Linguistic Representation of Power in Edward Bond’s Lear: A Lexico-Pragmatic Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis


  •  Ayman F. Khafaga    

Abstract

This paper investigates the linguistic representation of power in Edward Bond’s Lear (1978). More specifically, the paper tries to explore the extent to which power is linguistically represented manipulatively and/or persuasively by means of specific lexical and pragmatic devices in the discourse of the selected play. The main objective of the paper is to explore how power relations, irrespective of their type, influence the cognitive world of the discourse participants, which in turn attempts a change in their conversational behavior to the extent that allows the acceptance of a specific argument in a particular way. The paper adopts a lexico-pragmatic perspective to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), instanced by Fairclough’s (1989) lexical model for the analysis of discourse, and the concepts of politeness and face (Thomas, 1995; Yule, 1996a). The main research question of the paper is: to what extent do different power relations, encoded lexically and/or pragmatically, affect the conversational behavior of the play’s characters, persuasively and/or manipulatively? Some lexical and pragmatic strategies have been highlighted and then linguistically analyzed to expose their effectiveness in deciphering persuasive and manipulative power relations in the selected play. Among these strategies are: euphemism, myth-making, positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation, and politeness strategies. The paper concludes that power has linguistically been encoded in the discourse of the selected play, both persuasively and manipulatively, to affect a cognitive shift in behavior reflected in the conversational interaction among characters.



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