Humane Realism: Consolidation of the New Image

  • Elizabeth Sakellaridou


In Pinter’s most recent work for the theatre and the cinema from 1978 to the present the development of his female characterisation reaches a final stage of fullness and perfection. The period includes Betrayal, Family Voices, A Kind of Alaska and the screenplay The French Lieutenant’s Woman, based on John Fowles’s novel. While Pinter makes a clear and decisive return to realism with Betrayal (1978), this is no longer the limited realism of his earlier years which adopted a biased male standpoint. His passage through the inner world of memory and emotion has led him to new revelations and new insights about human nature, particularly that of the woman. His perspective both widens and softens. His women attain full human dimensions and a solid unified character. Emma in Betrayal and Sarah in The French Lieutenant’s Woman appear to have a mature and rounded feminine personality. Deborah, the heroine in A Kind of Alaska, goes beyond the limits of her feminine nature and stands for the drama of the existential man as it had been previously illustrated through the austerely male cast of The Caretaker and No Man’s Land. Even when the woman is seen from a more limited scope which confines her, for example, to the stereotyped and archetypal role of the mother, as in Family Voices, even then her presentation is still more humane and personal than before. The new image of the woman that Pinter conceived so many years previously as an independent, autonomous entity is at last established and consolidated.


Male Character Male Friend Girl Baby Humane Realism Birthday Party 
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Copyright information

© Elizabeth Sakellaridou 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Sakellaridou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ThessalonikiGreece

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