The Caretaker by Pinter Essay

The Caretaker by Pinter Essay

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The Caretaker by Pinter: A Play Can Be Confrontational, Challenging and
Disturbing to the Values and Assumptions of An Audience. Discuss With close
Reference

The Caretaker, written by the British playwright Harold Pinter in the late
1950's and early 1960's disrupts the audiences perceptions of existence and
their understandings of it. The play deconstructs perceived notions and
conceptions of reality, and disturbs the audiences perception of their own
identity and place within a world which is primarily concerned with the search
and need for identity. Pinter was clearly influenced by the fashionable
philosophic review of human condition that was prominent in the 1950's and
1960's – existentialism. The play attacks the notion that there are no absolute
truths or realities. Pinter is therefore concerned with what exists as unknown
and intangible to humanity. His theatre interrogates the truth of nature and
realities of language and demonstrates that much of what the audience regards as
fact is fiction as he explores the uncertainty of human existence.

When an audience of the 1960's went to the theatre, it can generally be assumed
that they had preconceived ideas about what they expected and what they are
going to gain from the theatrical experience. The traditional attitudes towards
theatre and the conventions of realist drama are disrupted by Pinter. This
confronts the assumptions and values of the audience, an experience which would
be disconcerting and frightening to many.

Pinter divorces and exposes society's codes, institutions and human relations.
Throughout the play the audience is rarely comfortable. This disruption is
established from the outset of the play when Mick, a character who at this stage
of the play the audience knows nothing about, sits on the bed and stares at the
audience in silence for ‘30 seconds'. Traditionally in realist drama such as
Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler characters use simple exposition through language
and non-verbal elements to ‘let the audience in' and enlighten them on what is
happening on the stage and the results and reasons for and behind actions.
Pinter disrupts this tradition and this in itself would have been a disturbing
phenomena to the conservative audiences of post-war Britain. Mick's arrival on
stage generates unease within the audience and the tension would only increase
as Pinter provides the audience with...


... middle of paper ...


...entity and the
structure of society. This deferral of action is primarily indicated by Davies
and Aston. The prime example of this is in Davies constant references to his
planned trip to Sidcup and in Aston's references to the shed that he is planning
to build. Through the representation of these possible future activities, it
appears that it gives purpose to their current actions and to some extent a
reason for living. It allows these characters to suggest that they are in fact
worthwhile human beings with a purpose and a ‘life'. Pinter suggests through
this deferral of actions that people's lives hold no worthwhile meaning and
ultimately there is nothing gained at the point of death.

The Caretaker is a subversive play that demythologises many of an audiences
assumptions and values. Pinter makes the audience experience paranoia and
feelings of menace and by disrupting conventions of social behaviour and
ignoring traditional dramatic ‘realist' protocol, Pinter confronts and
challenges the values and assumptions of an audience. He successfully
deconstructs notions of power and security, and problematises the conservative
belief that there are in fact absolute truths and realities.

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The Caretaker by Pinter Essay

- The Caretaker by Pinter: A Play Can Be Confrontational, Challenging and Disturbing to the Values and Assumptions of An Audience. Discuss With close Reference The Caretaker, written by the British playwright Harold Pinter in the late 1950's and early 1960's disrupts the audiences perceptions of existence and their understandings of it. The play deconstructs perceived notions and conceptions of reality, and disturbs the audiences perception of their own identity and place within a world which is primarily concerned with the search and need for identity....   [tags: essays research papers]

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