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Major themes of The Caretaker

The Caretaker is a play that stimulates its audience to a wide range of topics,  and on a number of levels but leaves the audience to draw their own conclusions.  It deals with various ideas and suggestion which are the reasons for its wide popularity . The major themes of the play are: loneliness and isolation,  personal identity , lack of communication,  violence and menace, love of power , primitive instincts,  human nature, dreams and illusions,  etc.

Let us now discuss some of the themes:

(I) Loneliness and isolation :

Loneliness is The Caretaker is largely expressed through the characters of Davies and Aston. Davies is alone when Aston rescues him from the brawl at the cafe , and after a brief interlude he is left alone again at the end of the play . Davies is an outcast,  a vagrant, cut off from society but Pinter's double -edged vision shows that some of this isolation is self -imposed . Davies is aggressive , truculent , and unstable.
Aston's isolation is a different case. His offer to Davies of a room and a job ,and his kindness towards him, suggest a man desperate for human companionship ,as isolated and lonely in his way as Davies is in his.  Yet Aston's isolation is not as simple as that of Davies, and springs from a different cause . Aston's fault seems to have been exactly the opposite ; he seems to have trusted people too much.

(ii) Lack of communication:

Loneliness and communication are closely linked. The characters in The Caretaker hsve a desperate yearning to communicate with their fellows but time and again they are thwarted in this desire . The words go out from the mouth of the speaker , but either fail to arrive or fail to say what is meant . Even when something is said , it is misunderstood . This happens to Aston at the end of Act Two when he speaks of his experience in the hospital .

(iii) Violence and menace:

Pinter is expert in creating a dramatic world in which violence and menace exist in disguise.  For example,  Mick represents someone who finds pleasure in frightening others. His movements are often swift and silent ; he is unpredictable in his behaviour, subjecting Davies to physical violence at first and then to more subtle but very unsettling exhibitions of verbal menace.

To sum up, Harold Pinter's Caretaker is a small play of three acts but within this brief compass the playwright has left scope for various interpretations . The picture of human nature that Pinter presents is not a pleasant one. He seems to suggest that beneath the civilized exterior of people there lurks a basic savagery and primitive instinct for domination over others.
Harold Pinter's Caretaker theme


Unknown said...

This explanation just like our study guide,there no extra information, so sad

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