The textual analysis of dramatic discourse revisited
Linguistic layers and the (social) semiotics of play-constitutive and play-realisational elements
This article explores dimensions of dramatic structure which the literary linguistic analysis of a play text can illuminate within an integrated model of dramatic significance. The play to be examined is John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, known for its lexical richness, denseness of dramatic expression and not least the structural creativity of its Hiberno-English, all of which provide an abundant fund of textual semiotics for the present drama-specific literary linguistic analysis. The dimensions of the play investigated are (i) those of its ‘constitution’, which linguistically comprises dialogue and stage directions, and characterisation, plot and setting as traditional constituents of dramatic structure in their own right; and (ii) those of its ‘realisation’ as literary work, staging production and theatre performance and the associated addressivity of materially the same play text at each of these levels. As such, it will be shown that the employment of, and further development of, a linguistic model of social semiotics (after Halliday 1978; Fairclough 2003) enables a unified account to be given of the dramatic meanings a play text expresses at these two levels of its internal construction and its external actualisation.
Keywords: play-constitution, play-realisation, (social) semiotics, Synge, The Playboy of the Western World
Published online: 19 October 2018
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[ p. 223 ]
[ p. 224 ]
Synge, J. M.
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