Harold Pinter on Shakespeare


The mistake they make, most of them, is to attempt to determine and calculate the source of wound. They seek out the gaps between the apparent and the void that hinges upon it with all due tautness. They turn to the wound with deference, a lance, and a needle and thread. At the entrance of the lance the gap widens. At the use of the needle and thread the wound coagulates and the atrophies in their hands. Shakespeare writes of the open wound and, through him, we know it open and know it closed. We tell when it ceases to beat and tell it at the highest peak of fever…………………

……………………One discovers a long corridor of postures; fluid and hardened at the quick; gross and godlike; putrescent and copulative; raddled; attentive; crippled and gargantuan; crumbling with dropsy; heavy with elephantiasis; broody with government; severe; fanatical; paralytic; voluptuous; impassive; muscle-bound; lissome; virginal; unwashed; bewildered; humpbacked; icy and statuesque. All are contained in the wound, which Shakespeare does not attempt to sew, or re-shape, whose pain he cannot attempt to eradicate. He amputates, deadens, aggravates at will, within the limits of the particular piece, but he will not pronounce judgment or cure. Such comment as there is so variously split up between contradictory in itself that no central point of opinion or inclination can be determined……………

……………The fabric never breaks. The wound is open. The wound is peopled.

Harold Pinter
Various Voices
Prose, Poetry, Politics( 1948-1998)


2 Responses to “Harold Pinter on Shakespeare”

  1. And i go hmmmmm…. 🙂

  2. Absolutely gripping a journey into the cave that throbs with menace of a sudden scratch…spellbinding -Jyo

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