Research Proposal: Pinter Absurd the Violation of Aristotelian Convention

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Pinter Absurd

The Violation of Aristotelian Convention and the Establishment of the Theatre of the Absurd in the Major Works of Harold Pinter

In this study, the violation of traditional (Aristotelian) dramatic convention and structure in the works of Harold Pinter is explored. Specifically, the plays the Room, the Birthday Party, the Caretaker, and the Homecoming are analyzed to illustrate the major points of divergence in the conception of plot and character between the Aristotelian model and the theatre of the absurd as seen in Pinter's work. The several similarities that exist between Aristotelian drama and the theatre of the absurd are also identified and explored.

Though Pinter was not considered one of the founding playwrights of the theatre of the absurd, his work has generally been included in discussions of this mid-twentieth century theatrical movement by subsequent scholarship. As such, marked differences can be shown to exist between Pinter's dramatic construction and conventions and those described by Aristotle in his Poetics, which formed the foundation of dramatic convention and construction for most of Western history. The differences observed in the theatre of absurd, and specifically in the works of Pinter, do not constitute a mere break with Aristotelian convention, however, but rather the establishment of a new set of conventions and practices purposefully and consciously meant to make new points and establish new meanings (or lack thereof) in the theatrical works of the mid-twentieth century.

One of the aims of this study would be to establish these principles, meanings, and conventions insofar as they can be identified in the works of Harold Pinter, with reference to other plays of the genre and an examination of scholarship related to the theatre of the absurd as a whole. The individual plays examined and the specific elements of their construction, however -- especially character and plot, as these concepts are central both to Aristotelian drama and the theatre of the absurd -- will serve as the primary method of entry into this investigation. Through the examination of specific details in the Room, the Birthday Party, the Caretaker, and the Homecoming, an understanding of the basic conventions of the theatre of the absurd as identified in scholarship can be achieved.

Language is also an essential aspect of the theatre of the absurd, as Is evidenced in the Room and the Caretaker especially. The nonsensical language that Pinter employs in these plays, especially the single words and phrases uttered seemingly at random by certain of the characters, mark the breakdown of communication that is a hallmark of the theatre of the absurd and at the same time renders Aristotelian drama impossible. The fluidity and impermanence of identity and thought that is seen in the theatre of the absurd, and especially in the works of Harold Pinter, make the construction of plot -- the central element of a successful play according to the Aristotelian model -- impossible to conceive in traditional terms. Setting and time become essential to meaning, but do not influence plot.

Objectives

The primary objective of the study will be to analyze the concrete differences that exist between Aristotelian drama and the theatre of the absurd as interpreted from the plays of Harold Pinter, and an attempt at identifying the dramatic effect of these differences and changes. Aristotle's outline of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Pinter Absurd the Violation of Aristotelian Convention.  (2009, October 6).  Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/pinter-absurd-violation-aristotelian/91366

MLA Format

"Pinter Absurd the Violation of Aristotelian Convention."  6 October 2009.  Web.  21 October 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/pinter-absurd-violation-aristotelian/91366>.

Chicago Format

"Pinter Absurd the Violation of Aristotelian Convention."  Essaytown.com.  October 6, 2009.  Accessed October 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/pinter-absurd-violation-aristotelian/91366.