Infidelity, Unfaithfulness, and Modesty in "Betrayal"

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Infidelity, unfaithfulness, and modesty outline the surface of the play Betrayal written by Harold Pinter. From afar the relationships between the trio of characters seems normal but; when taking a deeper look, the correlations are noticeably dysfunctional. The three main characters, Emma, Jerry and Robert interact kindly, never seem to interrupt one another, ask innocent questions and do not, generally, inspect over much the answers. They help each other over the occasional awkward moments and talk when necessary. But these characters rejoice when knowing something that someone else does not and that knowledge is sometimes translated into power. Though it takes time, sometimes even years to breach things under the surface eventually and unexpectedly they come to light. Finally, when everyone knows everything, and the game has reached an ending point, life continues back on its normal cyclical routine. In Betrayal the dramatic scenario of the love triangle goes through many storms of deceit that test the characters marital relationships, faithfulness, and allows them to changes their inner persona. Emma goes through a variety of phases of betrayal both towards herself and others. At first glance Emma seems confident and faithful to her husband. During the party at Robert and Emma’s house, where Jerry seduces and compliments Emma, it is as if she wants nothing to do with him. She is shocked by Jerry’s confession and feels uncomfortable due to the fact that she is married; she repeats, “My husbands best man. Your best friend’s best man.” (Pinter 135) Though at the end of the scene when Robert comes into the room and then exits, Emma attempts to leave as well but is stopped by Jerry. They then share a moment and stand still and lo... ... middle of paper ... ...for meaning in one’s life. Ultimately, it is self-betrayal that each character and each audience is forced to observe. Each character shows drastic changes within themselves through out the play. Emma goes from being strong and faithful to a weak and dependant. Robert’s hostility and aggressiveness grows linearly as the years pass by and Jerry’s jealousy and forgetfulness intensifies. I think a bigger picture of the betrayal felt is within the families and towards their children. Being unfaithful and cheating on your husband or wife is in essence like cheating on your entire family and loosing all respect for yourself. The physical betrayal between the characters is obvious but the mental deceit plays a larger role in terms of betrayal. They each have had power changes, transformations within themselves, and modifications in their lifestyle due to their choices.

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