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The characters of Harold Pinter's Betrayal are as follows:

Emma is the main character. In 1977, when the play "begins" (its action from scene to scene moves backward in time), she is 38. We are told she runs a gallery.

Jerry is Emma's lover, though their affair of seven years has ended by the start of the play. Jerry is apparently a literary agent and is (or was) the best friend of Emma's husband, Robert.

Robert is Emma's husband. He is a publisher. Both he and Jerry are 40 when the play begins.

A Waiter is a server in an Italian restaurant where Robert and Jerry are having lunch.

Various other characters who do not appear are mentioned, such as an author named Casey, whose agent is Jerry, Jerry's wife Judith, and the children of both couples.

This sort of bare-bones presentation of characters is in keeping with the sparse nature of Pinter's dialogue. The stage directions are minimal, and the reader or theatergoer must recreate the underlying thoughts and motivations of the characters.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Emma, Robert’s wife. Thirty-eight years old at the beginning of the play, which moves backward in time, Emma is dissatisfied in her marriage and ready to separate from her husband. Her marriage has failed because of an affair she had with her husband’s friend Jerry, a writer. Emma apparently also has been intimate with another writer, Roger Casey. Emma is angry because she believes that Robert has been unfaithful to her, yet she ascribes little importance to the fact that she has betrayed both Robert and Jerry. This obliviousness to the consequences of her own actions is a main facet of her character.


Jerry, a forty-year-old writer. Jerry is inherently a romantic, and it is this impulse that leads him to betray Robert, his best friend. Jerry’s affair with Robert’s wife, Emma, also betrays his own wife, Judith. Jerry instigated the affair with...

(The entire section is 493 words.)