Pinter's The Homecoming, written in 1965, dramatises the destruction of the traditional family model and values.
The plot seems simple on the surface. In an old house in working class North London Lenny fights with his father, Max, for the dominant power position in a household of five males. Joey is Lenny’s younger brother while Max abuses his own brother, Sam, who works as a chauffeur. Max’s oldest sun Teddy arrives into this conflict zone in the night, from America, to introduce his wife, Ruth, who he married six years ago in London, to his family. When Max discovers the couple he thinks Teddy has brought a prostitute into his home. Act one reveals a web of sexual tensions as the men all vie for Ruth’s attention.
In Act two Ruth turns the different desires of the men to her advantage. The symmetrical structure establishes a set of complex relations between Teddy’s homecoming in Act one and Ruth’s own eventual decision to remain in London as her husband leaves. The major relationships in the play stem from the frustrated and curious desires of the different men who all imagine Ruth as the solution to their unique desires. The concept of family is at the heart of this home but the three brothers fight their old patriarch for Ruth in what is revealed to be a far from standard model of the family.
Other Materials Available on The Homecoming:
Scene Analysis of the 'Glass of Water Scene'
Extract from a Essay Submitted for my Cambridge Finals Comparing The Homecoming and The Buried Child by Sam Shepard