“Endgame” a Play by Samuel Beckett Essay

December 22, 2020 by Essay Writer


The extra play that has been chosen for analysis is Endgame by Samuel Beckett that was premiered in the 1950s in England. The play under consideration was chosen for analysis due to several reasons. To begin with, many people believe that modern plays are much more interesting than classical ones in terms of symbols and themes. Personally, I have heard a lot of positive things about this play. Due to that, I was happy to see the Endgame in the list of extra plays.

Speaking about the things that make the chosen play different from the other plays included in the course materials, it is pivotal to note that the play’s themes are unique, and the author actively uses syntactic and lexical expressive means to help the readers to understand the key message. One of the brightest examples of such expressive means is the use of repetition that demonstrates the interconnection between causes and consequences. For instance, at the very beginning of the play, Clov (the key character) repeats that everything is “finished,” and this repetition emphasizes the idea that everything goes in a circle (Beckett, “Endgame”).

The things that I like about the play include its seeming simplicity that, in fact, enables the reader to interpret the ideas in numerous ways. I also like the way that the author uses symbols such as grain and spyglass to introduce the key themes, such as the battle with death and the absurd nature of life. In general, every single object mentioned in the play is an individual symbol, and it encourages the readers to abstract their minds from the literal meanings of words. Providing people with mental pabulum, this pervasive symbolism also reveals differences between people in terms of the way to understand symbols. Therefore, I believe that it is extremely difficult to be objective when discussing it, and it acts as a disadvantage.


The plays that have been studied during the previous weeks are extremely different when it comes to the period of creation, the key themes introduced by the playwrights, and the internal organization. The three plays from the course chosen for the comparison are Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, and Waiting for Godot.

In terms of structure and the way that events are organized, Hamlet by William Shakespeare presents a much more complicated play than Endgame by Samuel Beckett. There are more than twenty characters introduced in the given play, and it includes five acts, each of which presents a separate stage of the protagonist’s inner conflict. Endgame is a one-act play that contains just a few long monologues, and the absence of a clear structure can also be regarded as an expressive mean, making the meaning of the play more difficult to extract and highlighting that “time was never and time is over” (Beckett).

In contrast, Hamlet includes acts and dialogues in which causes and consequences are clearly demonstrated, and the readers are able to retrace the history of Hamlet’s “shapes of grief” (Shakespeare 14). The second play, Death of a Salesman, includes three acts, and there are thirteen characters. Each act is used to introduce the stages of the conflict between Willy, the salesman, and his son Biff. When it comes to another play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, it includes two acts that tell about the events of two different days and presents the relationships of five characters. Thus, the play that is the focus of the paper is the simplest in terms of structure.

When it comes to style, both works by Beckett present examples of absurdist plays in which every element acts as a symbol. Apart from the extensive use of symbols, the play presents numerous pointless monologues. The absurd reaches its peak when Lucky starts his monologue about “the heights of divine apatheia divine Zambia divine aphasia” with no meaning behind pseudoscientific words (Beckett, “Waiting for Godot”).

When it comes to Hamlet, expressionism in this play is manifested in the depth of feelings expressed by the characters. Each character expresses his or her viewpoint, relying on feelings. The appearance of the ghost of Hamlet’s father helps Hamlet to reveal the truth about “the serpent that now wears his crown,” and it is the event that makes everything more supernatural and subjective (Shakespeare 29). In reference to Death of a Salesman, it can be regarded as the illustration of realism.

The playwright does not attempt to exaggerate his characters’ strengths as his goal is to make the audience see themselves in Willy, his son, or other people who witness the development of their conflict. Most of the time, the characters discuss everyday things and common problems such as “losing weight,” and these details help the audience to see the entire picture of Willy’s life that turns out to be pointless (Miller 18).

In reference to themes, Endgame, Waiting for Godot, and Death of a Salesman raises the topic of life and its meaning and encourages people to think about their own value systems and define the impact they have on their lives. Endgame is related to many common themes; just like other plays under analysis, it introduces the topic of loneliness to show that relationships can help to arrive at inner harmony in this unstable and, therefore, unpredictable world. The play is different from other works due to the theme of eternity, introduced by the characters who often say that “the end is the beginning” in different situations (Beckett, “Endgame”). To some extent, the key themes of the play, the endlessness of everything, and the fear of death are mutually exclusive, and it can be Beckett’s formula for success.

Works Cited

Beckett, Samuel. “Endgame.” Samuel Beckett Online Resources. Web.

Beckett, Samuel. “Waiting for Godot.” Samuel Beckett Online Resources. Web.

Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman.” Pelister. Web.

Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” World Wide Web Consortium. Web.

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