Can someone relate to me what the theme of menace and the theme of identity in The Caretaker is all about?


The Caretaker

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kc4u's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

It was Irving Wardle who first called Pinter's early plays "Comedy of Menace." The Caretaker is one of them. Menace in Pinter is like a hidden evil, which is not specifically located in anything, any character or so on. It pervades the human condition, underlying all situations and the basic ambiance. It operates strongly through language as in the Interrogation scenes in The Birthday Party. Menace as a theme is closely associated with the Absurdist vision of a world sans signification and in the late political plays, Pinter shows us the polemics of menace. Menace also has a lot to do with relativity--a marginal figure or element becoming central all of a sudden in a subversive act as in A Slight Ache. Menace is also tied up with the fragmentation as well as the general shiftiness of the ego or the identity. The menaced figure is invariably stripped of his identity.

In The Caretaker, Davies is the menaced protagonist exemplifying the tragic human condition. He does not have the papers that prove his identity, with him. It is there in a place called Sidcup with a man he knew during the War. He wants to return to the place and revive his papers but the "weather" as he says, does not allow. He waits for "the weather to break." One may also assume that the reason why Mick and Aston all of a sudden change their mind and decide not to have Davies as a caretaker, has also to do with his unverified identity and multiple names. Davies's last speech suggests this. "The Caretaker" is like a stable name that Davies wants to get as an anchor-point to his wavering trampish identity but is denied it, in a menacing way at the end. As Pinter seems to imply, in the final run, there is no one to care-take human existence.

mamba86's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

This play is a comedy of menace- the menace is Davis, as he threatens the relationship between Mick and Aston, he is the menace that comes from the outside and initiates in the inside.

doody's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)

manance is not an English word.
and the theme of identity I'm waiting to see specific answers to comment on .

madteaparty42's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

manance is not an english word. In Romanian it means to eat. Can you clarify your question?

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