Plays of Harold Pinter are not easy to understand. There are so many interpretations of his plays and Pinter has himself denied to be relevant in several interviews. When we talk about relationship we understand that chiefly it is about man-woman relationship. There are concepts of male bonding also but it is not an area of much interest. There are multiple themes in his writings and this is one of the main reasons that he is considered as a creative writer. We can find several forms of struggle in his plays where characters struggle for survival and domination. It is said that in any relationship understanding between two different individual acts like a pillar. This understanding can be equal or less but if the degree of understanding increases it tends to attain divinity. This divinity encourages us to make love and be happy as we find that the beloved cannot survive in the absence of her lover. It is equally applicable to the lover and we find that nothing can please the lover except his beloved. The relationship tends to decline if the understanding declines. In the plays of Pinter we can find that there is a continuous struggle not for survival but for domination. Characters are often in search of strategies to dominate over other characters. His female characters are blend of different attitudes or we can say that they are the admixture of circumstances which makes them a wife, mother or a whore. We can find Oedipus complex in several of his plays. This oedipal desire has a certain pattern and it can be seen in the characters like Meg, Flora, Rose, Sarah, Ruth and Stella. Pinter is concerned about the ways these women adopt to fulfill their desire. They want to lead their men folk. The main tool to achieve their goal is sexuality. I am reminded about A Greek comedy Lysistrata written by Aristophanes. In this comedy female characters uses their sexuality as a tool to stop war but in the plays of Pinter one can witness sexuality used as a tool to dominate men folk. There are no direct references of any sexual exploits but readers can figure it out by the use of language. Thus sexuality has been used as a dramatic device by the author.
In the first play entitled The Room we can find this dramatic device. One of the main characters in this play Rose is a sixty year old woman lives with Bert, her husband. He is a man of fifty and this age difference is also reflected in their relationship. She is over conscious for Bert’s food and illness. We can also find that she is continuously worried about her room. She fears that someone might dispossess her from her own room. Most of the time she lives in that room in such a manner that it seems that she is confined to that room. She feels insecure. In The Birthday Party the relationship is similar as we can find Meg and Stanley entrapped in similar kind of situation. We can witness the over solicitous infatuation of the character Meg for Stanley. She always carries his cup of tea to his room and it shows her devotion towards him. In the beginning we can hear “shouts from Stanley” and Meg laughs wildly. She understands that he will be lonely without her and that is why she asks him to accompany her:
Meg: “I’m going shopping in a minute.
Meg: You’ll be lonely, all by yourself…without your old Meg..”(p.19)
In the next play of Pinter A Slight Ache Flora is a lady who acts like mother-wife-whore. She mothers Edward in a manner so that he becomes a dull and impotent husband. When this happens her attention is transferred to the Matchseller. She is obsessed with sex and this can be found in the appeal which she makes to the matchseller.
“speak to me of love … Do you know when I was a girl I loved…I loved…I simply…Have you been rolling in mud?”(p.32)
Reader is reminded about her affinity of love making with mud once she was raped by a poacher in mud. She has now taken a decision that she is going to remove Edward from her life. Now she can find solace in the arms of the matchseller. Stella is the other character who is wife of James In The Collection. She is the central character in the play and readers find her very interesting. Harry and Bill are partners in almost all the activities. Harry becomes very jealous when a phone call comes to Bill from James. Harry asks if Bill has any secret connection but Bill denies. Story becomes more interesting when Bill is confronted by James who accuses him of sleeping with his wife. Here again Bill denies by saying that such activities are not in his Book. This line “Not in my book” indicates that Bill is not interested in women but men. In the play we can find some more hints of homosexuality from James who says to Stella-
“ I must admit we rather hit it off. We have got the same interest. He was most amusing over the brandy… in fact he was most amusing over the whole thing … He’s got the right attitude, you see. As a man I can only admit it… only after meeting him ..I’m perfectly happy. I can see it both ways, three ways, all ways… every way.”(p.143-144)
James reveals his knowledge of Bill’s homosexuality when he talks to Stella and says that he is reminded about Hawkins when he see Bill. Hawkins was his school mate who has also homosexual preferences. It is interesting to find that James is seen as a rival by Harry. He is so jealous seeing the bonding of Bill and James that he goes to James and reveals the slum origin and character of Bill. At last James reject Bill to win back his wife and goes to her. The Collection deals with sex as like a subject and in A Slight Ache we have seen Edward’s inability to satisfy his wife. The theme of homosexuality in The Collection is actually a kind of extension of The Dwarfs an earlier play.