Last Updated on November 23, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 484
In scene 1, Jerry is trying to subtly ask Emma if she is having an affair with Casey. Then, Emma and Jerry discuss their previous affair. Emma reveals that her husband, Robert, had also been cheating on her for four years. Everyone seems to betray everyone. Jerry claims that he had no idea that Robert had been cheating on Emma. Given that everyone seems to be cheating on their significant others, this is ironic and comedic. There is also some foreshadowing. Jerry was ignorant of Robert's affair; Jerry will learn (in scene 2) that Robert knew of Jerry and Emma's affair for years. Jerry says to Emma:
What a funny thing. We were such close friends, weren't we? Robert and me, even though I haven't seen him for a few months, but through all those years, all the drinks, all the lunches . . . we had together, I never even gleaned . . . I never suspected that there was anyone else . . . in his life but you.
This underscores Jerry's incredulity. Jerry is unable or unwilling to notice Robert's infidelity and the fact that Robert knew of Jerry's and Emma's affair. Perhaps a point Pinter is making is that within this culture of rampant betrayal, some betrayals are easy to overlook. The characters remain nonchalant and composed when they talk about betrayal. It is as if they have grown comfortable with it.
In scene 2, Robert tells Jerry that he thinks his wife (Emma) is having an affair with Casey. He says it as a matter of everyday fact:
I bumped into old Casey the other day. I believe he's having an affair with my wife. We haven't played squash for years, Casey and me. We used to have a damn good game.
Again, the fact of the betrayal does not affect other aspects of their social or business relationships. Pinter presents these characters in a very cold and chilling way. It is as if betrayal is acceptable as long as they agree to not let it upset their social structure.
Robert, who may be the coldest character of them all, tells Jerry of his trip to Torcello in scene 7:
I was alone for hours, as a matter of fact, on the island. Highpoint, actually, of the whole trip.
This trip is when Robert had his first hint that Emma and Jerry were having an affair. This might be why he says this to Jerry, as it is a subtle way of addressing the affair. It also suggests that being alone is the only way to be happy because it is the only way to avoid betrayal.
The play is written (mostly) from the present to the past. Betrayals are revealed, and then affairs are described. Therefore, there is less tension regarding the characters' anxiety about being caught. This helps make the betrayals and their revelations less dramatic and less emotionally shocking. This parallels the nonchalant way the characters deal with betrayal.