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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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5. Representations of Sexuality


5.1 Women Transgressing the Norm

This chapter focuses on the concept of sexuality as “an especially dense transfer point for relations of power: between men and women, young people and old people, parents and offspring, teachers and students, priests and laity, an administration and a population.”146 In Harold Pinter’s dramatic work the individuals’ attitude towards the conventional configurations presupposed by this concept is crucial in allowing or denying them access to power. This is a movement which implies annihilating the others’requests and positions supplemented then by singularly applying one’s individual standards of existence. The archetypal structures and attitudes, the dominant values and perceptions of sexuality are subject to manipulation, either by confirmation or by exclusion, by acceptance or reconfiguration and displacement, in order to do away with those representations that might compromise one’s secure and comfortable invented existence.

The categories of sex and sexuality appear as cultural constructs, rather than as natural and pre-given circumstances of life. This position is sustained by Foucault who, in the first volume of The History of Sexuality, described how in the modern society of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there emerged a large number of discourses about sexual behaviour, bodily pleasures and individual desires and fantasies. Performed in accordance with the main aim of society, that of organizing and regulating the life of the population, these diagnostic studies of abnormal and deviant practices, determined strict classifications and interpretations which, in turn, distinguished between applying the norm...

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