Essay on Power Relations of the Characters in Pinter's Old Times

Essay on Power Relations of the Characters in Pinter's Old Times

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Harold Pinter’s plays reflect most common themes of the 20th century drama such as the loss of meaning and identity. In Pinter’s plays, the characters are depicted as they are in constant struggle for asserting their identity and meaning to their existence. Since they feel insecure about both their existence and identity, they feel the need to dominate others for the sake of asserting sovereignty over what they possess. In that way, they think they can define their existence and identity. Overpowering others is a way of feeling confident about themselves and their surroundings. Thus, Pinter’s plays represent themselves as battlefields in which every character is on guard to fight against the other for feeling secure in an insecure world, as Cahn points out that : “This battle is, at its core, a struggle for power, power that in and of itself provides some verification” (5). All Pinter’s plays are models of power structures in which characters dominate others. The weapons that they use for dominating are the recollection of the past and the language. Pinter’s Old Times is a good example for reflecting the characters’ struggle for power with the help of their recollections and use of language.

Old Times is a memory play which deals with the recollection of the past. The past is very difficult, almost impossible, to verify, so, Pinter’s characters either cannot remember the past or they are uncertain about its accuracy. Uncertainty of memories causes each character to have a different version of the original recollection. Harold Pinter’s concern is with the motives behind people’s recollections as his characters voluntarily, not arbitrarily, go back to their past, and invoke their memories. One of the most important motives is ...


... middle of paper ...


...ined by her defeat and she lies as if she is dead, Deeley feels insecure due to his defeat.

In conclusion, Pinter’s Old Times is mostly celebrated for its successful exploration of the dynamics in human relations which are mainly based on power relations. The play is a good example for reflecting one’s yearning for dominating the others in order to feel secure within oneself against the possible and ongoing threats to his or her identity and personal space. The memory and language go beyond their usual functions, and they become the instruments of domination. Thus, Old Times, in its absurdity, represents the core of the human relations from a realistic point of view.


REFERENCES
Cahn, V. L. Gender and Power in the Plays of Harold Pinter. London: The Macmillan Press. 1994.
Pinter, Harold. Harold Pinter: Plays Three. London: Faber and Faber Limited. 1991.

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