Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter : a comparative study
Heiken, Patricia M.
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The Theatre of the Absurd is a reflection of contemporary attitudes: the absurdity of man's condition in an uncertain universe, the elusiveness of truth or of any absolute, the alienation of man, the break-down of language. Two of its successful exponents in the English-speaking world are Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. The purposes of this study are to examine the major works of these two dramatists in order to compare their ideas and methods in dealing with contemporary problems and to examine Beckett's influence on Harold Pinter. This study finds that it is pertinent to use the works of Samuel Beckett as a frame of reference for the early works of Harold Pinter, that the influence of Samuel Beckett is discernible in certain techniques of Pinter, and that there are resemblances between them. The conclusions are that Beckett's influence does not pervade Pinter's work but that it recalls an occasional similarity of mood, thought or technique and that it is a more indirect result of dealing with certain contemporary problems with which the Theatre of the Absurd is concerned.