Character in Harold Pinter
's The Birthday Party
. In the script he is listed simply as Goldberg, a man in his Fifties
. Whilst not the catalyst, he is probably the main role in the play. We learn early on the he is Jewish, and his speech is filled with Yiddish terms; 'Mavoltov! And may we only meet at Simchah's!'. His identity is the most clouded in play- McCann usually calls him Nat
, his wife calls him Simey
and his father on his death bed calls him Benny
. When in Act 3 McCann calls Goldberg Simey
, Goldberg almost kills him with his bare hands.
He and Lulu have sex after the party itself, and as far as anyone can say anything for sure about Pinter, he would seem to signify Conformity in the play. He asks Stanley (who we clad in pyjamas for Act1, and vest and slacks for Act 2,) for example; 'Where do you keep your suits?'. The question is ludirous-the thought of Stanley having suits is risible. He is used to Pinter to expose the fakery of conformist society, his massive Act 3 breakdown culminates in the realisation that he does not really belive in anything. The shining slab of barble is lifted to exposes the dirt and crawling insects underneath. Stanley has it right in Act 1 when he says to the slick, three-piece-suited, digustingly sauve and charming Goldberg in Act 1; 'To me you're nothing but than a dirty joke.'
Goldberg is a repulsive character, made more so by his charisma. He says to Lulu 'I've never touched another woman', whereas in the previous two acts he has been reminiscing about his wife at great length. He recovers himslef seemingly completely after his break down, and finds himslef back on safe ground, no longer questioning what he believes, (and finding no answers), but lapsing back into trite truisms- 'Honour your father and your mother!...'I sat where I was told to sit!' and so on. There is still a tinge of instability when at the end of his recovery he adds; 'And don't go too near the water...' Compelling, disgusting and enigmatic, Goldberg exits the play seeming as assured as when he arrived, leaving Meg and Petey to pick up the peices of their shattered lives.