Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Category: British Literature

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.…

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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