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Title: The language of Drama: an analysis of Graham Greene's 'The Complaisant lover'
Authors: Randaccio, Monica
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Monica Randaccio, "The language of Drama: an analysis of Graham Greene's 'The Complaisant lover' ", in: Miscellanea 5 (2003), pp. 189-202
Series/Report no.: Miscellanea
5 (2003)
Abstract: This essay is divided into two parts. The first part defines theatrical language from a theoretical point of view, while the second shows a practical application of the theoretical bases governing such language. The text chosen for this analysis is The Complaisant Lover (1959) by Graham Greene. The essay identifies not only the linguistic structures of dramatic discourse, but also other factors involved in communication, such as the context, setting, social and institutional constructs, power relations, ideology, and the possibility of change. In The Complaisant Lover special attention is given to three principles that, according to David Birch in The Language of Drama (1991), regulate the discourse strategies of communication, i.e. conflict, control and role. When systems of meaning compete with one another, they give rise to a conflict of systems; this shows that language is based on the struggle to impose one system on another, one idea on another, one linguistic classification on another. Every communicative act aims at influencing the thoughts and actions of others, and thus to keep others under control. The choices speakers make, both in linguistic terms and in discourse strategies, are determined by social and ideological situations that serve to keep others under control or to be controlled. Lastly, if we start from the assumption that, in every moment of life we enact an institutionally determined role, it is clcar that identity, and hence subjectivity, are not intrinsic to human beings, but are always realized in social and institutional discourse. According to the French linguist Emile Benviste, "man constructs himself as a subject only through language": when we say T or 'you' we are actually trying to create a discourse in which interaction can take place. Since, however, language is never innocent, the use made of it signals the presence of given ideologies.
eISBN: 978-88-8303-422-0
Appears in Collections:Miscellanea - 5 (2000)

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