DOMINATION, SERVITUDE AND COMMODITY FETISHISM IN HAROLD PINTER’S THE HOMECOMING

Journal of Language and Literary Studies 8 (5) (2022)
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Abstract

The struggle for domination clearly persists in The Homecoming as it does in almost all of Pinter’s works. Because of the vague atmosphere, enigmatic characters, and dark, tragicomic dialogue and action, a single decisive meaning for the play cannot be identified. Many character analyses have been carried out on the play, frequently focusing on Ruth and her decision at the end. Moreover, critics have sought to read the play in the light of psychoanalysis, centering on the characters’ past and complexes. By adding a sociopolitical dimension to purely realistic or symbolic readings, this article attempts to analyze the relationships of domination and servitude between characters at the micro-level of the family structure through Marx’s notions of fetishism in relations between individuals, and commodity fetishism as expounded by Slavoj Žižek. With the help of Žižek’s ideas on ideology, a new layer of sociopolitical signification to the relationships held between characters is added, particularly that between Ruth and the men, which is seen as a parallel to the macro-level fetishized relationships in pre-capitalist societies and commodity fetishism in a capitalist one.

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