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Terror and Fear Transmitted: The Birthday Party

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2007, 20(2), pp.53-82
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

남장현 1

1인하공업전문대학

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Nam, JanghyunDuring his life, Harold Pinter experienced angst and frustration when subjugated by different bodies of authority and control prevalent within society. Such was his reaction to such experiences, he used his play writing skills to convey the notion that any member of society, at no matter what level they are, can become the target of intimidation, control and fear from authoritarian institutions.In The Birthday Party, this idea is first blatantly depicted by the character Stanley who is brutally assaulted by representatives of some control-centric institution that he has tried to break away from and resist, and then, more subtly by allowing every other character to become a victim at some level. By analyzing the dynamics of the storyline, it becomes clear that the everyday normality we all take for granted can be turned on its head as we become prey to those who might seek to control us. Pinter constructs things in such a way as to allow the audience to identify with this concept to such an extent that they can feel the impact of change suffered by the different characters. Towards the end, we see that the principal predatory character loses their confidence and authority to some degree and are able to relate this to Pinter's view that authority cannot endure indefinitely and may itself fall prey to others.

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