Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Category: Drama

Play Analysis : Harold Pinter’s “Birthday Party”

In Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, Stanley Webber, the protagonist, is a recluse in his late 30s characterized by humour, consternation and fear. Highly capricious at one moment and highly humorous at another, he appears like a frightened animal. He appears to be a pianist in his past life. He is an escapist as he comes across as a recluse set apart by his aloofness from society. There appears to be no prospect of escaping from his existence and their appears to be no other alternative. Ruby Cohn states that in Pinter’s plays, the house as a metaphor is openly reduced to a room. The play The Birthday Party commemorates the birthday of Stanley who is adamant that it is not his birthday. Birthday not only signifies the anniversary of one’s birth, it also points to the day of one’s birth. And, in The Birthday Party, the celebration of the former helps to create the latter. The intruders transform Stanley into a new man .As he is reborn by the turn of events, the make-believe birthday renders into his true birthday.

At the outset of the play, Meg tries to wake Stanley up as if he were a baby.…

Play Analysis : Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts”

Ibsen’s “Ghosts” is a slap on the face of those critics who questioned the stand of Nora in A Doll’s House. It blends an assortment of themes together. It presents the conflict between social dictums and individual choice, marriage and living-in, euthanasia and venereal disease, and selfless love and selfish love. The play holds a special relevance in the world of today as it relates with the contemporary times.

Mrs. Alving is the so-called Nora who does not bang the door on selfless love and does not shun social dictates and continues in the garb of the “perfect wife”. The consequences that she meets with are ‘Ghosts’ haunting her in the form of the depression of solitude, the immoral stand of her disease-ridden son and the burning of her dreamsin the form of Mr.Alving’s home. It is contrasted with the selfish love of Regina to foreground the former, where the latter hails the “joy of living”, it reigning supreme. An unlearned person like Engstrand has a better perception of morality in that he comprehends that saving a falling woman at the cost of a lie uttered, is in good spirits than adhering to superficial ideals of morality. Pastor Manders’ decision to help Engstrand to begin a Home for Sailors that is a brothel house in disguise highlights the underlying hypocrisy in the pastor’s teachings.…

Play Analysis: Luigi Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author “

“The play represents the coming together of art and life, of fixed form and reality…he exemplifies not only the problems of creating a play, but also the futility since the play is just one more of the illusions that man builds up to convince himself he can escape from the processes that shape his existence.”(Susan Basnet and Mcguire) In this sense, the play supports Freud’s concept of creative writers as he illustrates in “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming. Every piece of writing is the fulfillment of a wish, an unsatisfactory reality.

Six Characters in Search of an Author mainly represents the conflict between illusion and reality. The stage manager strives his maximum to make his characters appear true. This bears testimony to the fact that they are true. This is why we have the ‘real’ six characters arriving and mocking at them later. The director wants Madam Pace to utter some lines loudly that are meant for her and she hesitates to do so, also because it is not within the norms of propriety. However the stage manager insists that she must do so, else the audience cannot hear her. This again illustrates that the characters do not speak for themselves but for the audience to hear.…

The Return to Roots in Harold Pinter’s “Homecoming”: An Analysis

Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming comes across as a regular Pinter play with a plot characterized by its deceptive simplicity, and replete with Pinteresque pauses. John Lahr called the play “a brilliantly sculpted event.” The play deals with the theme of ‘homecoming’ as Teddy and Ruth return to England, their homeland after a period of six years to meet Ted’s working class family in North London. It is also a homecoming to their identities as Teddy has been living an educated existence in America and is now returning to his raw family life in North England. The story revolves around Max, a retired butcher and his three children Teddy, a professor in America; Lenny, the pimp and Joey, the amateur boxer. Max’s brother Sam also lives with him. Teddy visits home after many years with his wife, Ruth while Teddy’s family is unaware that Teddy is a married man with three kids. Max is initially reluctant as he equates all women with prostitutes and accuses Teddy of bringing home a ’tart’. However, as soon as Teddy announces that Ruth is his wife, Max accepts the fact. He hits Teddy first and then welcomes him to the household as he comes to terms with reality.…

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame: A Classic Instance of the Theatre of the Absurd

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame is a statement on the contemporary times as a product of applied science and technology and not vice-versa. It focuses on four major characters who live in an apocalyptic era characterized by stagnation and a sense of nihilism. Originally written in French (entitled Fin de partie), the title refers to the last part in a game of chess. Unlike the introductory part and the middle game, the endgame is worked out by experienced players in advance and the outcome is certain; just as death is an inevitable certainty in the Game of Life predestined by the Invincible Champion.

Hamm is the protagonist of the drama and dictates the other characters on their action. He is at the centre of the room and the centre of the plot. In the Paris Review article “Exorcising Beckett”, the author writes that Beckett stated the names to be as follows: Hamm for Hammer, Clov for clou (the French for nail), Nagg for ‘nagel’ (the German for nail), and Nell because of its resemblance to the English word nail. Therefore, the naming is quite apt: Hamm stands for Hamm as in ‘Hammer’ as he sits at a distance and witnesses the action.…

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