Power of the Past: A Study of Harold Pinter’s Old Times
In most of his works, Pinter makes an exploration of memory; what is real and what is imaginary fuse together in his plays. Also Pinter has always made his characters use the gaps in their memory to their advantage. His works very often show his preoccupation with the elusive nature of human memory. However, from the late 1960s through the 1980s, Pinter composed a series of plays which focussed tenaciously on the overwhelming ambiguous nature of human memory. This particular era in the oeuvre of Pinter’s work is regarded by critics as the memory plays of Harold Pinter. The plays which come under this category include both masterpieces and some of his lesser known works. These are – Landscape (1968), Silence (1969), Night (1969), Old Times (1971), No Man’s Land (1975), The Proust Screenplay (1977), Betrayal (1978), Family Voices (1981), Victoria Station (1982), and A Kind of Alaska (1982).
The Old Times is one such play of Harold Pinter where the past and the memories of the past take the centre stage and is used by the characters to dominate over each other. Here, we can understand that the past has the power to destroy the present happiness and well being. In this play, the past plays an enigmatic and enthusiastic role in determining where the loyalties of the characters lie, thereby shaping and re shaping the relationships between characters.
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