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Ashes to Ashes | Study Guide

Harold Pinter

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Harold Pinter

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Ashes to Ashes is written in the present-tense looking backward into the past. The play reflects a discussion in the present triggered by memories of an unexpected past.

About the Title

The title of Ashes to Ashes is drawn from the burial ceremony in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The ultimate source of the images is drawn from the Old Testament which is the Christian term for the original Jewish scriptures. In Genesis the first book of the Old Testament, the first human named Adam is made from soil or clay. This source is used in later books of the Bible to remind people that humans die and are returned to the earth to become part of the soil. The Old Testament books Psalms and Ecclesiastes depend on ash and dust metaphors to describe humankind's mortal nature and physical death and decay.


This study guide for Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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