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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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4. Representations of the Past

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4.1 The Narrative of the Past. The Past – a Means of Dissimulation

Each and every narrative of the past is a mental construct which, through rendering the past as it is internalized and appropriated by the narrator, allows access not to the past as it actually occurred, but to a highly biased version of it. As such, the narrative of the past confronts the listener with a selective and, thus, limited process of reconstructing and reshaping the past according to the narrator’s intentions and his/her degree of involvement in the recounted events. Ultimately, this type of narrative confronts the hearer of the story with a vision of the past which is neither exclusive nor absolute. It is just a point of view directed by what the narrator makes of the past and how he conceives it. As for the impact of the narrative, the values and beliefs coming to the surface through the offered version of the remembered past may cause either binding or rupture between the parties involved in the act of storytelling. The manner in which the narrative is constructed and presented to the listener may transform the entire act of performing the past into an adequate terrain for staging extremely tense games of power or battles of confrontation between incompatible characters and their discordant interpretations and/or modes of existence.

The use of narratives fills Harold Pinter’s drama as a new theatrical technique which aids in bringing to the forefront the internal...

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