Obiettivi

Allowing the students to:
1. fully understand the main features of Pinter's works with a more specific focus on his The Caretaker;
2. improve their general knowledge of modern British drama;
3. enlarge their vocabulary through the study and acquisition of new words;
4. comprehend what lies behind the adjectives pinteresque and pinterish

Tempo di apprendimento

Apprendimento in: 4 hours

L'argomento

A How-To Guide

Stage 1 – On the online Text Bank of your textbook

1.1. Read Text Bank 130 [Harold Pinter] and do Exercise 1
Even in this case, just like it happened for John Osborne and Samuel Beckett, in the 1st paragraph there’s nothing more than a very short summary of Pinter’s life together with some information about his main works. Nonetheless, it says that Pinter is a master of the ‘comedy of menace’. But what is commonly defined as a comedy of menace?

A comedy of menace is a play in which the laughter of the audience in some or all situations is immediately followed by a feeling of some impending disaster. The audience is made aware of some menace in the very midst of its laughter. The menace is produced throughout the play from potential or actual violence or from an underline sense of violence throughout the play. The actual cause of menace is difficult to define: it may be because, the audience feels an uncertainty and insecurity throughout the play.

Source: engliteratureforall.blogspot.com

Moreover, the comedy of menace can also be defined as

a genre where the writer allows us to eavesdrop on the play of domination and submission hidden in the most mundane of conversations. In a typical Pinter play, we meet people defending themselves against intrusion or their own impulses by entrenching themselves in a reduced and controlled existence.

Source: nobelprize.org

In the remaining paragraphs it gives very useful information about his plays:

1. pattern;
2. characters;
3. atmosphere;
4. language.

that you should read carefully so as to be able to answer the attached questions.

1.2. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
Just read the two paragraphs about the plot and the setting. Concerning the plot, the division into three acts is quite helpful in allowing you to memorise its main events and the way in which they develop.

1.3. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
Read the two paragraphs about the characters and the style. About the characters, focus not only on the various differences between the intruder, Davies, and the two brothers, Mick and Aston, but also on their different relations with Davies. Then, for Further Reading, it’d be worthy to see the power relations within this trio, something the you could do reading the online resource Power relations in The Caretaker-Harold Pinter posted in Stage 2.

1.4. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
Read the Key Idea – Comic and tragic elements where you’ll see that what is comic lies just in Davies’s appearance and language, and in some of Mick’s actions and language, while everything else is definitely tragic. In addition, notice the possible similarities with Beckett’s rendering of comic elements mostly based on verbal or situational equivocations:

The Caretaker is a drama of mixed modes; both tragic and comic, it is a tragicomedy. Elements of comedy appear in the monologues of Davies and Mick, and the characters’
interactions at times even approach farce. For instance, the first scene of Act Two, which critics have compared to the hat and shoe sequences in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, is particularly farcical:

ASTON offers the bag to DAVIES.
MICK grabs it.
ASTON takes it.
MICK grabs it.
DAVIES reaches for it.
ASTON takes it.
MICK reaches for it.
ASTON gives it to DAVIES.
MICK grabs it. Pause.

Davies’ confusion, repetitions, and attempts to deceive both brothers and to play each one against the other are also farcical. Davies has pretended to be someone else and using an assumed name, “Bernard Jenkins”. But, in response to separate inquiries by Aston and Mick, it appears that Davies’ real name is not really “Bernard Jenkins” but that it is “Mac Davies” and that he is actually Welsh and not English, a fact that he is attempting to conceal throughout the play and that motivates him to “get down to Sidcup”, the past location of a British Army Records Office, to get his identity “papers”. existence.

Source: literature-culture.blogspot.com

Now you are supposed to be able to do Exercise 1 – COMPETENCE: READING AND UNDERSTANDING INFORMATION on the same page so as to sum up and/or test your knowledge of The Caretaker.

Stage 2 – Online

2.1. Comedy of menace (Video Resource)

More information about what a comedy of menace is supposed to be.
Very informative and clearly expressed. Notice that the photograph at 0:16 portrays Harold Pinter and not Irvin Wardle as the caption erroneously reads.

2.2. Harold Pinter as a Distinguished Playwright of the 20th Century & his Work (Online Reading)

read it online

Improve and organise your knowledge of Pinter’s drama reading the sections regarding the paragraphs about:

1. The comedy of menace
2. The comparison with Samuel Beckett

The other ones are at your choice and for further study only.

2.3. The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (Video Resource)

Very short but nonetheless useful to grasp the main elements of the play’s plot. Notice that 1:58 she erroneously says that The Caretaker is “one of those novels” meaning instead “one of those plays”. You can skip the part after 2:15 since is just a personal judgement of the speaker.

2.4. Power relations in The Caretaker-Harold Pinter (online Resource)

read it online

A very short study on the power relations among The Caretaker characters. For Further Reading.

3.1. Testing yourselves
Do the attached test and grade your knowledge.

0

IMPORTANT
You have 1 minute to complete it.

Time is over.


Harold Pinter & "The Caretaker"

1 / 10

The play is most renowned for its

2 / 10

What is Mick and Aston's communication like?

3 / 10

Harold Pinter is often compared to

4 / 10

Bill Naismith notes that one of the characters, "is a survivor, and though living on the absolute fringe of society and fearful of all authority he shows determination and spirit." Who may he be referring to?

5 / 10

Mick says that Davies claimed to be a/an

6 / 10

Why is Davies ultimately kicked out of the room?

7 / 10

The Caretaker can be defined as

8 / 10

Together with "Pinteresque" and "Pinterish", one of the following is an expression applied to Pinter's plays too.

9 / 10

The play was first performed in

10 / 10

Which of the characters underwent a psychiatric treatment?

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Attività

Stage 1 – On the online Text Bank of your textbook
Stage 2 - Online

1.1. Read Text Bank 130 [Harold Pinter] and do Exercise 1.
1.2. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
1.3. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
1.4. Read Text Bank 131 [The Caretaker]
2.1. Comedy of menace (Video Resource)
2.2. Harold Pinter as a Distinguished Playwright of the 20th Century & his Work (Online Reading)
2.3. The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (Video Resource)
2.4. Power relations in The Caretaker-Harold Pinter (Online Resource)
3.1. Testing yourselves (Online Resource)

Verifica apprendimento

Exercise 1 on Text Bank 130

Exercise 1 - COMPETENCE: READING AND UNDERSTANDING INFORMATION on Text Bank 131

Risorse