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AMBIGUITY IN THE CHARACTER OF

CARETAKER

GROUP MEMBERS
AQSA SARFRAZ
AYESHA GULL
IQRA ASIF
IQRA RASHEED
KHADIJA SHAUKAT
MADIHA MANZOOR

MALIHA MASHADY
SAHER NAVEED
SABA SARWAR
TEHMINA WASEEM
ZARNAB MASOOD
ZOYA SAQIB

INTRODUCTION

The play offers an absorbing study


of characters and the power-play
within relationships. The
ambiguity of these relationships
keeps us alert, our sympathies
shifting constantly.
They develop intriguing yet
credible relationships with each
other, Davies trying to play one
brother against the other, while
Mick treats Aston with a mixture of
exasperation and fraternal caretaking.
A power struggle ensues in which
no one is a caretaker of anything
or anyone.

Caretaker the play is not totally about


obscurities. Martin Esslin characterizes
best this plays combination of realism
and ambiguity: The caretaker is the first
of Pinter's plays to have achieved this
complete synthesis b/w utter realism in
the external action and the poetic
metaphor, the dream image of external
archetypes, or deeper or higher levels of
impact.

The Caretaker takes place in a world characterized


by absurdity. Life has no meaning or metanarrative; it is fragmented, chaotic, confusing, and
hostile. The individual cannot rely on others, or
society, or God, or even themselves to find
meaning or value. The characters are isolated,
lonely, and oppressed by forces outside their
control. Desires they possess or choices they
make seem to be wholly unconnected to the
outcome. They seem adrift from history, both
collective and personal. All that Mick and Aston
can hope for is for things to remain more or less
the same, and all Davies can hope for is another
small respite from the gnawing emptiness of his
life.

SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TITLE


The title may be a reference to the human condition and of mans relationship with God and this world.
God is the creator of this world and man is the care-taker who has been assigned with the duty of living in
it and taking care of it.
The title can be said to be ironic since Davies, the man being offered the position of the care-taker, is perhaps the character who is most in the
need of care himself.
Of all Pinter's plays, The Caretaker makes the most bitter commentary on the human condition; instead of allowing an old man to die beaten in a
caf brawl, "the System" is set on tantalising him with faint hope, thereby immeasurably increasing his final desperate anguish. There is
perhaps a pun contained in the title: The Caretaker is twisted into taker on of care, for care is the human destiny.

DAVIES

The caretaker is a montage of


images or determinations. The
overlying image of the
montage is Davies. The old
tramp. He continually defends
himself by rationalization. The
controlling contradiction in
Daviess life is his
ambivalence about the act of
caretaking itself. He loves to
accept care but not to give it.
Throughout the play Davies
shows his love of care as he
reveals his grasping and
selfish nature. He shows his
dislike of giving care in his
reactions to the job both
brothers offers him.

ASTON

Aston however is also a


caretaker. His
understanding and
identification prompt him
to bring Davies home,
give him a bed, a key to
the apartment, clothes,
shoes and friendship. He
also takes care, initially to
protect the old mans
feelings.

Aston says to Davies:


You could be...caretaker here, if you liked.
Aston's simple suggestion is indicative of his sweetness and compassion. He helped a man out whom he did not know, and brought him to safety and shelter. He offered him food and a place to sleep, and then went even further by offering
him this job. This suggestion is one of the turning points in the play, for it means that Davies will not just be an overnight guest but a possible fixture in the room. This idea is not at all palatable to Mick, who can only handle a situation with just
himself and his brother, certainly not a trio featuring a loudmouthed and "erratic" tramp with no work ethic. While the play is representative of the Theater of the Absurd, and thus has very little in terms of traditional plot, the offering of the
caretaker position and the resultant tensions are as much of a plot as there will be.

Davies is the first person who stimulates Astons positive


interest since his horrible experience at the mental hospital.
A further act of generosity is shown by Aston to offer him
the job of a caretaker: You could look after the place, if
you liked you know , the stairs and the landing keep an
eye on it In bringing Davies home and offering him a job ,
Aston is doing more than showing charity towards his
fellow-human . On a large scale , this could be taken as an
expression of his yearning for a genuine companionship ,
for a person who would perhaps look after him. Thus, by
taking are of Davies , Aston has shown a similar interest to
be cared for .

MICK

Mick also takes on the


role of caretaker when
he protects Aston from
Daviess selfishness.
He also expresses
hostility over the care
and concern Aston
gives him. He also
shows contempt for
Aston condition.

AMBIGUITY IN THE IDENTITY OF CHARACTERS


Identity in this play is elusive, fractured, under assault.
Davies has two names and no identifying papers, while Aston's
identity came under attack by doctors and is now fragmented.
The characters are introduced by Pinter without explanation,
background, or history. They offer little information about
themselves. Overall, they seem adrift, unmoored to time and place
and not fully formed.

COMPARISON WITH BECKETTS WAITING FOR GODOT


The play has often been compared to Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett,
and other absurdist plays because of its apparent lack of plot and action.
Artistically, The Caretaker is clearly influenced in both style and subject matter
by Samuel Beckett's 1955 classic Waiting for Godot, in which two tramps wait
endlessly for someone they know only as Godot to come and give meaning
and purpose to their lives.
Just as the character of Godot in the play Waiting for Godot is mythical and
enigmatic and his identity remains elusive similarly there is ambiguity
surrounding the the character of the care-taker in the play.
Through the story of the two brothers and the tramp, The Caretaker deals with
the distance between reality and fantasy, family relationships, and the struggle
for power.

CONCLUSION

The play is a complex


one of three overlapping
images. It contains, as
Pinter's insists, a
caretaker and two
brothers-all real people.
But the images they
reflect are of three would
be caretakers whose self
interest has ended their
responsibilities to others.

THANK YOU!