The Birthday Party By Harold Pinter

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Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party is a play which sheds light on the pathology of abjection and violence both physical and verbal and its effect on its victim - Stanley- the protagonist of the play. Stanley is an artist who has isolated himself from a totalitarian state or organization for reasons left undisclosed in the play by Pinter. Since Pinter as a Jew grew up during the time of the Holocaust and the Second World War, Stanley seems to represent the author’s existential anxiety. It can be assumed that the fear of the materiality and fragility of identity and existence caused by totalitarian states and social pathologies like War, Holocaust, poverty, racial discrimination or any human rights abuse causes Stanley to become paranoid and…show more content…
I don 't think it is all that surrealistic and curious because surely this thing, of people arriving at the door, has been happening in Europe in the last twenty years. (qtd. in Esslin 36)
This knock at the door is suggestive of the trepidation and helplessness felt by the Jewish communities in Europe on account of the genocide triggered during the Nazi regime. The knocking device is also indicative of an entry into the world of the abject to destroy its threatening physiognomies and to force it to conform to the prevailing norms and standards of the society. When the door is opened two mysterious emissaries, Goldberg and McCann enter and along with them enters the menace which destabilizes the miserable apathy of the boarding house and Stanley’s initial hostile melancholy transitions later into a nervous breakdown. Goldberg and McCann who represent an unnamed organization come to the boarding house to do a job. Pinter as usual does not tell the readers what their job actually is and what the organization stands for. He deliberately leaves out the details so that the readers can question the legality and sanctity of the building blocks of all organizations social, political, cultural etc. Likewise Pinter does not give any information about Stanley’s past. Though the present is an outcome of past contemplations and actions, Pinter does not reveal the past as he wants the audience to think about the various
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