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Pinter’s Dumb Waiter: Foucault’s Strategy of Power

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2009, 22(1), pp.65-88
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

사공일 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The aim of this paper is to study Harold Pinter’s Dumb Waiter in the view of Foucault’s strategy of power. What Foucault stresses in Surveillance and Punishment is the strategy of power. According to Foucault, human is individualized, controled, and subjugated in this strategy. Discipline and surveillance will be properly used in order for power to operate. Power can control the activity of body, ensure the continuous obedience of body, and improve the ability of body in the process of discipline and surveillance. In this sense, Foucault insists that power is to produce or becomes productive. this power functions as knowledge-power and bio-power by regulating knowledge and truth. Certainly, an apparatus will be required to perform the discipline and surveillance efficiently. Although Foucault presents school, factory, prison, army as an apparatus, a violent organization also will serve as a discipline-oriented apparatus. The important thing for him in the apparatus is that this power is invisible. Ben and Gus who are hired as killers in the violent organization appear in Pinter’s Dumb Waiter. While Ben is dumb and displays no intellectual curiosity about motives and actions, Gus questions aspects of the organization and appears discontents with his function. Because their purpose as a cog is functional, Gus’s action may threaten the organization. Thus the organization orders Ben to remove Gus through a speaking tube, and he will be also in dangerous position at the end of the play. After all, they must observe their organization’s discipline. In the mechanism of discipline they can perform their jobs appropriately as killers, and seem to be the representation subordinated by power. Also, surveillance is the way to objectify each individual invisibly and increase his or her ability. In Dumb Waiter an elevator and an speaking tube play the role of surveillance. Through this discipline and surveillance invisible power can control Ben and Gus consciously, and restrict their knowledge and body, which will be called knowledge-power and bio-power respectively. In this result, Ben and Gus become objects and victims by invisible power, and they are surrounded, controlled, and restrained by it.

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