Article published in:Opening Windows on Texts and Discourses of the Past
Edited by Janne Skaffari, Matti Peikola, Ruth Carroll, Risto Hiltunen and Brita Wårvik
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 134] 2005
► pp. 237–256
Verba sic spernit mea
The usage of rupture of coherence in Seneca's tragedies
To obtain textual coherence two things are important: a match between the concepts of an utterance with those of the preceding utterance (semantic coherence) and, crucial especially in dialogue, the fulfilment of the first speaker's intentions and perlocutionary acts by the following speaker's utterance (pragmatic coherence).Classical drama usually offers a coherent text, i.e. a text which satisfies the two above-mentioned conditions. In this paper I show that Seneca is an exception to that, as he uses rupture of coherence not only frequently, but also to certain ends, namely to demonstrate a character's mental challenge, to emphasise certain character traits such as arrogance, or to point out that communication in certain situations is impossible.
Published online: 24 March 2005