Last Updated 09 Aug 2020

Character Analysis of Harold Pinter’s the Caretaker

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Erlina Suwardi

Character Analysis of Harold Pinter’s

The Caretaker In drama, characters play a dominant role in order to present the scenes. Whether good or bad the characters are, they are the ones who make the play and without them, there will be no play that can be presented. In this play, there are only three characters, the brothers, which are Aston and Mick, and the old tramp, Davies. It begins with Aston who brings Davies to his place owned by his brother, Mick. Aston allows and offers Davies, who seems to be homeless, to stay in his room. From the very beginning of the play until the end, the characters do not allow themselves to form a good relationship with one another, as they come and go without a certain purpose, and also their conversation seems often has no relevance to the situation they are in. Aston, the person who brings Davies to his place, is a mentally retarded man because of the brain treatment given to him forcefully by his mother and brother. Actually, Aston was a very talkative person before he was given the therapy. As he says, “ I thought…they understood what I said. I mean I used to talk to them. I talked too much. That was my mistake.

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The same in the factory. ” He used to question certain things in society and thus he is made mentally retarded. After that, Aston not only loses questioning ability but also hard to communicate properly. In my opinion, Aston’s weakness is trusting people too much. Aston even believes a person like Davies. As a result, he is betrayed by not only an intruder like Davies but also by his mother and brother. On the other hand, Davies is an old tramp which is homeless, in need of companionship, and a place to stay. It is Aston who shows some kind of kindness to Davies. He gets the opportunity to stay in Aston’s room. However, instead of enjoying what he has already got and been thankful, Davies always complains about a number of things, for example like shoes and the window. Davies is a kind of back-stabber person when he turns against Aston and asks Aston to leave from his own place, “.. Find somewhere else? Me? You talking to me?... Not me man, you! .. You better find somewhere else.. I live here. I have been offered a job here. I’m going to be his caretaker, he’s going to run this place, and I’m staying with him... He also seems to be a racist person not only to Black people but also to Greeks, Poles, and Scotch even though they do no harm to him. Mick, who plays the role of Aston’s brother, is the one who is actually responsible to treat Aston with brotherly affection. However, Mick treats Aston as the outsider. Moreover, Mick is also not a responsible person because he is trying to switch responsibility from himself to Davies by offering Davies to be a caretaker even though he knows that Davies is not a qualified person.

Though there is hope between the brothers to communicate with each other again when Mick smiles while looking at Aston at the end of the play, he does not stay or live with him. He chooses to leave Aston at the end. Overall, with these three different characters, the whole story just simply does not make any sense. It is illogical, conflictless, plotless, and meaningless and that is what is meant by the absurd play. Everything is pointless and beyond human rationality to understand. The absurd play came after World War II to represent freedom. It rebels against conventional plays which used to deal with language as a tool of logical communication and cause and effect relationships. However, the absurd authors seem to have reasons for the fight against society. They want to explain the society, the world, and life using a different point of view that life is indeed absurd. In this play, Pinter also reflects life, the absurdness of the world, and the poor communication among the characters. The play finally ends as it begins. All three characters remain separated from each other and continue to live life on their own.

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