The Language of 20th Century Drama- Harold Pinter


We had an amazing hour today listening to Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech. This is one of the most extraordinary documents by one of the 20th Century’s greatest playwrights. In his speech, as in his plays, he dares to reveal that most of the language that is used on this planet is a tissue of lies. He speaks powerfully against the way aggressive imperialist nations – like America and England (and their followers)- sabotage the truth by distorting language to describe events. In this way Pinter is very close to George Orwell who thought that by purifying the way language is used we might change the direction in which the world seems to moving.

Blog Topics:

1/ Select a single idea from Pinter’s Nobel Acceptance speech and comment on what you think is the value of its insight into the nature of language.

2/ Find out what the world reaction was to Pinter’s Nobel speech. Was it listened to? Was there any positive feedback?

3/ “Dramatic stratagems to uncover nakedness”. This is one description of Pinter’s plays. Do you understand how this might apply to The Dumb Waiter. 

4/ Write a mini play (with two characters). See if you can allow the characters to speak for themselves in the way that Pinter so beautifully describes at the start of his Nobel speech.

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