To me, Beckett seems to use the setting of house combined with the character’s actions and words to comment on the history of Western Civilization. Something I picked up in Engame was that seems to be life is a circular existence without a specific beginning or ending. In turn the characters act out repetitive rituals, becoming static and stuck in a state of paralysis in their lives. The paralysis can literally be seen in the facts that Hamm is stuck in a wheel chair, Clov can never really seem to leave, and Hamm’s parents are usually only confined to their bins. I feel Beckett is saying we go through our lives looking for meaning but there really is no meaning in life itself, and in doing this we become repetitive.
Adding to this, the character of Hamm seems to be afraid of change. After Clov pushes him around the room, Hamm wants to be put back in the center of the room. Exactly where he was before. “Put me right in the center! I feel a little too far to the left. Now I feel a little too far to the right. I feel a little too far forward. Now I feel a little too far back”. To increase his apprehension, he is also afraid of the flea Clov has because “humanity might start from it all over again”. He becomes very concerned with making sure its caught and killed.
Compared to Eliot’s The Waste Land, I don’t feel they are that similar. I definitely do see the decay and destruction of the world in both of these but I wasn’t immediately reminded of The Waste Land when reading it. Similar to Eliot’s, Beckett’s world is vacant, almost post-apocalyptic in which he and the others seem to be the only inhabitants. I feel The Waste Land engages with actual history more so than Endgame.