This article positions Harold Pinter's later plays within the context of both rationalizations of violent means to achieve justifiable ends and a tradition of violent staging at the Royal Court Theatre. The former context includes explanations of violence in dramatic Tragedy, in Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, and Edward Bond's political theatre; the latter, scenes of violence in the post–“In-Yer-Face” plays of Simon Stephens, David Ireland, and Jez Butterworth. The argument finally arrives at Pinter's increasingly negative worldview that while no discourse can justify the use of violent means to achieve desired ends, violence is both omnipresent and inevitable in human events.

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