Succulent old bags, tarts and tables : a voyage through Pinterland

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Yaqoobi, Noora
Issue Date
BA in English Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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This discussion aims to analyze the various aspects of Pinter's critique on language as expressed in the content of three of his plays: The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter, and The Homecoming. The content of this discussion is divided into two chapters. In the first, it will be established that Pinter's major concern with language was that there exists a fundamental disjunction between its structure and the material reality it seeks to represent. In the second chapter the consequences of such a disjunction between language and reality and the opportunities it affords for the exploitation of language in various ways will be explored. Pinter's plays rightly aim to establish that language is a non-referential discursive medium that easily lends itself to the service of latent subjective and more often than not, malicious intentions. The issue at heart is that words can often be invested with meanings that they do not contain. A good command on language is often used to deceive and control others. Each chapter will fulfil its aims by extensively analyzing various excerpts from the three plays listed above. In conclusion, the fact that spoken language almost totally abandons the rules of rhetoric and becomes the mediator of the inherent human desire to establish power and dominance over other human beings will be demonstrated. Language has throughout history been used to sanction evil: formally dexterous rants against this or that group of people justified burning people alive and subtler yet equally insidious forms of political propaganda simultaneously fostered and concealed the mass murder of many. This is still the case today. This paper establishes how Pinter's plays invite a critical awareness of this vital yet seldom acknowledged function of the power behind spoken language.