Nagg and nell relationship

Isolation in Beckett’s Endgame | Reflections on Modernities:

nagg and nell relationship

"Hamm's parents, Nagg and Nell, having lost their legs many years ago in a bicycle accident, What is the nature of the relationship between Hamm and Clov?. In Nagg's "Character Analysis" we go into this in a bit more detail, but the point is that Nagg and Nell's relationship is the most compassionate one in the play. In the case of Nagg and Nell, we have an elderly couple who have spent a Regarding the relationship between Hamm and Clov, it is one of.

It is to be hoped the time will come, thank God, in some circles it already has, when language is best used where it is most sufficiently abused.

Since we cannot dismiss it all at once, at least we do not want to leave anything undone that may contribute to its disrepute.

nagg and nell relationship

BeckettLetters This rather long quote will be frequently referred back to, as it contains several aspects relevant to Endgame. The first of these to be mentioned is the challenge of reading a play that has drilled a lot of holes into the conventional fabric of the language and style of plays. Language seems to fail the speakers, relationships are dysfunctional, the past is seen through irrelevant nostalgia, the present is presented as a prison of repetition and unsolved agitation.

Whether there is such a thing as future at all is highly uncertain. The question arises whether it is even possible to apply conventional literary analysis to a text that seems to defy the very reason for the existence of any theoretical framework? Though the frustration lies in never knowing exactly whether this arrived at meaning is not a play with the process of sense-making as such. A brief reference to meaning illustrates this point. Hamm and Clov in a metatextual comment use mock horror as a way of ridiculing the process of seeking for meaning: You and I, mean something!

Iser Reading Beckett, one frequently has the uncanny feeling of the text laughing at the reader who engages in gap-filling and connection-seeking, the very process of interpretation being the punch line of the joke that the reader is the brunt of. Identifying these may in some cases be as close as we can get to an interpretation. Nagg and Nell are good examples of this. We are continuously both repulsed and drawn to them by feelings of watching their grotesque distortedness and simultaneously experiencing recognition and empathy.

The phenomenon is as much the strangeness of the characters and their place in the constellation of the dramatis personae, as it is the reaction that watching or reading them creates.

One could go a step further and say that the analysis of Nagg and Nell sooner or later becomes an analysis of the recognition, repulsion and attraction that exists between the dramatis personae on-stage and the audience off-stage. The echoing that takes place on the stage between the characters is mirrored in a perhaps more vague but equally persistent echoing between the stage characters and the audience.

The audience recognizes and despises at the same time and is therefore having an unsettling and essentially uncanny experience, that of alienation diffused with glimpses of the well known. There are many examples of echoes: Sjef Houppermans and Marius Buning describe the intertextuality in Beckett as follows: Between Beckett's text and the textual zones around it the border is essentially transparent: Beckett's language is above all an instrument to dissect all forms of discourse and to examine their inevitable emphasis on man Criticism here is self- reflexive and imitates Beckett's work in various ways.

Beckett's work itself never stops measuring its own identity against other texts, both historical and contemporary. They too seem to seep through the holes drilled into language. Do you remember your father. I love the old questions.

The very phrases used by Adorno seem very fitting: These intertextual and intercultural references are contained in the many examples of echoing in the play. Repetition is thematic in Fin de partie: The old questions and the old answers keep repeating themselves unto death, or at least unto dying. Cohn Like an echo, the references are often faint, random allusions or even involuntary and seem only half understood or misunderstood by the protagonists.

Does Hamm wish for something more knightly or indeed for a man who empties privies? Is he deluded to believe himself on a level with a king or is it a remarkably self-deprecating joke. Official translations are somewhat liberal as they use the poetic form.

The line could be loosely translated as: Man has re-gained, it seems, his central pre- Copernican position in the universe. The unbearable irony lies in the fact that this centre stage position is all there is.

Hamm might be king of the universe, but this has shrunk to the size of a stage and he is no longer the ruler of Nature, as he has destroyed it. Also, the reduction of the human body is linked to the fundamental awareness of the limits of the human.

nagg and nell relationship

Strangely, in this pathetic depiction of man unable to voice the effects of destruction he has brought about himself, there is a potential connection to the reader, a recognition of weakness and fallacy.

AdornoGS 11, p. It is depicted as the state of negative eternity. Perception as such seems unattainable, even though it was once achieved it is beyond meaning and relevance in this world: It certainly underlines the dominance of his character over the others through its laden-ness with meaning. Compared to the other protagonists, Hamm seems the least human. The particular sadism he exudes is one of deliberate slowness When Hamm tells his story11, again, it is unbearable to watch or listen to as it is a deliberate display of power over the people on stage and the audience, we cannot escape his perverted sadistic self-mythologizing.

At first glance, nothing seems further removed from the concept of a gentleman than the characters of Hamm, Clov and Nagg to a point where they may be seen as a set of opposites, as anti- gentlemen. Often these are misunderstood or perverted, digested and spat out, yet not in a way that suggests that the protagonist have received any insight or wisdom from them. Sometimes the concept itself is being made fun of. Obligation as a polite recognition of indebtedness or gratitude on a small scale becomes a fight over who has had most power and inflicted most pain over the other.

Endgame in that way seems to be a play that holds up a mirror to bourgeois society and reveals its ugly unseemly sides kept under the surface and ignored. In the analogy of the chess game, Nagg and Nell- according to Nic van der Toorn- call to mind two pawns, blocked and therefore uselessbut unmovable The chess game is the obvious analogy, given the title. However, it is only one possible way of viewing what goes on on stage and what the close confinement of the stage is a picture of.

The stage could be seen as a frame of mind- even a skull - with Nagg and Nell as two peripheral embodiments of bad conscience, bad memories and dysfunctional relations to the main person at centre stage, Hamm. It would not be a Beckett play if there were a straight translatable set of symbols. It can be argued that what Beckett achieves is a visualization of a grotesque version of life that despite its strangeness leaves a haunting imprint on the audience and similarly, though perhaps less strikingly — for lack of the visual attack- on the reader.

This view of Nagg and Nell may be a personal perception, but it opens up the investigation into the impact of the pair, mentioned above. In the end they are perhaps less that and more of a phenomenon or potentially all of these simultaneously. One of the points of a play is to show rather than to describe and the visual side of the phenomenon is perhaps intended to render language to a certain extent secondary, to let the horror seep through.

Some aspect surrounding this phenomenon can be more easily described than a somewhat trickier depiction of meaning or message. This is certainly one of the key elements of Endgame as well as Godot.

nagg and nell relationship

The end fin of hunger faim signifies the end of the will to live Nell or a possible yet eventually unobserved end of life ex. This sort of intertextuality deserves to be made clear before we indulge in speculations which might appear foolish. This connection may not be noticed on first viewing and reading because Nagg and Nell appear later, but it underlines the echoing effect and claustrophobia of the scene.

Isolation in Beckett’s Endgame

We are reminded of worms under a stone or plants shooting sprouts, already under the earth but not destined to grow. The cruelty that seeps through images like this is the blend of fear of ending like Nagg and Nell: White seems to be the absence of life as it is the absence of colour19, a finite nothingness. A similar reference to the double circle appears at the beginning of the play in the reference to the bicycle-wheels they have run out of CDW There is no explanation of what these wheels are for.

The circle also refers to the circle of life, or rather the end of the cyclical process as everything in this play is permanently coming to an end — with the exception of Nell who actually dies. The end of the cycle of life is underlined by the seeds that do not sprout.

This image of the cycle having been halted and stretched to something unfruitful and linear is visually striking CDW 98, Beckett The stage directions for Nagg and Nell are very clear: The circle of the dustbins and their lids seen from above are mirrored in the story of how the amputation happened: Thus infinity is also thematically present - if barely visible — as a contrast to the end, underlined also by the infinite represented through repetition of e.

Infinity as a theme may also point outside the play: Seen in this light the play deals with the infinite return of topics that are of concern to us: It touches on the question of whether culture as a cyclical phenomenon has come to an end in Endgame.

nagg and nell relationship

Nagg and Nell at the end of their days are discarded like waste, having half-bodies and no mobility. There is something particularly horrid and undignified in this dependency even though the mere existence of two people in bins as such should far surpass this particular display of indignity. The uncanny, by definition is that much more unsettling because it consists of something recognizable together with something unknown.

Seeing the two amputated bodies clutching at some last straws of humanity, like the sharing of a hard biscuit or the futile attempt at sharing a kiss, bring to mind one German word for idiocy: It is the completely alienated image of human existence and human interaction with the recognizable seeping through the holes that makes it so. This is strongly linked to exploring the human condition at its most reduced. The reduction of language and the gradually increasing reduction of the human body over time ending in beings in an urn in Play or human reduced to a moth in Not I are linked: In Endgame neither language nor the body is eliminated, but we are watching the beginning of this process that Beckett continues, ending with near-total absence in play such as Breath.

Thus reduction of the body draws attention to existence, to human interaction, to the self and to human states of mind that we see before us on stage. Compassion insists on our co-suffering to an extent and does not let us off the hook. What is more, by watching Endgame we are facing our own existence as imprisonment and decay. The stumps of Nagg and Nell are echoed in their name-stumps, and also those of Hamm and Clov.

They are reduced even in their name-identity. Nell is the only real name, the others are strange meaning-laden inventions. Though there are other instances in the play, these three instances do well to establish their relationship as stepfather to stepson. The significance of their relationship is not to be taken as simply a literal relationship between stepfather and stepchild, in which there is distance, but of the natural distance between father and son, between man to man.

Beckett's Endgame- The Phenomenology of Nagg and Nell | Lis Marxen -

In what could be the closest of relationship between two men — a relationship between a father and son — there is a great distance. This distance is made more apparent between biological relationships. The relationship between Nagg and Hamm is one of biological father and son, though it is not a very pleasant one.

Nagg recounts to Hamm a horrific childhood experience: Whom did you call when you were a tiny boy, and were frightened in the dark?

nagg and nell relationship

We let you cry. Then we moved you out of earshot, so that we might sleep in peace How does the world generally react to the suffering of another person? People usually move out of earshot or eyesight of those who suffer. It is the notion that we all suffer alone when we suffer. It is not to say that there is never assistance, or that there should not be assistance by others, but that we ultimately suffer alone.

The relationship between a father and son is not enough to alleviate the suffering of one or the other. We suffer alone, and when we pass, sometimes there is indifference. It is this coldness which Hamm has toward the passing of his own mother that is most striking of the relationship found within Endgame. It is conveyed by Clov that his father is crying, to which Hamm merely moves along in his conversation with Clov. When the funeral procession, few pity the dead or the bereaved, but wonder when it will pass so life can continue.

What happens next is that the cycle is broken. No longer is the routine continued as it was. The four characters waking and existing together has been reordered to three. The death of the Nagg is the beginning of something new: Though horrific as it sounds, the death of the Nell, is a reminded of life; the presence of death compels most to live.