Harold Pinter: The Birthday Party

(1825 words)
  • Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)

The Birthday Party is composed of three acts, and is set in a seedy boarding house, run by Meg and Petey, a couple in their sixties. There is only one boarder, Stanley, a scruffy, depressed-looking man in his late thirties who has apparently been a professional pianist. There are three figures who arrive in the boarding house from the outside world: Lulu, a young woman who tries without success to get Stanley to go out with her; Goldberg, a powerful and threatening Jewish man in his fifties; and McCann, an Irishman in his thirties, taciturn and menacing. Goldberg and McCann have a distinct air of the bogus about them, as if they were parodying their respective Jewishness and Irishness. It becomes clear that they have come in …

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Wyllie, Andrew. "The Birthday Party". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 February 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1449, accessed 28 November 2015.]