Home as a Battlefield: Power and Gender in Harold Pinter’s the Collection, the Lover and Old Times (Published)
Harold Pinter has been hailed as a dramatist among the half-dozen best dramatists, able to use his considerable wit in unusual, resonant and riveting ways. The central theme of his work is one of the dominant themes of twentieth-century art: the struggle for meaning in a fragmented world. His characters are uncertain of whom or what they understand, in whom or what they believe, and who or what they are. Pinter’s characters operate by a stark ‘territorial imperative,’ a primal drive for possession. In his plays, the struggle for power is an atavistic one between male and female. Hence sexuality as a means of power and control is our priority in discussing a select set of Pinter’s playscripts. We here examine the element of sexuality in these chosen texts analysing the relationship between male and female characters, as they snipe and sling potshots across the most intimate of all battlefields: our home and castle. The texts are studied individually, in sequence, in an attempt to lay bare the technique and leverage of sexual negotiations in Pinter’s work.