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Comic Vision in the Absurd World: The Homecoming

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2007, 20(2), pp.109-126
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

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ABSTRACT

Lee, Young-JooEver since its premiere in 1965, Harold Pinter's The Homecoming has puzzled the audience and critics with its shocking and bewildering elements. This paper is intended to interpret the embarrassing world of The Homecoming within the context of traditional dramatic comedy itself. In The Homecoming Pinter creates the life affirmative comic vision by achieving a social movement from Max's home to Ruth's home. At the beginning of the play, we confront a society, Max's home, filled with mutual indifference, isolation, and hostility and these blocking elements threaten the comic vision. None of Max's family members celebrates life or makes us feel the joy of the life affirmative comic vision. However, as the play develops, the obstructing elements are gradually eliminated and Max's conflicting and rigid society/home changes into Ruth's new society/home by virtue of Ruth's acceptance of a life of prostitution. In Ruth's newly formed home the negative forces of Max's home are replaced with the positive forces such as love and togetherness. They abandon their obsessions and reveal their real selves in order to be faithful to their true natures because Ruth's new home is a fantastic world of comedy where the standard morality and social values do not matter and only freedom exists. With her puzzling behavior Ruth is introducing us to a realm of fantasy where we can experience this freedom along with her. So, following the tenacious structural principles of comedy, Pinter successfully attains the triumph of the life affirmative comic vision.Key Words comedy, comic spirit, comic vision, Harold Pinter, The Homecoming, Northrop Frye, a social movement

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