The Dumb Waiter | Study Guide

Harold Pinter

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Dumb Waiter Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Apr. 2018. Web. 6 June 2020. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, April 7). The Dumb Waiter Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 6, 2020, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "The Dumb Waiter Study Guide." April 7, 2018. Accessed June 6, 2020.


Course Hero, "The Dumb Waiter Study Guide," April 7, 2018, accessed June 6, 2020,


The Dumb Waiter infographic thumbnail


Harold Pinter

First Performed



Short Story



About the Title

A dumbwaiter is a small elevator used to transport objects between floors of a building. It's often used in restaurants. The play uses a dumbwaiter as a plot device. The two main characters, Gus and Ben, receive mysterious food orders from a dumbwaiter in their basement room.

The title also refers to the men themselves. They're stuck waiting all day for an assignment from an invisible boss. Their confusion about their assignment and the food orders makes them "dumb." They become waiters in a second sense as they struggle to serve the requested food to the café patrons they imagine upstairs. The title implies the men are trapped in a role of servitude, stuck waiting without knowing what they're waiting for—literal "dumb waiters."


This study guide and infographic for Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter offer 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.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Dumb Waiter? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors