Comparison Between Harold Pinter's the Homecoming and the Caretaker

Topics: Harold Pinter, The Caretaker, Michael Gambon Pages: 6 (2502 words) Published: June 18, 2008
An author’s life can be portrayed through the hidden messages, characters and storylines involved in the novels and plays they wrote. For instance, Harold Pinter uses his theatre of absurd writing style to demonstrate part of his life story through two of his plays, The Homecoming and The Caretaker. In these plays the characters are confined to one room as a way to face what society expects everyone to act like. Even like the characters in his plays, Harold Pinter had to seclude himself from society in order for him to understand the unrealistic, pointless views and expectations society created. As well as figuring out these expectations Pinter also noticed the way others were living out their lives and decided to write about it. The characters from Harold Pinter’s plays, The Homecoming and The Caretaker illustrate the negative effect certain societal expectations have on humanity.

Society has many different ways of controlling actions and events their citizens take part in. One specific way is by creating certain expectations that everyone should live up to. These societal expectations are used to help guide people in to making the correct choices in their life so that it will help them achieve the life society wants their people to have. However one may not be able to live up to these expectations, which may causes one to be looked upon by others as an outcast. Many people have portrayed Harold as outcast in society since he decided to go against everything the government suggested about certain topics, such as life and human rights.

“Pinter is also an outspoken human rights advocate. He has protested the NATO bombing of Serbia, the Gulf War and the bombing of Iraq since that time, the ill-treatment of U.S. prisoners, censorship, the U.S. role in Latin America, and the Turkish government’s mistreatment of the Kurds.” (Cusac 1)

For instance the character Davies from Pinter’s play The Caretaker, is known as an outcast, much like Harold Pinter, since he follows the rules he created thus causing him to seem different from other citizens in his society. There are many things society expects from everyone to have, such as the perfect job, the perfect family, and the perfect life. However Harold Pinter realized that there was no purpose in following what society expects their people to portray, since those expectations will never be meet. “In 1949 Pinter was fined by magistrates for having, as a conscientious objector, refused to do his national service. Pinter had two trials. ‘I could have gone to prison – I took my toothbrush to the trials – but it so happened that the magistrates was slightly sympathetic, so I was fined instead, thirty pounds in all. Perhaps I’ll be called up again in the next war, but I won’t go.’ (Playwrights at Work) Pinter’s father paid the fine in the end, a substantial sum of money.” (Harold Pinter 1)

This just shows in more ways than one how Harold Pinter is rebelling against what society wanted him to do. He would have rather go to jail then to fight in a pointless war that would not have solved the problem. A similar situation can be shown in The Homecoming, when Teddy allows his family to turn his wife into a prostitute, instead of fighting to stop them from degrading his wife. “Teddy: ‘But Ruth, I should tell you…that you’ll have to pull your weight a little, if you stay. Financially. My father isn’t very well off.” (Pinter 126) Teddy, without any talk about why she should not become a prostitute, allows Ruth, his wife, to stay with his family to help his family financially. The fight against society’s expectations is not a battle that can be defeated. Everyone is able to fight against the expectations, however no one is able to change the way society expects everyone to be. One has no choice but to accept the fact, just like Harold Pinter and Teddy from The Homecoming did, that society’s expectations will not disappear no matter how hard people try to fight...
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