Power From Pinteresque Discourse in The Birthday Party
Harold Pinter is widely regarded as one of the most influential representatives of British theatre in the twentieth century. The significance of his tremendous contribution to modern theatre has been summed up in one theatrical terminology, namely, “Pinteresque”. Though Pinter’s plays are characteristic of minimal plots and limited characters, the dialogues are filled with powerful tension. Power, however, is not only an important element, but also a recurrent theme in his plays in many ways. Indubitably, there are power struggles between dominating and dominated characters in his plays. Aligned with the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s theory of discourse and power, this article analyzes one early play by Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party, arguing that the characters in this play possess strong desire for power, which makes them aware of the menace all around. What is more, the reflection of power exhibited in The Birthday Party anticipates Pinter’s radical anti-hegemony politics in his later period.
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