meaninglessness of the words clearly, the dialogue below can be helpful:
HAMM:
Perhaps it’s a little vein.
(Pause.)
NAGG:
What was that he said?
NELL:
Perhaps it’s a little vein.
NAGG:
What does that mean?
(Pause.)
That means nothing. (20).
The characters use words meaning nothing and phrases going nowhere. Then, this type of use of language announces that the purpose of language is demolished, deviated and lost. Its only purpose turns out to be to verify that the characters are still alive and able to exchange remnants of an incommunicable language. Nell is the only character who questions the existence of language and the need for it. When Nagg asks her whether he will tell her the story of the tailor, she abruptly refuses it and asks: “What for?” (20). Beckett reveals his questioning through Nell. The question ‘what for language should be used’ signals the lack of sufficient ability, or power of language.
However, Hamm and Clov mock the inability of language to communicate:
HAMM:
We’re not beginning to… to… mean something?
CLOV:
Mean something! You and I, mean something!
(Brief laugh.)
Ah that’s a good one! (32-33).
When Hamm asks Clov with fear if they are beginning to mean something, Clov takes it just as a good joke and laughs. Then, for the characters it is impossible to ‘mean something’. Thereupon, functionlessness of language is inevitable and funny, though it is not so funny as unhappiness according to Nell: “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness” (18).
The exchanges of irrelevant topics in the dialogues are sometimes provided by means of ‘chains of association’. Some characters, who are even lacking in the ability to connect their past experiences to the identical situations later, pose a potential to associate one word with another experience that is extraneous to the context:
NAGG:
It always made you laugh.
(Pause.)
The first time I thought you’d die.
NELL:
It was on Lake Como.
(Pause.)
One April afternoon.
(Pause.)
Can you believe it?
NAGG:
What?
NELL:
That we once went out rowing on Lake Como.
(Pause.)
One April afternoon. (21).
Taking the dialogue between Nagg and Nell, it is noticeable that while Nagg is speaking about the effects of his story on Nell when he told it for the first time, Nell apparently connects his words with the day when they went out rowing on Lake Como. This chain of association makes the dialogue ungraspable and provides the writer with the possibility of changing the topic. While Nagg is trying to tell his story to Nell at the beginning of the dialogue, he finds himself talking about the day they spent rowing on Lake Como. Therefore, the stimulus quality of language experienced by the characters reveals that there is no effort at a logical-rational association of the speeches; at this point meaning and stimulus of language begin to be mutually exclusive.
Other important features of language used in Endgame are the use of short sentences and a few number of words, frequent use of pauses, and lastly the deliberate use of third person plural evident in the speech of Clov towards the end of the play. From the beginning, the play is full of short sentences, in particular, in the dialogues.
HAMM:
How are your eyes?
CLOV:
Bad.
HAMM:
How are your legs?
CLOV:
Bad.
HAMM:
But you can move.
CLOV:
Yes.
HAMM (violently):
Then move!
(Clov goes to back wall, leans against it with his
forehead and hands.)
Where are you?
CLOV:
Here.
HAMM:
Come back!
(Clov returns to his place beside the chair.)
Where are you?
CLOV:
Here. (7-8).
The questions are all one-sentence formations, and their answers are even shorter; they are only one word. Language seems to be condensed. The reason why there is economy of words in Endgame is very similar to the reason why fewer objects are placed on the stage, and why there is a limited number of acts and movements: It seems there is a deprivation of purpose for living.
Meaning is confined to single-word explanations, which indeed restricts a real communication. In one of the occasions out of many, Clov looks out of the window and reports on what he sees. When Hamm attempts to find the suitable word concerning the depiction of the external space, Clov says “What all is? In a word?” and sometime later he answers “Corpsed” (30). Beckett’s obsession with the use of one word explanations leads to the use of a compressed language in the play. Although it is known that he has an extraordinary vocabulary and impressive command of several languages, Beckett deliberately circumscribes the number of the words of Endgame, charging each word with an enormous burden. Language is reduced to bare simplicity in terms of quantity.
Furthermore, the language is broken by pauses in Endgame, and Beckett manipulates the pauses between speeches with great precision. Its effect may well enhance the painfulness of waiting, the emptiness of existence, the expectancy of collapse, of a manifestation of total despair. The countless pauses between speeches when the stage is silent underscore the anguish in each of the four characters and the barrenness of the words themselves when they are spoken. Also, the pauses in the play are significant since they allow Beckett to exhibit: silences of inadequacy, when characters cannot find the words they need; silences of repression, when they are struck dumb by the attitude of their interlocutor or by their sense that they might be breaking a social taboo; and silences of anticipation, when they await the response of the other which will give them a temporary sense of existence.
Towards the end of Endgame, when Hamm calls upon Clov to say a few words from his heart, the servant answers him by giving his longest speech in all the play:
CLOV (fixed gaze, tonelessly, towards auditorium):
They said to me, That’s love, yes, yes, not a doubt,
now you see how-
HAMM:
Articulate!
CLOV (as before):
How easy it is. They said to me, That’s friendship,
yes, yes, no question, you’ve found it. They said to
me, Here’s the place, stop, raise your head and look
at all that beauty. That order! They said to me,

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