The two main characters of the play are Ben and Gus. They are two professional killers engaged by a mysterious criminal organization. They must kill a person but they don’t know the identity of their victim. They are very different people.
BEN represents the leader of the couple. He has an authoritative personality. He knows the plan, he gives the instructions to Gus, and he finds his bearings in the room where they are. He has also a strong personality: he doesn’t like Gus’s questions and Gus complaining; in fact he rebukes him all time. He is also well informed person: he likes to read the newspaper, he reads the newspaper the entire time and he shows a lot of interest in the news.
GUS represents the funny figure of the couple. He is clumsy and awkward. He suffers from Ben’s strong personality and he doesn’t find his bearings in the situation. In fact he asks Ben a lot of questions, he complains all the time and he shows fear for the situation where they are. He is nervous: he moves continually around the room and he wants to smoke a cigarette all the time. He shows also curiosity and suspicion for the strange things, like the Dumb Waiter or the speaking tube, which are in the room.
These two characters follow Pinter’s line. In fact they tell so much and no more, with reference to their experience, their aspiration, their motives, their history. In “The Dumb Waiter” we find a little part that tells us about the characters. When Ben rebukes Gus because he doesn’t have any interest apart from his job, Ben speaks also about himself: he says that he has got his woodwork and his model boats and he knows how to occupy his free time. You discover Ben and Gus identity and personalities page after page. In fact Harold Pinter says that his characters grown on a page, most of the time they are inexpressive, giving little away, unreliable, elusive, obstructive, unwilling.