Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

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As one of the most enigmatic of Samuel Beckett's texts, and the last of the three works published under the title

Nohow On


Worstward Ho

(1983) seems to express the desire to come to some form of closure. The final words “Said nohow on.” are an answer to the opening words “On. Say on.” As such, they are an illustration of the important maxim from Beckett's


: “The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.”

Worstward Ho

is the most radical elaboration of this “and yet”. It is an attempt to reach the worst possible condition, which proves to be an asymptotic journey: like the infinitesimal attempt to reach ‘nothing' with words, the worst cannot be attained with words. For as Shakespeare already wrote in

King Lear

: “And worse may I be yet; the worst is not, / So…

1681 words

Citation: Van Hulle, Dirk. "Worstward Ho". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 October 2004 [, accessed 03 March 2024.]

8883 Worstward Ho 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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