The expression “Pinteresque” describing the characteristic features of Harold Pinter’s artistic output, established its position as a literary critical denominator many years ago. The aim of this article is to analyze some of the specific aspects of the playwright’s use of language. On several occasions, the artist made comments pertaining to certain issues concerning communication. He rejected the idea of the alienation of language and promoted the concept of evasive communication, thus showing people’s unwillingness to communicate. He also spoke about two kinds of silence, the first referring to a situation where there is actual silence, when “no word is spoken,” and the second , when “a torrent of language is being employed” in order to cover the character’s “nakedness.” Accordingly, Pinter’s plays may, depending on their perspective, be treated as dramas of language or of silence. This led Peter Hall, Pinter’s favourite theatre director and also a close friend, to notice that in the playwright’s oeuvre there is a clear distinction beween three dots, a pause and a silence. This article discusses in detail the uneven distribution of pauses and silences in Harold Pinter’s 1977 play, Betrayal. It becomes evident that the use of different kinds of silence clearly indicates the emotional state of the characters at any given moment.
Pinter, “Betrayal”, pause, silence
Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968. Print.
Billington, Michael. The Life and Work of Harold Pinter. London: Faber, 1996. Print.
Brewer’s Theatre. A Phrase and Fable Dictionary. London: Cassell, 1994. Print.
Esslin, Martin. The Peopled Wound: The Work of Harold Pinter. New York: Doubleday, 1970. Print.
Fraser, Antonia. Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter. London: Weidenfeld, 2010. Print.
Fraser, G. S. The Modern Writer and His World. London: Andre Deutsch, 1964. Print.
Gale, Stephen H. Butter’s Going up. A Critical Analysis of Harold Pinter’s Work. Durham: Duke UP, 1977. Print.
Hall, Peter. “Directing Pinter.” Harold Pinter: You Never Heard Such Silence. Ed. Alan Bold. London: Vision, 1985. 19–28. Print.
Hall, Peter. “Directing the Plays of Harold Pinter.” The Cambridge Companion to Harold Pinter. Ed. Peter Raby. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. 145–54. Print.
Hayman, Ronald. Harold Pinter. London: Heinemann, 1968. Print.
Hollis, James. Harold Pinter. The Poetics of Silence. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1970. Print.
Merritt, Susan Hollis. Pinter in Play. Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter. Durham: Duke UP, 1990. Print.
Nightingale, Benedict. “Anti-Clockwise.” New Statesman 24 Nov. 1978: 717–18. Print.
Norwall, Ove, ed. Lutosławski. Copenhagen: Wilhelm Hansen, 1968. Print.
Pinter, Harold. “The Art of Theater No. 3.” Interview by Lawrence M. Bensky. The Paris Review 3 (Fall 1966): n. pag. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.
Pinter, Harold. Betrayal. New York: Grove, 1978. Print.
Pinter, Harold. “Nobel Lecture. Art, Truth & Politics.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2005. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.
Pinter, Harold. “The Birthday Party.” Complete Works: One. New York: Grove, 1978. 17–97. Print.
Pinter, Harold. “The Dumb Waiter.” Complete Works: One. New York: Grove, 1978. 127–65. Print.
Pinter, Harold. “The Homecoming.” Complete Works: Three. New York: Grove, 1978. 19–98. Print.
Pinter, Harold. “The Room.” Complete Works: One. New York: Grove, 1978. 99–126 Print.
Pinter, Harold. “Writing for the Theatre.” Complete Works: One. New York: Grove, 1978. 9–16. Print.
Smith, Ian, comp. Pinter in the Theatre. London: Hern, 2005. Print.
Styan, J. L. The Elements of Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1976. Print.
Sykes, Alrene. Harold Pinter. St Lucia: U of Queensland P, 1970. Print.
Taylor, John Russell. Anger and After. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963. Print.
Wästberg, Per. “The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005 - Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2005. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.