What is the relationship between Hamm and Clov in Endgame? I think they are more than owner and servant.

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There is certainly an element of master and servant about Hamm and Clov's relationship, but it's much more complicated than that. For one thing, Hamm relies on Clov in a way that no self-respecting master would never rely on a slave. Hamm needs Clov as his eyes and legs; without his presence, his control over the shelter would be completely undermined.

At the same time, Clov's status vis a vis Hamm does resemble that of a slave in that he's utterly dependent on Hamm for food and shelter. But what complicates matters here is Hamm's cryptic references to Clov's possibly being his son. If Clov is indeed Hamm's son then their relationship is no longer one of master and slave, but of father and son, albeit a father and son relationship characterized by domination and control rather than traditional blood ties.

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Because he is blind and confined to a wheelchair, Hamm is completely dependent on Clov. In that sense, they are more than master and servant because without Clov, Hamm would be. Despite being terribly mistreated by Hamm, however, Clov does not leave him, not out of love or loyalty, but because he doesn't know the combination to the lock on the food pantry. Hamm does ask Clov for a kiss, but it may be from a need for any kind of human contact or affection rather than from sexual desire.

This is a very strange play, and as such, it is difficult to place "normal" rules of conduct on its characters. The play is absurd, the characters are absurd, their motivations and behaviors are absurd.

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