JC2 Prelim exam. PINTER ESSAY QUESTION. 2012 JC2 Prelim exam: pinter. Qn : ‘Pinter presents life and its interactions as a game one has to play.’ How far do you find this a helpful comment in your reading of the play ? Key Words: ‘life and its interactions’
PINTER ESSAY QUESTION
Qn: ‘Pinter presents life and its interactions as a game one has to play.’ How far do you find this a helpful comment in your reading of the play?
‘life and its interactions’
– actions and dialogue/conversations
‘has to’ – unavoidable / inevitable / force
‘game’ – one of the central motifs
‘how far ….helpful…’ – in our understanding of the play’s central themes
We follow House Rules : “Play up, play up, and play the game.” GB pg 77
GB plays ‘the game’ - ‘follows the line’ but is still a hollow man unable to articulate his beliefs. ‘Because I believe that the world……..’
The rules of the game are articulated as empty commandments / cliches: ‘Honour thy father and mother’ , ‘learn by heart’ etc… Refer to pg77-78
Stanley is the rebel who breaks the rules of the ‘game’ – does not conform.
At the end, he is forced to ‘play’ ; given a ‘new identity’ that will reinforce his participation in the game.
The word ‘game’ gives a sense of levity or an appearance of ‘fun’ to what is essentially brutal and senseless control by the establishment / the govt / the organisation.
The ‘Game’ is a motif used to reflect the absurdity of life and its meaninglessness.
And the insidious control of the establishment.
Games to conceal/hide =>Cards are played very close to characters’ chests, so the reader/spectator is never in a position to understand what is really going on.
Language / conversation is used to hide the self rather than to reveal the self. eg GB’s language and use of empty cliches that hide more than they reveal – we never really know what he is thinking. We recognise his hypocrisy and ‘evil’ but the true self remains hidden; his past; his history and family too. Other characters too
EgPetey and chess-playing => is he deeper, more complex than what he projects? Chess is a game of mental strategy.
Language – in the play - is portrayed as a kind of game. Like games, language has its own rules and ‘moves’.
Speech acts like Threats/Flatteries are simply ‘moves’ a player makes. The Words convey no meaning but merely intention eg the Interrogation scene – the words in each qn convey little to no meaning but the intention is clear – to unsettle and ‘brainwash’ Stanley into losing his sense of self.
Most of the time, Characters distance themselves through ‘simulating’ speech.
From critic Roger Caillois
Games of conversation - as an evasion of hostility eg Stanley ‘simulates’ conversation – trying to strike up a conversation with McCann & GB initially to evade hostility.
Games of politeness - to smile away the barbarity of their lives eg Goldberg’s fake ‘friendliness’ – hides the brutality of his life; helps him to cope with it.
Games of concern - to avoid the awareness of one’s self-seeking interest egMeg ‘you stay with your old Meg’. [is it her own interests that drive her concern or genuine concern for Stanny?]
Games of love - as a defense against a hatred of indifference. Eg Meg’s ‘love’ for Stanley – a defense against her fear of indifference from the people around her : ‘He’s lived here for a while now and he’s my Stanny now’ – claims of a loving relationship.
Games of sincerity - to dispel the feeling that the word has no meaning whatever.
Goldberg talks about the meaning of words like ‘respect’ as if they still have meaning and value in the world today.
Critic Eric Berne: People play games to avoid the horrors of true intimacy.
=>creates the impression of life as an absurd game.