The Homecoming is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1964. It tells the story of a family of men who live together in a London house, and the arrival of their brother Teddy and his wife Ruth, who has been living in America. The play is known for its complex characters and the use of language to convey meaning and power dynamics.
The main characters of The Homecoming are the members of the family: Max, Lenny, Joey, Sam, and Teddy. Max is the patriarch of the family and runs a seedy pub in London. He is a manipulative and domineering figure, and uses his power to control the other members of the family. Lenny is Max’s son and works at the pub, and is also involved in illegal activities. Joey is another son, and is a failed boxer who lives at home and doesn’t have a job. Sam is Max’s brother and lives with the family, and is a retired chauffeur. Teddy is the youngest son and is a philosophy professor, and has been living in America with Ruth.
The play begins with Teddy and Ruth arriving at the family home after being away for six years. The family is surprised to see Ruth, as they did not know Teddy was married. Max immediately begins to try and assert his dominance over Ruth, and the other family members follow his lead. Ruth, however, is not intimidated by Max and stands up to him, causing tension within the family.
As the play progresses, it becomes clear that the family sees Ruth as a potential source of income, and they begin to try and convince her to work as a prostitute at the pub. Ruth initially resists, but eventually agrees to the arrangement. The other family members are pleased, as they see this as a way to increase their profits.
The play explores themes of power, control, and the roles of men and women in society. Max is the dominant figure in the family, and he uses his power to control the other members. The other family members are all submissive to Max and do as he says. Ruth, however, challenges this dynamic and refuses to be controlled by Max. This causes tension within the family and ultimately leads to a shift in the power dynamic.
The use of language is also a key element of The Homecoming. Pinter’s writing is known for its use of silence and pauses, and the characters in The Homecoming often use language to convey meaning and manipulate each other. For example, Max often uses language to assert his dominance over the other characters, while Ruth uses it to challenge his authority.
Overall, The Homecoming is a powerful and thought-provoking play that explores themes of power, control, and gender roles. Its complex characters and use of language make it a classic of modern theatre, and it continues to be performed and studied around the world.