There are three characters in the play, and Pinter slyly leads us to believe they are the wife, the husband and the lover. But the lover who comes to call in the afternoons is really the husband adopting a role. He plays the lover for her: she plays the whore for him. (The third character is an innocent irrelevance - a wicked sleight of hand on Pinter’s part). The play contrasts humdrum domesticity with sexual yearning and explores where the two may lead.