The Homecoming: Theme of Power
Harold Pinter was born in the 1930s and lived through both World War 1 and World War 2. The decade in which the story was written and first staged is important to its interpretation. The 1960s was a decade in which women’s liberation was a prominent movement. Movies and art reflected it, protests were made and bras burned. The Homecoming was written during this period and the entire plot line seems a tennis match of power between the sexes. Theme of Power:
Power itself is the ability to take control and exert authority over others. Violence is a physical form of this. It usually takes the form of a display of force and this could be an unjust or even unlawful action. There could be a use of violent language or an element of threatened violence. However, the degree of power this holds is determined by the reaction of those threatened, or whether or not anything comes of the threat. In Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming one of the important themes is power. Power is exerted in two ways – violence and sexuality. The men exert power through violence and Ruth with her sexuality. The use of violence within the household is believed by the men to be the most important tool of power. When Ruth, the only woman in the play, enters, she appears to defeat the men’s power, but not with violence. Her sexuality becomes part of the way in which she takes control of the house. Violence through words is commonplace in the play. The insults and derogatory terms used within the family are as much an element of power as a way of life. As there is no real mother figure within the household, the men have lapsed into a way of life in which they can show no affection to each other. Instead they insult each other in ways usually reserved for women: “bitch” and “slag”. A show of affection or even respect can result in argument: “Stop calling me Dad”, Max complains. Violence is seen not only in the way they speak to each other but also in...
Bibliography: 1. http://www.dreamdust.co.uk/work/homecoming/2. http://voices.yahoo.com/womens-liberation-harold-pinters-play-homecoming-711285.html3. http://literatureencore.com/2011/05/study-pack-on-harold-pinters-the-homecoming/4. http://absurdbritish.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/ruth-in-the-homecoming/5. http://www.humanities360.com/index.php/the-homecoming-harold-pinter-3-23478/
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