By comparing 'The Homecoming' with at least one other appropriate play, discuss the importance of violence in post 1945 drama.

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David Pollon                                                                                                                                      08/05/2007

The Homecoming

By comparing ‘The Homecoming’ with at least one other appropriate play, discuss the importance of violence in post 1945 drama

Up until 1945, the world has endured decades of war and violence which affected the lives of everyone through the duration of it. It affected the way people lived, the way people worked and even how plays were written. Since the war, violence has subsequently become one of the key themes in post 1945 plays such as Pinter’s ‘The Homecoming’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ by Edward Albee.

        Although both plays include the theme of violence, they contrast with one another. This is because Harold Pinter expresses violence to the audience in a subtle, unusual way which is dissimilar to Albee’s play. In The Homecoming, there are no scenes of physical violence. It consists of a house filled with male characters where hostility is an accepted constituent of their lifestyle through the use of verbal warfare so to speak. This reflects the situation in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. In Albee’s play, George and Martha find themselves in the same situation as violence is an accepted part of their lifestyle too. This play however, demonstrates more direct acts of violence such as the incident where Martha is consistently teasing George about his novel and, despite numerous warnings from George, he lashes out and strangles her Martha by the throat until Nick shoves him off.

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        I think the theme of violence is an important topic within post 1945 plays, if used effectively. This is because it unlocks a whole new generation of drama which enables new levels of excitement. The storyline in The Homecoming may be implausible, yet the violence in the play are very accurate to reality as Pinter documents the domestic aspects of human nature.

        In Pinter’s ‘The Homecoming’, there is a ruthless battle for territory and power, with Max losing his position within the household and Lenny somewhat taking the dominant role. This conflict reflects the conflict in Who’s Afraid of ...

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