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Hamm and Clov are not nor did I find Mercier and Camier a pair that I cared about. Or in Puckoon Spike Milligan has the character Dan Milligan engage in an exchange with the author of the book he finds himself in complaining about the state of his legs or looking for wee favours.I don’t have a problem with an author producing unlikeable or unsympathetic protagonists—much can be learned from them—but still no reader is going to be in a rush to return to their company: Waiting for Godot I have seen many time but Endgame only three. From what I’ve read I think a great many people simply do not get where Beckett is coming from in this book. The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett says: Strange impression, said Mercier, strange impression sometimes that we are not alone. The ‘I’ in Mercier and Camier is their "author who is following the same road as them." Hugh Kenner hits the nail on the head when he writes: The point of 'I was with them, all the time' ...It happened to me, summer 1945, in my mother’s little house, named New Place, across the road from Cooldrinagh.” The first work to be produced after this revelation was written in French.
Few would dispute that Beethoven was a musical genius, that Picasso was an artistic genius, that Shakespeare was a literary genius and that Peter Sellers was a comedic genius but does that mean that every note Beethoven wrote was a work of genius? Even after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature—as if any greater validation was needed after that—he still remained the man he had always been, shy and unimpressed by fame, especially his own.
Peter Boxall writes: Vladimir and Estragon have been seen as so complimentary that they might be the two halves of a single personality, the conscious and the subconscious mind.
Each of these three pairs—Pozzo-Lucky; Vladimir-Estragon; Hamm-Clov—is linked by a relationship of mutual interdependance, wanting to leave each other, at war with each other, and yet dependent on each other. When Beckett approaches the idea of a quest the probability of failure is posited right from the beginning.
His most famous pair, obviously, are Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot followed by Hamm and Clov in Endgame of whom Beckett said, “You must realise that Hamm and Clov are Didi and Gogo at a later date, at the end of their lives.” Once he qualified this remark, stating that Hamm and Clov were actually “himself and Suzanne” (his long-time mistress and finally wife who he first met in1929) "as they were in the 1950s—when they found it difficult to stay together but impossible to leave each other." Beckett's Waiting for Godot has been called "a metaphor for the long walk into Roussillon, when Beckett and Suzanne slept in haystacks...
during the day and walked by night..." when they were fleeing the Nazis and, as at least some “of the dialogue of the novella Mercier et Camier is repeated word for word in” Waiting for Godot, it’s not unreasonable to look as Mercier and Camier as prototypes, if not exactly much younger versions, of Didi and Gogo.