Harold Pinter's plays are considered comedies of menace, intrusion, and violence. What are the examples of violence in his The Caretaker?

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Although Aston has invited Davies into the home he shares with his brother Mick, Davies is clearly an intruder into their domestic arrangement. His presence destabilizes the uneasy equilibrium between the two brothers, as Mick clearly resents his presence. Whether any specific character can be said to represent menace is debatable; rather, the constant verbal antagonism, including threats of violence, as well as all the characters’ suspicious, if not outright paranoid, attitude toward society create an overall dark climate of hostility and danger.

Davies, through his demands and lies, quickly becomes an unwelcome guest. Mick’s physical violence—grabbing him around the neck—as an initial reaction to his suspicious presence immediately establishes his hostile personality and foreshadows that further violence will follow. For reasons that remain unspecified, the two brothers each offer Davies the position of “caretaker” in their home, and Davies hangs around for two weeks.

Although all three of them are definitely uncomfortable with each other, physical violence is not generally a manifestation of the conflict. It becomes clear that both brothers have some psychological problems and alternately draw Davies into their schemes. The characteristic Pinter touches that help make the play opaque are instances of errors, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and other incongruities, such as when Davies sends Aston to retrieve his bag from a restaurant and then insists that he has brought the wrong bag.

In act 3, Davies does indulge in violence; he makes threats with a knife and destroys property in the home. Ultimately, it seems that this violent behavior will compel the brothers to throw him out—but in Pinter’s world, one never knows.

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In the play The Caretaker by Harold Pinter, violence is very closely tied in with power. This starts right from the beginning of the play—Davies is rescued from the potentially dangerous situation of a fight. Aston then leaves the tramp in another potentially dangerous situation—alone, with the potential for angry treatment by Mick. Then Mick does attack Davies and afterward torments him with stories of turning him over to the police. These are all acts of overt or non-overt violence underlying the action. He bullies him some more with his intimidating nonstop questioning, frightening the old man and making him anxious and fearful. Mick then withholds the bag from Davies and uses a vacuum cleaner to threaten him. Davies, however, is the one with no power and nowhere to go at the end.

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