. Many of the essays argue that literature, a term Deleuze never uses lightly, is a panacea for the ‘missing’ people of colonized cultures. As Deleuze explains in his essay “Literature and Life”:
the writer” and “there are very few who can call themselves writers”, “is not a patient but rather a physician, a physician of himself and of the world. The world is the set of symptoms whose illness merges with man. Literature then appears as an enterprise of health: not that the writer would necessarily be in good health [.] but he possesses an irresistible and delicate health that stems from what he has seen and heard of things too big for him, too strong for him, suffocating things whose passage exhausts him, while nonetheless giving him the becomings that a dominant and substantial health would render impossible (3).
For Deleuze, the achievement of ‘delicately healthy’ writers is their ability to provide not merely a refuge but a voice for victimized peoples, who, because they lack an identity, are in a purgatorial state of not-yet-arriving, not-yet-living: “The ultimate aim of literature is to set free, in the delirium, this creation of a health or this invention of a people, that is, a possibility of life. To write for this people who are missing . . . (‘for’ means less ‘in the place of’ than ‘for the benefit of’)” (4). Deleuze goes on to explain that the location or invention of a missing people, a silenced and therefore invisible colonized culture, requires a careful manipulation of words, grammar, and syntax, a stuttering of language.
In his article “He Stuttered”, Deleuze makes clear the difference between immature writers who merely tell readers that their characters stutter then he uses “he stuttered” to indicate a speech impediment, and extraordinary writers whose artistic language itself stutters: “It is no longer the character who stutters in speech; it is the writer who becomes a stutterer in language. He makes the language as such stutter: an affective and intensive language, and no longer an affectation of the one who speaks” (107). The result of such an affectation is the forging of a foreign or ‘minor use’ of a language that, in the mouths of ruling regimes, silences the voice of a missing colony. As Deleuze stresses throughout his essay, writers must find a way to estrange the majority from itself: “What they do […] is invent a minor use of this major language within which they express themselves entirely; they minorize the language, much as in music, where the minor mode refers to dynamic combinations in perpetual disequilibrium”(109).
In this manner, Endgame also exemplifies Deleuze’s argument, demonstrating how both the speech and, more importantly, the language of Beckett’s art “tremors from head to toe” (109). Clov, to begin with, stumbles his way through many of his lines, flubbing parts of his monologues and dialogues. His opening speech, for example, is a kind of stutter, an initial, albeit subtle, sign that suggests he is clumsy with words. Bungling the precision of Christ’s declaration from the cross, Clov repeats himself, trying to find the right expression: “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished […]” (1). In conversation with Hamm, Clov demonstrates a hesitation to finish his sentences. His words come slowly, divided by the ever-present ellipses:
HAMM: But you can walk.
CLOV: I come . . . and go. (36)
Clov’s stutters are particularly pervasive in the scenes with the telescope, as he and Hamm discuss the activity that transpires outside the shelter. Near the end of the play, for example, Clov attempts to give a report of what he sees only to stutter, his words are broken up by ellipses: .Nothing . . . nothing . . . good . . . good . . . nothing . . . goo.. (78). Clov’s stuttering is stifled by the only language he knows. After every word, a silence. Within every silence, a muted voice. Yet Hamm, the master of the game trumps his longstanding crony with stammering of his own, revealing no more command of speech patterns and language than the hesitating Clov.
Hamm’s opening lines are replete with interruptions of silence, yawns, pauses, and ellipses. The blind invalid begins, vacillates, stammers, bifurcates words and phrases at their centers:
(He holds the handkerchief spread out before him.)
(He takes off his glasses, wipes his eyes, his face, the glasses, puts
them on again, folds the handkerchief and puts it back neatly in the
breast-pocket of his dressing-gown. He clears his throat, joins the
tips of his fingers.)
Can there be misery.
loftier than mine? No doubt. Formerly. But now?
My . . . dog?
Oh I am willing to believe they suffer as much as such creatures can
suffer. But does that mean their sufferings equal mine? No doubt.
No, all is a.
– bsolute […] (2).
The opening passage sets the tone for the entire play, in which a bumbling Hamm has difficulty formulating and finishing many of his sentences. His ensuing lines, for example, further reveal his trouble with articulation: “Enough, it’s time it ended, in the shelter too. (Pause.) And yet I hesitate, I hesitate to . . . to end. Yes, there it is, it’s time it ended and yet I hesitate to-(he yawns)-to end” (3). Hamm in these lines becomes one with the patterns of his speech. As the invalid hesitates to end, so too do his words, fighting vigorously against the coming period. One observes that Hamm’s yawn is a means of “stalling” or staving off the end of his life, but the yawn also stalls language, prevents it from forming smoothly, with molar authority and accuracy.
Hamm’s stammering worsens as he begins his dialogue with Clov. When he inquires whether his companion is tired of their life in the shelter, he fails to find the right words to describe their strange existence. “Have you not had enough? […] Of this . . . this . . . thing” (5), Hamm says with difficulty, revealing that he struggles in vain to give a specific account of his predicament. As the play progresses, Hamm continues to have trouble speaking and begins to give up on finishing many of his sentences. He resorts to mere repetition, beginning, trailing off, picking up again, and finally abandoning the effort. Shortly following what Deleuze believes to be Clov’s failed attempt to express an autonomous perception of the world, Hamm colludes with Clov to ruin language:
HAMM. Nothing stirs. All is.
Wait till you.re spoken to!
All is . . . all is . . . all is what?
All is what?
CLOV. What all is? In a word? Is that what you want to know? (29)
One reads the exchange as evidence of Clov’s subservience to Hamm’s narrative of the world. According to the researcher’s idea, Hamm knows what all is, but encourages Clov to come up with an alternative description of the outside world, demonstrating that Hamm has the upper hand (the upper word) on Clov. Another way to read the passage, however, is to witness how both characters cause language to fragment, to hesitate, to stutter, to wait. Indeed, the passage reveals that both Hamm and Clov tear language apart, forcing each other’s words to break prematurely. Clov cuts Hamm off in mid sentence, and Hamm cuts Clov off in mid word. Clov may defer to Hamm’s demand to “Wait till you’re spoken to!”(67) but Hamm, too, impedes the smooth flow of speech.
Moments later, Hamm stumbles over one of the most famous lines in the play, as he questions the changing value of his and Clov’s life together: “We’re not beginning to . . . to . . . mean something?” (32). Again, Hamm fails to speak without stuttering, faltering temporarily before deciding where his sentence is leading him. He continues to falter through his ensuing speech, in poor control of his language: “And without going so far as that, we ourselves . . . (with emotion) . . . we ourselves . . . at certain moments . . . (Vehemently.) To think perhaps it won’t all have been for nothing!” (33). Like Clov when trying to describe the “multitude . . . in transports . . . of joy,” Hamm struggles to find words and finally gives up.
Some of Hamm’s most stilted speech comes late in the drama. In a moment of poignant reflection, for example, Hamm muses about the future:
HAMM: There I.ll be, in the old shelter, alone against the silence and . . .
. . . the stillness. If I can hold my peace, and sit quiet, it will be all
over with sound, and motion, all over and done with.
I.ll have called my father and I.ll have called my . . .