The Dumb Waiter

Main Ideas

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