The most significant dramatic device used in Harold Pinter's Betrayal is his use of reverse chronological order. Of course this is not the traditional way a play or story unfolds, so his choice deserves some attention.
A traditional story unfolds, from beginning to end, and we are along for the journey. We watch, follow, and listen, and we live the experiences as they happen to the characters. When something happens in the present, we do not have any real sense of how that action, conversation, or response is going to impact the characters or situation in the future. A careless word or incident today might turn out to be a turning point in a relationship or the cause of a tragic fall, but we do not know it yet.
In this story, we know the end at the beginning. This gives us a complete awareness of how the story ends, and the going back allows us to see, step by painful step, exactly how that ending happened. We see things with foresight instead of hindsight.
Not surprisingly, this play...
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