The Silencing of Dissent: Harold Pinter’s Bleak Political Vision Cover Image

The Silencing of Dissent: Harold Pinter’s Bleak Political Vision
The Silencing of Dissent: Harold Pinter’s Bleak Political Vision

Author(s): Paulina Mirowska
Subject(s): British Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego
Keywords: silencing of dissent;Harold Pinter;Bleak Political Vision
Summary/Abstract: The article centres upon one of Harold Pinter’s last plays, Celebration, first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, on 16 March 2000. Similarly to Party Time, a dystopian political play written almost a decade earlier, Celebration pursues the theme of a sheltered zone of power effectively marginalising a social “other.” This time, however, Pinter adopts the mode of comedy to dramatise the fragile and circumscribed existence of dissent and the moral coarseness of complacent elites. The article traces a number of intriguing analogies between Celebration and Pinter’s explicitly political plays of the 1980s and 1990s dealing with the suppression of dissident voices by overwhelming structures of established power. It is demonstrated how – despite the play’s fashionable restaurant setting, ostensibly far removed from the torture sites of One for the Road, Mountain Language and The New World Order – Pinter succeeds in relating the insulated world of Celebration to the harsh reality of global oppression. What is significant, I argue here against interpreting the humorous power inversions of the social behaviour in Celebration as denoting any fundamental changes in larger sociopolitical structures. It is rather suggested that the play reveals the centrality of Pinter’s scepticism about the possibility of eluding, subverting or curtailing the silencing force of entrenched status quo, implying perpetual nature of contemporary inequities of power. I also look at how the representatives of the empowered in-group in the play contain transgressing voices and resort to language distortion to vindicate oppression.

  • Page Range: 79-91
  • Page Count: 13
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Language: English