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Harold Pinter: the Menacing Silences in Truth

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54 
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“Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realizing that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost. ”

--- Harold Pinter: Art, Truth & Politics (The Nobel Lecture)

Drama comes to different people in different ways, but in Harold Pinter’s case, its homecoming was something astonishingly unique & queer. Pinter was composing poetry & had never written a play when he went through an experience. No, no midsummer night’s dream, but one of a very concrete commonplace character. As Pinter himself recounted once in an interview that he had entered into three different rooms at three different points of time with the insiders, not really expecting his entry & had found three different reactions from the inmates—the first time, one of the two sitting persons had stood up, on the second occasion, both had stood up & in the third case, both had remained seated. Pinter said that it was this impression, which he could not express in terms of poetry & thereby composed his first three plays- The Room (1957), The Birthday Party (1957) & The Caretaker (1957), one after the other. The striking thing about this experience is its exploration of three composite probabilities, creating a single truth. That is precisely Pinter’s journey-his perception of a singularity that is so infinitely pluralistic from within & yet...


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