Article published in:Revisiting Shakespeare's Language
Edited by Annalisa Baicchi, Roberta Facchinetti, Silvia Cacchiani and Antonio Bertacca
[English Text Construction 11:1] 2018
► pp. 60–80
Lear’s questions revisited
This paper applies a pragmatic approach to King Lear’s questions. To this end the communicative function of different types of questions is worked out first. In a second step Lear’s questions are correlated to the dramatic development of the play. In terms of dramatic text construction, the two questions from the opening of the play – “Which of you shall we say doth love us most” (1.1.51) – and from the play’s final act – “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, / And thou no breath at all?” (5.3.305–6) – epitomise the complete change of the tragic hero from a more than self-assured person and instigator of his tragic downfall to a human being whose beliefs are shattered.
Keywords: communicative functions, interrogative, King Lear, question, speaker conditions, syntactic form
Published online: 27 August 2018
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