The Dumb Waiter


Harold Pinter

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The Dumb Waiter

The dumb waiter represents power imbalances and the power of authority. A dumbwaiter is a small, elevator-like platform used to carry items (usually food or prepared dishes) between the different levels of a building. In…

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The Matches

Matches symbolize Ben and Gus’s powerlessness to improve their lives under exploitative hierarchies and working conditions. Matches first appear at the very beginning of The Dumb Waiter when Gus absurdly pulls an empty, flattened…

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Ben’s Newspaper

Ben’s newspaper symbolizes his struggle to exert power over Gus and also the broader link between power, violence, and intimidation. The Dumb Waiter opens with Ben reading a newspaper, as he does sporadically throughout…

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Ben and Gus’s revolvers symbolize obedience to authority and the consequences of challenging authority. Ben, the senior partner and more compliant of the play’s two central characters, keeps his revolver polished and regularly inspects…

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