‘What can be meant by living in the dark’: The Construction of Self-hood, Fantasy and Desire in Harold Pinter’s Night, Landscape and Silence

Essay by paulcadUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2014

download word file, 34 pages 0.0

Downloaded 1 times


'What can be meant by living in the dark': The Construction of Self-hood, Fantasy and Desire in Harold Pinter's Night, Landscape and Silence

This dissertation will examine Harold Pinter's plays, Night, Silence and

Landscape, through a Freudian lens. Looking at the psychological motivations that

lead into the character's alienated existences. I will examine and explore the

biological drives and instincts that lead the characters to construct identities and

invent realities in which they seek comfort. This dissertation will examine the

biological forces that prevent characters from achieving solace in the physical world;

they are drawn instead, toward a deep-rooted, infantile longing for the security of the

mother. This psychoanalytical interrogation will continue through a Lacanian

methodology, to provide further psychological causes and insight into the worlds of

fantasy that all of the characters so far discussed inhabit, to varying degrees. Through

a Lacanian lens, I will examine the inability of the characters to achieve truth, and a

fixed stable identity through language. I will suggest that there are no absolute truths

for the characters in the plays examined; rather truth is relative, and entirely

dependent on perspective.

Each of the three plays, Landscape, Silence and Night, deal with themes of

authority, identity, conflict and desire. Landscape was first performed in the Aldwych

theatre accompanied by Silence. Night, performed in 1969, was part of the revue:

Mixed Doubles: An Entertainment on Marriage at the Comedy Theatre, London. The

central theme of Night is memory; each character re-constructs memories in

accordance with present needs and desires. This play portrays two characters in their

forties, designated in the stage directions simply as 'Man' and 'Woman,' reminiscing

about the circumstances under which they met, and the immediate events thereafter.

The couple agrees that they first met at a party hosted by friends of...