A Pragmatic Approach to the Analysis of the Dialogues in Drama Death of a Sales Man

Title A Pragmatic Approach to the Analysis of the Dialogues in Drama Death of a Sales Man

As a special form of literature characterised by a lot of dialogues, drama is now attracting the attention of many scholars who are experts not only in literature, but also in linguistics. With the development of dramatic stylistics, drama is now being approached from many perspectives including pragmatics. This paper aims to analyze the dialogues in the famous dramatist Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman from the perspective of pragmatics.After reviewing the pragmatic studies of drama both at home and abroad, the thesis introduces some pragmatic theories including Cooperative Principle, Politeness Principle Relevance theory and conversational implicature to be used in the analysis. The Cooperative Principle and its four maxims are the ideal way of carrying the conversation smoothly but the flouting of these maxims also has its purpose and effectiveness. Politeness Principle introduces the face-threatening acts that always happen in conversation and it also provides different kinds of these acts so as to reveal the underlying intention or the relationship between characters. Relevance Theory is another way to test the degree of mutual understanding between corresponding interactants because the measurement of relevance depends on contextual effect and the processing effort. However, in real life conversation, it is almost impossible for speakers to abide by the above principles rigidly and the fact is always that people often flout or do not follow these principles. The result of this is conversational implicature coming forth.This thesis chooses a lot of dialogues from the drama Death of A Salesman and makes a detailed analysis of the conflict between characters caused by the failure of communication which is closely connected with their communication skills. It utilizes the pragmatic theories from the above four perspectives in the hope of making out how they help in pushing the conflict between characters to the climax and in revealing their inner world. It is hoped that the pragmatic approach to Death of A Salesman may shed some light on the usefulness of pragmatic approach in the appreciation of drama.

Category Philosophy and Humanities
Subject Conversational Implicature, Cooperative Principle, Death of a Salesman, Politeness Principle, Relevance Theory,
FileType PDF
Pages 169
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