1. NAME – NIYATIVYAS
ROLL NO. 14
SEM – 2
PAPER NO. 10A
PAPER NAME - History of English Literature – From
1900 to 2000
TOPIC NAME – CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF
COMEDY OF MENACE
SUBMITTED TO – PROF. DILIP BARAD
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
2. WHAT IS COMEDY OF MENACE
■ Comedy of menace is a term used to describe the plays of
David Campton & Harold Pinter by drama critic Irving wardle.
■ Borrowed from the subtitle of campton’s play,
■ ‘THE LUNATICVIEW : A COMEDY OF
■ ‘Comedy of menace’ and ‘Comedies of menace’ caught on
and have been used generally in advertisement and in critical
Account, notices and reviews to describe
■ Pinter’s early plays and some of his work as well.
3. ■ The comedy of menace is a tragedy with a number of
■ It is a comedy which also produces an overwhelming
■ Throughout the play we are kept amused and yet
throughout the play we find ourselves also on the
brink of terror.
■ Some indefinable and vague fear keeps our nerves on
■ We feel uneasy all the time even when we are
laughing or smiling with amusement .
■ This dual quality gives to the play a unique character.
4. ■ “MORE OFTENTHAN NOTTHE SPEECH ONLY
SEEMS To BE FUNNYTHE MAN IN QUESTION
IS ACTUALLY FIGHTING A BATTLE FOR HIS LIFE.”
5. ■ PINTER’S COMEDY OF MENACE have a rather simplistic
setting they might focus on one or two powerful images and
usually are set in just one room.
■ A powerful force that isn’t specially defined to the audience
threatens character in the play.
■ The atmosphere of menace is also created by pinter’s ability
to drop suddenly from a high comic level to one of deep
■ By this technique the audience is made aware that the
comedy is only at surface layer.
■ The sudden outbreaks of violence in the play confirms this
and leave the audience unsure of what will come next?.
■ Thus, to conclude we may say that the absurdity of the play
which is represented through menacing effect has it’s own
■ It tries to explain the human predicament in this indifferent
and hostile world.
■ At the end of the play in Act III, Petey is tongue tied and silent
, his emotions and thoughts remain unexpressed and bottled
■ Wardle, Irving. "The Birthday Party". Encore 5 (July–Aug. 1958): 39–40. Rpt. inThe
Encore Reader: A Chronicle of the New Drama. Ed. Charles Marowitz,Tom Milne, and
Owen Hale. London: Methuen, 1965. 76–78. (Reissued as: NewTheatreVoices of the
Fifties and Sixties. London: Eyre Methuen, 1981.)
■ "Comedy of Menace". Encore 5 (Sept. – Oct. 1958): 28–33. Rpt. in The Encore
Reader and New Theatre Voices 86–91.