Endgame: Characters

ClovClov is the youngest and only character in the room that can move on his own. He takes care of the others and Hamm’s business. He seems to be a steward of the former estate. Clov does not know why he does what Hamm tells him to do and threatens to leave. He refuses to kill the family and put them out of their misery as Hamm sometimes asks him to do. Clov describes himself as loving order. He is in charge of the routine, handing out food and medicine, or looking out the window, or wheeling Hamm around the room. He has an alarm clock and comes when Hamm whistles for him. He is often in the kitchen, offstage. Hamm seems to control the food, however, with the key to the cabinet. One of Clov’s duties is to look out the window regularly with a telescope to see if anything is happening. Clov is tired of nothing adding up to anything, yet he hopes for change. He hopes one day all this will be ended. He has his hat and coat ready to leave after Hamm says he is finished in the last scene, but yet he cannot bring himself to actually leave and remains in the doorway. It is hinted that Clov is the little boy that the man crawling on his belly was asking help for in Hamm’s story. Hamm may have saved his life and made him into a servant. Now he waits to die with the others in the shelter, though he wants badly to leave. Clov comments on Hamm’s story and his dealings with other people, criticizing him for his cruelty.
HammHamm is the main character. He dominates all the others, though he is unable to stand or move on his own. He is blind, in a wheelchair. He is the lord or king of the land around him, once rich and powerful. Now he is the ruler of a wasteland, with all the people apparently dead or dying of some catastrophe. Hamm is selfish and self-centered. He despises the helplessness of others, as witnessed by his treatment of those who came to him for help, like his neighbors (Mother Pegg) and the man crawling on his belly. Hamm pities himself and his suffering, but he thinks he is a creative writer and likes to tell his version of the end of the world, making the others be his audience. He is childish and plays with a toy dog. He insists on having his painkiller given to him at certain times and because he is so dependent on Clov threatens him and bullies him, describing to him what it would be like if he had to die alone. When Hamm cannot get Clov to listen to his story any longer he bribes his old father. Hamm despises his parents and blames them for procreating and causing him to exist.

NaggNagg is Hamm’s old father in one of the ashbins. Hamm regards him as disgusting and imbecilic. Nagg pokes his head out and asks for food, or he wants his wife in the next ashbin to scratch his crotch for him to satisfy his sexual urge. Nagg reminds Hamm he is his father to whom he ran when he was a frightened child, but he did not really care that much for his son. He tells jokes and reminisces about his life with his wife. Hamm keeps telling Clov to bottle his parents and screw down their lids so he does not have to hear from them. Nagg cries when he understands that Nell has died in her trashbin during the course of the play.

NellNell is Hamm’s old mother in one of the ashbins. She and Nagg have lost their legs in an accident. They do not see well and are losing their hearing. Nell likes to remember the past, especially their courting days on Lake Como. She does not appreciate her husband’s sense of humor and tries to betray her son by getting Clov to leave him. She dies during the play. Nagg and Clov notice this, but Hamm does not seem interested.