All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

John W Hutchings

Advisory Committee Members

Alison Chapman

Lila M Graves

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


The focus of this research is to investigate the influence of torture on the development of Harold Pinter's plays throughout his career. Although torture has a strong presence in Pinter's more political works, there has been little scholarship in examining this same presence in his earlier plays such as The Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party, and The Homecoming. By reading these works with the processes of torture and power structures as defined by Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain as well as Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, the otherwise comedic interactions in the initial plays become something far more sinister and terrifying. With this reading in mind, the development of interaction in Pinter's works becomes a mirror of the development of torture as a process and practice beginning in the home that expands into a necessity for entire countries to maintain control over occupied areas. In this way, the most basic of conversations in Pinter's plays are carefully calculated in attempts to either maintain dominance over other participants or a means of taking control away from a would-be dominator.



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