Samuel Beckett: Endgame

(942 words)
  • Paul Davies (University of Ulster at Coleraine)

Based on the metaphor of chess, the title and the play's content point towards the process of ending, a process undergone in the knowledge that the predicament is issueless, with the likelihood not of winning or losing, but of stalemate. The main character Hamm “is a king in a chess-game lost from the start. From the start he knows he is making loud senseless moves.” (Beckett in interview, 1967). First performed in Paris and London (in French, directed by Roger Blin) in 1957, Endgame opened a year later in the USA, directed by Alan Schneider; in Berlin directed by Beckett in 1967; and twice in 1980, directed by Beckett, in London (Young Vic) and Chicago (San Quentin Drama Workshop). While one of his most difficult, it has …

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Davies, Paul. "Endgame". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]