“The Homecoming” by Harold Pinter

When asked what his favorite play was, Harold Pinter would always say it was the Homecoming. “I like the shape of it. It has a kind of authority which I enjoy”.

The scene is set in a family house.  The family consists of a butcher (father), a boxer (brother), a pimp (brother) and a chauffeur (uncle).  The eldest son, a professor of philosophy, comes home for a visit with his wife, whom the father mistakes for a whore and who seems to arouse the men. After much power struggles, they kick out the philosopher but keep the whore  in the house.

On the one hand, the play is about the pervasiveness of violence (as the occupations of the men hint at), especially violence against and sexual exploitation of women. Even the chauffeur uncle provides the vehicle for such exploitation, as he reveals the secret in the family near the end of the play. On the other hand, it is about the basic human instincts and needs for intimacy and tenderness, which are more powerful than philosophies in determining the actions of individuals.

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