Harold Pinter is recognised as being one of the best modern English playwrights to date. He has consistently written some of the most sparkling dialogue to be found on the stage, and has devised some of the best characters to be seen in modern theatre. Betrayal is definitely one of his best stage plays. Centring on a love triangle between a man called Jerry, his best friend Robert, and Robert's wife Emma, Pinter brings his observations of life to the fore, as the marriage of Emma and Robert disintegrates amidst a pack of lies and deceit. The conversations between the three characters are written so realistically, the situation so true to life, that you can't help but wonder if your own neighbour or brother is involved in something similar! Even though this play was written in the late 70's, the circumstances that the characters find themselves entwined in are as relevant today as they were then, perhaps even more so today. Even now, affairs are still deemed to be heinous crimes, and rightly so in my opinion. It is obvious from the start that Jerry is still in love with Emma, and that he feels that she should still be with him. Judith, Jerry's wife, is only mentioned in the play as a topic akin to talking about the weather, she is simply referred to briefly, and brushed aside just as hastily. Clearly he does not love her, and suspects her of having an affair herself. The fact that he does not find his affair with Emma wrong, but finds the idea of his wife doing the same scandalous, does not reconcile us to his character at all. Still, you can't help but feel for Jerry. True, he basically seduced the wife of his best friend, but you get the feeling that if roles were reversed, and it had been Jerry and Emma getting married rather than Emma and Robert, then all would have been much happier. Since it turns out that Robert had been betraying Emma for years, it seems unfair to blame the two central conspirators of the play for everything that goes wrong in the marriage. The idea of showing effect before cause is, to me, the most innovative idea in the play. The audience is aware from scenes one and two that Jerry and Emma have had an affair, but are unsure how it ended, or why. This allows Pinter to build up an atmosphere of tension, making the spectator curious to see what has happened before, (for myself, far more intriguing than what is going to happen after). Upon reading this play, you get the feeling that you want to go back more, to see more of how Jerry fell for Emma, or even go back to the weddings, to see what happens there. The fact that these characters are so true to life makes it hard to let them go. They are more realistic than all the soap-operas you see on TV, and their situations and reactions more grounded in reality. I can heartily recommend reading this play, and, of course, hope that you get the opportunity to see it performed as well. Pinter, I salute you!