To what extent can The Homecoming by Harold Pinter be seen as a criticism of patriarchy?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Harold Pinter’s play can be viewed as both supporting and challenging patriarchy in late 20th-century England. Although he includes a range of characters who exert power over others, not all of the powerful individuals are men. It must still be considered, however, whether the presence of a few powerful women challenges the fundamentally patriarchal structure of society. Pinter’s critique is primarily associated with the individual characters, so it is left to the reader or audience to decide whether—and if so, to what extent—those individuals represent the larger society.

The contradictory elements between the idea of “home” as a nurturing environment and the fundamentally antagonisms between many of the characters suggests the playwright’s critical approach to social relationships. Although Max considers himself to be a powerful patriarch, he actually exerts little control over the other family members. His constant challenges to, and attempts to bully, his sons and...

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