Is Harold Pinter's play "The Homecoming" an absurdist drama?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, Pinter's play is not absurdist drama. The setting is realistic, there is one basic plot with no subplots, and the language is realistic--qualities not found in absurdism.

"The Homecoming" is a "comedy of menace," a phrase coined by drama critic Irving Wardle to describe the plays of Harold Pinter and David Campton. What that means is that even though these plays may be funny, the laughter they induce may be nervous giggles rather than light-hearted fun. It's like watching a person trip and fall down: we know the person might have been hurt, but we just can't help laughing.

The web site Books and Writers ( notes that

Pinter's major plays originate often from a single, powerful visual image. They are usually set in a single room, whose occupants are threatened by forces or people whose precise intentions neither the characters nor the audience can define. The struggle for survival or identity dominates the action of his characters. Language is not only used as a means of communication but as a weapon. Beneth the words, there is a silence of fear, rage and domination, fear of intimacy.

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