The Dumb Waiter

by: Harold Pinter

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title · The Dumb Waiter

author · Harold Pinter

type of work · Drama

genre · Drama/comedy

language · English

time and place written · 1960 in London, England

date of first production · January 1960

publisher · Grove Press

narrator · No narrator; drama

climax · The climax occurs when Ben pulls his gun on Gus

protagonist · Both men share the role of protagonist, although the audience may empathize with Gus primarily

antagonist · Wilson and, eventually, Ben

setting (time) · Modern day

setting (place) · The basement of a café

falling action · Gus and Ben stare at each other in silence

tense · Play; present tense

foreshadowing · There are a few clues that Ben will betray Gus, such as his slip-up when giving directions to Gus; the messages from the dumb waiter show that the café is not defunct, as Ben says it is

tone · Violent, comic

themes · The Silence and Violence of Language; Anxiety Over Social Class

motifs · Repetition

symbols · The dumb waiter