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The Dumb Waiter

Harold Pinter


Character List

Gus -  Gus is a submissive junior hit man who is constantly bossed around by Ben. Both Gus and Ben are protagonists of the play, but the audience, also limited in knowledge, sees the play from Gus's point-of-view, and empathizes more with him. Gus is more sensitive, has a conscience about his job, and is bored by the stale routine of his lower-class life. He also questions the inner workings of their job more, especially with regards to the mysterious Wilson.

Read an in-depth analysis of Gus.

Ben -  Ben is the senior hit man, the dominant foil to his submissive partner Gus. He runs their outfit, but pays strict attention to the demands of Wilson, their boss. He often broods silently, reads the newspaper, doesn't question their job, and evades Gus's probing questions.

Read an in-depth analysis of Ben.

Wilson -  Wilson is a mysterious figure, the boss of Gus and Ben. He never shows up but the messages from the dumb waiter may be from him. He may also own the café in which the play is set. Regardless of his physical reality or lack thereof, he plays an important role in the other characters' minds.

Read an in-depth analysis of Wilson.

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Dumb Waiter's Ben

by ArtIzar, August 26, 2013

I don't agree about Ben's knowing that he was going to betray Gus, I think he is a poor puppet who can only follow orders literally, so if they tell him "shoot the man who comes through the door", he simply does it. In my opinion, that's the essence of the last silence, the finding out and the inevitability of the task. I don't find any clue in the characterization of Wilson that he would have any need of giving that information to his inferior.


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