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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  3,542 ratings  ·  132 reviews
“One of the most essential artists produced by the twentieth century. Pinter’s work gets under our skin more than that of any living playwright.” —New York Times

Upon its premiere at the National Theatre, Betrayal was immediately recognized as a masterpiece. It won the Olivier Award for best new play, and has since been performed all around the world and made into an Academ
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 7th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1978)
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Rachel the Book Harlot
This probably works better on the stage than it does on the page. Frankly, I was disappointed.

True to its title, Betrayal is a story about betrayal and deception. The play is centered on three people: Emma, Robert, and Jerry. Emma, who is married to Robert, has had a long-term affair with Robert's best friend Jerry. The opening scene is of Emma and Jerry meeting for a drink two years after their affair has ended. The play then works its way chronologically backwards in time, feeding us more deta
David Spencer
This book was recommended to me for its incredible economy of language. I have to say that, after reading it, I am blown the fuck away by the absolutely genius level economy of language. As a practising non-monogamous homo sapiens, I am generally unimpressed with stories of people fucking shit up because they think of love as bidirectional or nothin', but the complexity emerging out of the simplicity of this play, and the backwards-winding path of loss and illumination is like something travelli ...more
I actually listened to this as a BBC Radio Drama ( that starred Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott. I'd heard he'd won the BBC Audio Drama, Best Actor Award for it, and I liked him from BBC Sherlock so I thought it would be worth listening to.

This is a very interesting and thought provoking play. First of all, it's presented chronologically backwards... We meet the two people who have had an affair after their affair is over, as they are having a discussion o
Feb 05, 2010 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Betrayal is a play about a woman, Emma, who is cheating on her husband, Robert, with his best friend, Jerry. Ok, so the story's been done before, but Pinter gives it his signature twist and has a way of making the characters very, very uncomfortable.

The structure of the play is unique, as the story is not told in chronological order, but time is scattershot throughout the piece. I would be very interested in seeing this play live, as I don't know how they would let the audience know when the sp
Amir Mojiry
Jun 09, 2013 Amir Mojiry rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amir by: Mohsen Rajabi
Shelves: drama
"خیانت" خیلی ساده شروع می شود. به قول خود پینتر در مصاحبه ی پایانی کتاب (این که مصاحبه و توضیح های مربوط به کتاب در سری نمایشنامه های «دور تا دور دنیا» در پایان کتاب می آید، نکته ی مهمی است. چه این که به نظر من روش درست خواندن یک اثر آن است که اول خود اثر را بخوانیم و بعد نکته های پیرامونی آن را. تا نکته های پیرامونی روی خود اثر، تاثیر اولیه نگذارند) «یک زن و یک مرد در یک بار انگلیسی پس از مدت ها هم دیگر را می دیدند» تصویری بوده است که بدون دانستن ادامه ی آن و این که دو نفر با هم چه کاری دارند د ...more
John E. Branch Jr.
It's a commonplace of the theater that the script is not the show: the dialogue and stage directions on the page are only a template for what can be presented in the theater. This means that reading a play belongs in a different category of literary experience from reading almost anything else. We can assume a novel, a poem, an essay, to be as complete and coherent as the author wishes; what we make of it in reading depends on us, but what we've got is the end product. A playscript, though, is d ...more

In Betrayal, the focus for me was largely on what is not said than what is actually said between three characters. It is very raw and conversation feels extremely spontaneous, but in virtually every scene my toes were curling with the awkward atmosphere. The dialogue is very simple in terms of words but as to what is actually being 'said' by the characters is somewhat more complex so resist the temptation to read it at lightening speed (it is a very short read) or at least read it twice with the
Pardis Parto
این خاصیتِ نمایشنامههای هارولد پینتر است که «آزار» میدهند؛ تنها داستانِ نمایشنامهها نیست که خواننده را آزار میدهد، شخصیتها، آدمهای بازی هم یکدیگر را آزار میدهند و آدابِاین بازیها، انگار، همین آزار است، اینکه درجهی آزار را تا جاییکه میشود بالا ببرند و کار، کمکم، به تخریب و ویرانکردنِ آن دیگری برسد. درست همانقدر که جری و اِما سرگرمِ آزارِ رابرت هستند، رابرت هم اِما را آزار میدهد و وقتی اِما قیدِ همهچیز را میزند و ترجیح میدهد نقطهای بگذارد و آن پیوندِ نامبارک را تمام کند، سرگرمِ آزار جریست و باز اِ ...more
It is the film you want to see, not the book:

From today's obituary:
Pinter once said of language, "The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness."

One of th
پینتر به سراغ موضوعی متعارف رفته اما آن را باز نمی کند بل که آنگونه که روی داده می پذیرد به راستی هم دلایل آن چه سودمندی دارد از این رو نویسنده بیشتر به سراغ جریان و روابط بعد از ماجرا رفته.
خیانت یک فلاش بک است از زمان حال آغاز و در گذشته ها شخصیت هایش را بازسازی می کند هنر پینتر در ساخت این شخصیت ها نیست بل که در ابهامی است که در آن هابه جای می گذارد و آن ها با خوانندگان در هاله ای ناشناسی تنها گذارده و به سالهای پیشتر می رود.
Arman Mohammadi yazdi
نخستين موردي كه در حين خواندن كتاب نظرم را جلب كرد اين بود كه خيانت در اين كتاب قضاوت نميشود و تنها روايت ميشود. روايتي بيطرفانه و بدون جانبداري. اما پينتر خواننده را به همراه اما و جري و رابرت در تاريكي صحنه تنها ميگذارد تا هر چهار نفر پيوسته رنج كشند. و به نظرم خواننده تنها كسي است كه به هر يك از سه تن ديگر نزديك ميشود و آن سه پيوسته از هم دور و دورتر ميشوند.
من روايتها صادقانهاي اين چنين را بسيار ميپسندم و به نظرم حتا سادهترين و رايجترينشان حتا اگر با خونسردانهترين روايت ممكن بيان شوند، ميتوان
Daniel Simmons
How can a play with so few words communicate so much about human deception and disloyalty? Pain, uncertainty, lacerating self-doubt, and heaps of emotional violence reside in this work's silences, in the spaces between the words, in what is left unsaid. Love here, if it exists, is a horror story spun backward in time, a dark star collapsing slowly in on itself. Disquieting and brilliant.
Mikael Kuoppala
Some time ago I saw an excellent performance of this Harold Pinter play by an amateur theatre group The Finn-Britt Players, and finally decided to try this one out in written form as well. The story of an affair between two married people in a situation where all involved know each other might easily turn soapy or disinteresting, but Pinter has loaded his scenes with intense emotion and perfectly sharp dialog. His talent makes “Betrayal” a nail-biting drama, employing the sometimes tricky method ...more
Depressing, ugly picture of human life. Also, class made me feel rather stupid considering we spent most of our time talking about the possibility of a homosexual relationship between Robert and Jerry, which I did not pick up on AT ALL the first time I read it. Oops. But then later, my professor switched gears and acted as if that was just a totally hypothetical possibility, probably thought of by the characters but never realized because of their British sense of propriety. Rather confusing of ...more
Finished in under an hour. Read for school. Review below.

I am unsure of what to think: maybe it is because I wish I could see this on stage. I think that way I'd be able to fully appreciate the rawness of the dialogue, the painfully honest emotions that come through...

But, still; I enjoyed it. The dialogue (it is a play after all) was refreshingly simple and realistic, meaning not only was it an easy read but one which made me feel as though I was somehow involved in the three main char
Mohsen Rajabi
این نمایشنامه هیچ نداشت، اگر از حال به گذشته نمی رفت...
منظورم از هیچ نداشت، این است که هیچ چیز جالب و جدیدی نداشت. می شد در ردیف این نمایشنامه های آبکی و آب دوغ خیاری، اما با روشی که نویسنده دنبال کرده، به نظرم یک نوشته خوب نوشته.

یک توضیح: واقعا در امتیاز دادن، ماندم که چهار بدهم یا سه. با سایر نمایشنامه هایی که خواندم مقایسه کردم و سه دادم... شاید یک وقتی باز مروری کردم و به این نتیجه رسیدم که حقش چهار است. الآن به نظرم چیزی بین سه و سه و نیم است.
From BBC Radio 4:
Harold Pinter's acclaimed drama about a love affair and the intricate nature of deceit which is told in reverse time from its poignant ending to its thrilling first kiss.

Belanglose Geschichte über drei Personen, die einander ziemlich egal sind. Sie betrügen sich alle auf die eine oder andere Weise, ohne dass es ihnen viel ausmacht. Interessant ist aber, dass die Geschichte rückwärts erzählt wird. Sie beginnt mit der bevorstehenden Trennung eines Paares und endet mit dem Beginn einer Affäre. Die Stimmung in der Geschichte ist ziemlich bedrückend und eintönig grau. Die Emotionen fehlen meiner Meinung nach total.
Das Stück liest sich leicht und sehr schnell durch. E
I can just as easily give it 2 stars, but I'm allowing for the possibility that it's better as a live performance.

Pinter could have named this play What?, due to how many times his characters ask that question. They come across as either really dense, or as suffering from some serious ADD. He was probably trying to say something with this kind of dialog, but he was too subtle for my liking. It just came off as annoying.

I was struck by the seeming indifference of Emma and Robert to their marria
Dave Wagner
Saw this title listed recently as a "must read" for actors, so I bought it and read it last night. Not sure what all the fuss is about, but my initial impressions based upon this first reading were fairly tepid. I'll let it sit for a week and read it again. I must be missing something.

In its defense, there are some interesting exchanges between the three main characters (in a love triangle, of sorts), and the odd timeline was unique, in that the scenes of the play advance in reverse chronologica
Janne Varvára
I saw Pinter's Betrayal at the theater last night, directed by my boyfriend's current director. I acted in some Harold Pinter sketches in 2011 myself, and have since loved his turns of phrase, his words. In last night's program, another Norwegian actor was quoted: "Pinter's words are like butter in your mouth," and they really are. The text is simply wonderful.

The play gives one a look into the extramarital affair of Emma and Jerry, and Emma's husband Robert, who has affairs of his own. It shows
Brilliantly written with what is left unsaid is more important than what is. I saw this play recently in New York and was deeply disturbed, but intrigued with its nuances. I decided to pick up the book so perhaps catch some of what I felt I may have missed as well as contemplate on some of the themes - deception versus self deception, addictions, submerged feelings, friendship, honesty, trust, illusion versus reality, the concept of chronological time, man's skewed memory, and of course, the rep ...more
Met twee goede vriendinnen ben ik eind mei naar Sheffield geweest om daar te genieten van Betrayal, en dan met name van John Simm, die daarin de hoofdrol speelde. Van tevoren had ik me totaal niet voorbereid: ik ging om hem te zien, en om een paar dagen in goed gezelschap door te brengen. Ik had dus eigenlijk geen flauw benul van welk toneelstuk we zouden gaan zien. Harold Pinter kende ik natuurlijk wel, van de middelbare school, maar verder?

Het toneelstuk verhaalt in omgekeerde chronologie van
This play was published in 1978. It has an interesting retrogressive chronology, later events by and large being presented first such that each scene moves backward in time. Why does Pinter present it that way? Maybe because what we live with are memories, or at least those are more vivid, more tangible somehow than anticipations or the unknown future. What and when did everyone know about the affair(s) that are the core of the narrative? Betrayals occur at multiple levels, between different cha ...more
One of Harold Pinter's most ambitious undertakings, his 1978 play BETRAYAL ranks among his finest works. Often called a sly comedy of sexual manners, BETRAYAL encompasses much more than just adultery.

BETRAYAL has only three main characters (plus a waiter in a single scene). There is Jerry and Emma, who years before had an affair, and Emma's husband Robert, who happens to be Jerry's best friend and business partner. Pinter ingeniously has the play occur in reverse chronological order, so that it
Después de mi primer acercamiento satisfactorio a la obra de Pinter me vi en el dilema de qué obra suya iba a leer a continuación. Investigando un poco ("léase consultando la Wikipedia") me enteré de que una obra suya, 'Betrayal' había servido de inspiración para uno de mis episodios favoritos de 'Seinfeld', titulado precisamente 'The Betrayal' (el episodio de la boda de Sue Ellen Mischke en la Índia, contado de atrás para adelante y con un personaje llamado Pinter), y ya se terminó el dilema.

This is an excellent book. The book starts from the present (1977) and every scene goes backwards. We learn the final outcome before even realizing what lead to it. It may seem confusing but Pinter manages to use this effectively as it is easy to understand. Contrary to popular belief, knowing the final outcome does not spoil the surprise. The surprise actually lies in the final scene which is how everything all started. Also, the order of the events or the order of scenes creates dramatic irony ...more
Andrew Wright
I read this play while I was having an uncomfortable affair with a close friend's girlfriend. As a result what really struck home for me was how vicious the woman can be just by telling two different people that she loves them. Pinter's use of simple, every day dialog to stand in for much greater emotional dramas is the real selling point for this play. The fact that the play is told backwards also lends it a sort of painful edge, as you see the eventual acknowledgment and reconciliation of the ...more
Maria Drummond
Fabulous - Pinter is truly a master of capturing the intense and building emotions of characters through time. There is an edgy coldness to this play, like his others which serves to strengthen the plot and language. There is no such thing as an over-use of pauses, they serve to add complex dimensions to a simple plot and cause the reader to consider what is not being said. I love this.
Tension is Pinter's strong suit; it's what takes his plays to a level beyond the many pauses and silences and triple dots and superficial conversation. It's what makes them exciting and meaningful. Betrayal, sadly, lacks most of that tension - thus becoming rather boring. There are some beautiful moments (Emma and the key ring, the whole scene where Jerry drops in for a drink) but on the whole this Pinter really didn't do it for me.
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Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet. He was one of the most influential playwrights of modern times. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

After publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, Pinter began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring throughout Ireland. From 1952,
More about Harold Pinter...
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“I hate stinks of modern literature.” 406 likes
“JERRY: Look at the way you're looking at me. I can't wait for you. I'm bowled over, I'm totally knocked out, you dazzle me, you jewel, my jewel, I can't ever sleep again, no, listen, it's the truth, I won't walk, I'll be a cripple, I'll descend, I'll diminish, into total paralysis, my life is in your hands, that's what you're banishing me to, a state of catatonia, do you know the state of catatonia? do you? do you? the state of...where the reigning prince is the prince of emptiness, the prince of absence, the prince of desolation. I love you.
EMMA: My husband is at the other side of that door.
JERRY: Everyone knows. The world knows. It knows. But they'll never know, they'll never know, they're in a different world. I adore you. I'm madly in love with you. I can't believe that what anyone is at this moment saying has ever happened has ever happened. Nothing has ever happened. Nothing. Your eyes kill me. I'm lost. You're wonderful.”
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