The Caretaker by Harold Pinter breaks the boundaries of the classical dramatic genres. What is more, he also abandons the concept of the classical tragic hero described by Aristotle and uses the more modern idea presented by Arthur Miller in his essay Tragedy and the Common Man. Additionally, in his Poetics, Aristotle set number of guidelines by which the dramatic works should be arranged and what crucial elements of the dramatics works, the playwrights should consider and follow. However, in The Caretaker, Harold Pinter do not follow those patterns, instead he blends genres such as, tragedy, comedy, farce, realism, naturalism and the Theatre of the Absurd. This mixture of various styles is essential to the entire play but also to the specific elements of the play. Namely, those are the language, the plot and the interaction between characters.
In his Poetics Aristotle claims that the primary purpose of a good tragedy is to invoke both pity and fear. In order to do so, the tragic hero has to be highly renowned and prosperous person. Only then it is possible to present the change in fortune from good to bad due to some extreme error made by the hero. However, Harold Pinter in The Caretaker does not follow any of those rules. The main characters are ordinary men. They have flaws but they are not predestined to commit a critical mistake which would henceforth, affect their lives and their surroundings. As a result, the presentation of the tragic hero in reference to The Caretaker is similar to the one portrayed in the Arthur Miller’s essay Tragedy and the Common Man who explains that common people are equally important to be a subject of a tragedy as the high lords or the kings. Unlike the high-borne, common people usually trying to go from bad to good. For instance, Davies who is a homeless man strives to improve his social standing. In other instances common tragic heroes may also face
Aristotle also mentions that the tragedy should have a high style and an embellished language. Nonetheless, the language in The Caretaker is not sophisticated and there are many repetitions and vernacular words. Most of the dialogues are written in a very simple language and the characters discuss on various occasions trivial matters. For example, Aston and Davies often talk about the shoes which are important to the play but nevertheless; the topic of the discussion is frivolous. If we were to compare the style, the language and the dialogues of The Caretaker with the ancient tragedies, the initial would have a plain style, simplistic language and uncomplicated dialogues.
As it was mentioned at the beginning of this essay, Harold Pinter in The Caretaker blends different dramatic genres which was not common among the classical plays. Those were usually pure tragedies or comedies, whereas Pinter combines three different dramatic genres with two major literary movements and one theatrical school. This experiment gave a new quality to the theatre, which...