Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party

Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)
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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 pursuit of Stanley, to wreak vengeance upon him for a past…

1825 words

Citation: Wyllie, Andrew. "The Birthday Party". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 February 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1449, accessed 16 July 2024.]

1449 The Birthday Party 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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