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Pinter's Purloined Politics and Sexual Politics: The Birthday Party

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2009, 22(2), pp.71-100
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

정문영 1

1계명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay sets up a birthday party for Pinter’s becoming-good ghost by performing a retroactive reading of The Birthday Party to reveal his purloined politics and sexual politics. His ambivalent politics and sexual politics have been always sources of debates. But he will be remembered as one of the greatest modern dramatists, an activist citizen, and as a cryptic feminist who celebrated women’s strength and vitality. From this perspective on his final stage, by looking back upon his early stage of The Birthday Party(1957) again, we can expose his displacement of politics into Oedipal power games and his exploitation of misogynist sexual politics in order to hide his politics. The former readings of Pinter’s politics argue that The Birthday Party ends in a futile resistance without any possibility of change and it does not move beyond pessimistic analyses of the abuse of political power. And the readings of Pinter’s sexual politics confirm the structural gulf between politics and sexual politics in Pinter’s work as his dilemma. But this reading will move beyond Stanley’s silence which connotes utter powerlessness by using the subversive power generated from the gulf “between” politics and sexual politics. That is, The Birthday Party may go beyond Stanley’s descent into silence, by appropriating the subversive power of purloined, i.e., oppressed sexual politics, through Meg, “the belle of the ball.” From the ending with Meg who are ready for another party for Stanley’s new becoming against the final descent, we may anticipate Pinter’s strongest woman, Rebecca in another Holocaust play, Ashes to Ashes(1996) who can resist against Devlin’s exploitation of sexual politics and induce him into new becomings.

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