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Multilevel Representations of Power in Harold Pinter's Plays

Alina-Elena Rosca

The study offers an interdisciplinary analysis of Harold Pinter’s dramatic discourse and focuses on the way power makes the characters play on the borders of linguistic, spatial, narrative and gender configurations. It examines the experimental nature of Harold Pinter’s dramatic technique and how he compromises both the realistic and the absurd dramatic formulae. The study also investigates the narrative of the past – a new dramatic technique in Pinter’s Plays, which brings into focus the inner life of the characters without causing any severe disturbance to the realistic conventional formula. It asserts that the narratives of the past become a form of doing, of being anchored in life and of acting in response to it. It also argues that sexuality is constantly submitted to manipulation and that women are more prepared than men to transgress gender constructions.
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1. A Preliminary Analysis of Harold Pinter’s Dramatic Technique


1.1 Breaking the Realistic Convention

The present section of the dissertation undertakes a rather theoretical approach. The current itinerary is dictated by the objective of drawing up a truly detailed and comprehensive image of the dramatic technique Harold Pinter employs in his plays. The innovation, whereby Harold Pinter succeeds in investing his dramatic work with a particularly distinctive touch, is enabled by the playwright’s most challenging project. Harold Pinter’s technique ventures beyond the borders of the commonly accepted conventions of Post-World War II English drama. Nonetheless, his plays still operate within the comfortable and secure spectres of this familiar territory. This contradictory situation resonates with the multiple incongruities the plays themselves exhibit at the level of character construction, language use and stage movement.

It is highly indisputable that Harold Pinter preserved the naturalistic convention, which was a predominant feature of the theatre of his time. In addition to this conservative attitude, he did not fully and unequivocally comply with these contemporary visions. Similar to the way the modernist artists proceeded, Harold Pinter chose to embrace a traditionalist, well-known and easy-to-digest, stratagem which provided a comfortable background to all the experiments he wished to bring into effect, without compromising in any way the reception of his plays. Hence, if such ventures had taken place outside the margins of the conventional theatre, they would not have benefited of the same felicitous impact, they would not have been so easily assimilated and they certainly would not have...

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