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Article Title

Pinter's The Homecoming: Displacing and Repeating Ibsen

Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Henrik Ibsen: "A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society... Notes for A Doll House

Teddy (to Ruth): "They're my family. They're not orgres." Harold Pinter, The Homecoming

I

What is a home? In drama it is often not a safe place to visit or return to. The homecoming theme, which is so central to the history of drama, reveals that the home is haunted by past crimes, usually concerning sexual matters and the misuse of power. Oresteia, Oedipus the King, Hamlet, Ghosts - here is the main line of the dramatic tradition. In this homecoming story two themes are brought together: (1) the sexual definition of woman as either good wife and abiding mother or adulterer and unworthy mother and (2) the struggle of sons against fathers, of young men against false father figures, of children against parents. The corruption of the blood ties these two themes together. Pollution, contamination, disease - metaphors of sickness run through these plays.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.

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