Family and sexuality in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party and The Homecoming
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This dissertation seeks to explore the themes of family and sexuality among the characters in Harold Pinter‟s The Birthday Party (1922) and The Homecoming (1965). Harold Pinter is a modern British dramatist (1930-2008) whose works fall under the category of the Comedy of Menace for their dark and disturbing portrayal of human relationships and interactions. They are also famous for absurdist and post-war elements which are commonly discussed by critics and scholars. Instead, I have chosen to look at the elements of family and sexuality in the two plays by Pinter because I have found that less work has been done in this area. I think these topics can prove interesting areas of study which can lead to new findings about Pinter‟s works. I will do a textual analysis of the plays and, especially, look at the characters and their interactions with each other. In doing so, I will argue how Pinter gives us an illusion of family while hinting at the fragility of traditional family structures which can be easily threatened and broken. Also, I will show how sexuality is used by both genders, male and female, as a tool of power to dominate each other in the false family structures shown in his plays. For my discussion, I will use theoretical references of Freud‟s and Lacan‟s psychoanalytic theory as well as feminist criticism.