Harold PinterHarold Pinter and the Concept of Irrationality and Aggressive Behavior

Topics: Harold Pinter, Theatre of the Absurd, Samuel Beckett Pages: 18 (6123 words) Published: December 24, 2012
Chapter One

1.1. Background :
Harold Pinter occupies a very significant position in the contemporary British theatre. He is a dramatist, scriptwriter, short story writer, director, and actor and in his later plays, he has become a political voice of Human Rights issues. He is considered the most respected writer for the stage in the world today. He was born in a Jewish family on October 10-1930 at Hackney, in London’s East End, an area with a Jewish population. This working- class neighborhood was the site of many violent clashes during Pinter’s youth.. The years following the Second World War were full of uncertainty of life for menacing anyone with Jewish features. Fear is centered on the unexpected knock at the door. This can be related to the author’s own childhood as a Jew. Growing up in the war in the East End of London, a time when the menace of any one would have particularly disturbed any child, especially a Jewish child in a post-war world, however, the menace of aggression is of a different kind, specifically psychological kind. The actions of the working class characters in this post- war world are in part based on this kind of fear, and in part based on inexplicable actions, both irrational and unmotivated.. Although Pinter seemed to have a relatively happy childhood, he also experienced terror during the Second World War, during Germany’s bombing raid attack on London. However, Pinter often was able to take his way out of these confrontations:

Like many people who grew up during the Second World War, Pinter remembers it through a series of graphic snapshots: as the talksof the past, people places and incidents come to life in his imagination a sense of disruption was also a crucial part of wartime experience. 1

Pinter began his career as an actor and an occasional poet. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He produced in a rapid succession the body of work which made him the master of the comedy of menace. So he was credited with the invention of a new dramatic style known as comedy of menace, and his name has been adopted as descriptive of a type of theatre under the term “Pinteresque”. 2 Pinter is best known for enigmatic plays, which blend absurdism and realism to illustrate the isolation and aggression in modern society; therefore, one can say that Pinter’s plays have irrationality and absurdity to highlight the theme of "ambiguity of truth".3 Pinter constructs emotional rather than rational links, through language, by which he implies what he does not explain. In his speech to the Seventh National Student Drama Festival in Bristol, Pinter says “A language where under what is said, another thing is being said”. 4 He is unique in expressing his awareness in this extraordinarily precise way, therefore, most critics say that he is a gifted, talented dramatist who only expresses the darker side of life. Pinter has now arrived at a stage in his development as a dramatist who can only be described as a climax, and it is right when many critics have no reservations in calling him their greatest living playwright. The themes of his early plays of love and menace are perfectly blended with the political and human concerns of his drama of the 1980s, as well as with the Holocaust and death-motives as introduced in Ashes to Ashes. These themes are extended into conflict and the terror of the loneliness of human situation. This perhaps shows Pinter's greatest achievement .He has achieved:

A style capable of the subtlest modulations, in which the prosaic isalways merging into the terrifying. No other living dramatists convey sucha sense of the constant possibility of the irruption of the unknownand the destructive into our daily lives. 5

1.2. The Concept of Irrationality and Aggressive Behaviour:
It is preferable to start with a definition of these two terms. These definitions may help the...
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