Hirst as a Narcissistic Hero in Pinter"s No Man"s Land
No Man"s Land contains many Pinteresque characteristics such as the gentleman confronted by the tramp, the room as haven and prison, the uncertainty of identity, the enigma of the past, a pervasive menace and so on. Still, even if the themes of the play are familiar, No Man"s Land is known as one of the most difficult plays in the Pinter canon. It has multi-layered context so that to read the play is almost as enigmatic as a puzzle. In fact, No Man"s Land shares a lot with earlier plays such as The Caretaker and A Slight Ache, especially because of a tramp figure who intrudes into the resident"s domain--a room. Spooner takes his place among the tramp-intruder-stranger figures in many of Pinter"s plays. Spooner disturbs the superficial tranquility of Hirst"s household and leads the residents into the surrealistic circumstance in which narcissistic fantasy is the only reality. By providing a mirror image for the residents, Spooner offers them an opportunity to look into their own otherness. However, the narcissistic chance for them is not connected to an oedipal journey for self-knowledge. Spooner"s brief disturbance of Hirst"s world results in a stronger than ever fortification of the frozen no man"s land in which he lives. In this paper, I try to find some congruous and meaningful insight from the seemingly mysterious and fragmented play mainly on the basis of the paradigm of the Narcissus myth in Ovid"s Metamorphosis. Failing to establish any normal, healthy relationship with other people, and even to accept Spooner as his dark other self, Hirst chooses to stay in narcissistic no man"s land. Therefore, the seemingly fragmented and incongruous movements and speeches of the characters in No Man"s Land, especially of Hirst"s are, in fact, organized to establish a coherent and meaningful image of a narcissistic "no man"s land." Within the paradigm of Ovid"s Narcissus myth, the play reveals more than a threadbare Pinteresque theme, such as "the conflict of dominance and subservience, the battle for positions" (Rosador 195). The play is a fable of modem man who yearns for and rejects an archetypal journey for self-knowledge in his narcissistic experience.
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