Endgame

by: Samuel Beckett

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there's a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap."

Clov says this in the play's opening words. In his view, the heap is "impossible"; any single grain is not a heap, and a "heap" is just an accumulation of single grains added to each other. The philosophical way of looking at this quandary is that repetitions prohibit meaning from obtaining, since there is never a final product to scrutinize; it is constantly repeating itself. At the end of the play, Hamm applies the image of the grains and a heap to that of individual moments and a single life. Calling an existence a "life," then, is also "impossible," as it is merely a series of repeating moments. Beckett's view of existence as circular, with beginnings and endings fused, supports Clov's argument. Only death can finalize the moments into a life, and this seems to be what all the characters are after—though they also shy away from such finality.