Beckett vs. Eliot

Endgame by Samuel Beckett takes place outside of history, without a real setting. It critiques the history of Western Civilization by revealing the potential future of the world after it is destroyed by war. The characters are in a state of being that is not alive, but not quite dead. Clov goes back and forth between the windows, gazing out of them at the grayness and laughing because humanity is so close to ending that life has become a joke.  There is nothing left, and although it isn’t night all Clov can see is gray. “Light black. From pole to pole” (2592). After Clov says that “There are so many terrible things,” Hamm realizes that “it’s a day like any other day” (2598). In this way Beckett critiques the way that history continues to repeat itself while Western Civilization makes the same mistakes over and over again.

In The Waste Land Eliot makes frequent allusions to history which is completely unlike Beckett’s work which is nearly devoid of allusions. The Waste Land has much more context than Endgame, even referencing the time of year and different parts of the world. While Endgame is all one Act, showing how the bleak future will be all encompassing, The Waste Land is broken up into parts making various arguments. The Waste Land does end on a hopefully note, however both works express the depressing state of Western Civilization.


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