A Night Out

Topics: Harold Pinter, Abuse, Bullying Pages: 25 (7912 words) Published: September 25, 2014
Högskolan Dalarna
English D
Literature Essay
Supervisor: Elin Holmsten

Harold Pinter: A Night Out
A Study in the Political Connotations
And the Abuse of Power

Autumn 2006
Layla Bseiso
810904T007
Trapplan 2E 79137 Falun
0738307252
h06laybs@du.se

Contents

Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 1 Verbal Abuse ........................................................................................................................... 2 Physical and Sexual Abuse ...................................................................................................... 7 Psychological Abuse................................................................................................................ 8 Albert Stokes in the Role of Power ........................................................................................ 12 Politics: Truth and Lies .......................................................................................................... 18 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................ 21 Works Cited .......................................................................................................................... 23

1

Introduction
Harold Pinter’s A Night Out1 is a significant but rarely produced piece of drama. Therefore, there is very little criticism to support or contradict my argument. The reason why I chose to do my essay on this particular play is to open doors for academic research and to try and make it an equal to its sister plays. I will raise questions and topics to prove the play is worth the readers’ time and effort and that A Night Out is a sharp piece of political theatre. Although at first glance it is a simple enough story, a straightforward tale of the nasty consequences of motherly love when it is pushed to the limit, on deeper inspection, a more far reaching and complex analysis of the abuse of power can be observed. The play offers a variety of themes, including: interpersonal power struggles, failed attempts at communication, antagonistic relationships, the threat of impending or past violence, the struggle for survival or identity, domination and submission, politics, lies and verbal, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. The prevailing theme in the play is the abuse of power: powerful parties oppressing weaker ones, and the results of the oppressed party looking for a vent in someone even weaker than themselves. In his essay “Harold Pinter's Happy Families,” the critic R. F. Storch claims that: “A Night Out is a dull play […] because the theme is out in the open” (706). On the contrary, I think it is an interesting play with a hidden agenda of deep political significance that can be paralleled to contemporary political situations. My argument is that the dominating mother may be seen as representing a dominating world power such as the USA, and Albert, the protagonist, represents a subjugated land. The mother along with other prime characters use their power to abuse Albert in a way which can be paralleled to how the USA administers its foreign policy. In this essay I will

1

A play in 3 acts, written in 1959. It was originally intended for television; however, it was first performed on the BBC Radio Third Program in March 1960 to be later televised by ABC Armchair Theatre in April, where it had a record audience of between 15 and 18 million viewers. The play was first published by Methuen & Co. in 1961 (Duguid, pars.1-2).

2
discuss the various ways in which power is abused in the play: verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse, and follow the chain reaction which arises in Albert as a result of the continuous oppression. This will mainly be proved by making parallels to Harold Pinter’s deeply political Nobel Lecture entitled Art,...


Cited: Duguid, Mark. “Night Out, A (1960).” BFI Screenonline 14 April 2004. 11 December 2006
.
Hall, Peter. “Directing Harold Pinter 's Plays.” Fathom Knowledge Network (2004): 14 December
2006 .
Storch, R. F. “Harold Pinter 's Happy Families.” The Massachusetts Review. 8.4 (1967): 703-12.
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