Using Theories of Linguistics in Analyzing Literary Masterpieces: Studying Violation of Politeness Principle in Vay bar Maghlub drama by Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi

Document Type : Research Article



In modern texts, the formation of the discourse of the drama has been very close to the development of street talk in the society.  Accordingly, this has been influenced by the standards governing the development of non-drama discourse. Drama represents a unique style of social interaction.   Dialogues in the drama have a striking similarity with the actual typical street talk.   Interestingly, a main focus of recent literary criticism has become the differences between the literary works and particularly the drama with the general patterns of street talk.    Today, it may be necessary to use the help of the science of linguistics to realize the features of dialogues in drama which have a different form and function compared to other literary genres specifically fiction and narrative.   This is what Applied Criticism has provided the critics of drama to the degree that the drama would be scrutinized beyond interpretation at the level of word and phrase.    In short, Pragmatics has been described in Linguistics as the science of studying the meaning which is conveyed by the source and is interpreted by the audience.   Among the main subject areas that rely on this approach in interpreting meaning include Politeness, the Cooperative Principle, the Turn-Taking Rules, as well as Speech Acts.  Take the Persian drama Vay bar Maghlub (Woe on the Defeated) written by Gholam-HosseinSa’ediin 1970 as an example.  In this work, the Politeness Principle is repeatedly violated regardless to the social status of other characters.   Therefore, the same principle will help in interpreting the drama.  Accordingly, the present research is meant to study Sa’edi’s works from the viewpoint of characterization.   Considering that Sa’edi has been described as an innovative figure in Iran’s modern literature, the present research will try to draw on the standards of Applied Linguistics to show how innovation has manifested itself through dialogues regardless to the main theme and other components of the drama.  The research will also try to explain how the characters that come from the lower strata of the society are better performers in using the language than the characters who belong to the higher strata.    An analysis on the issue of Impoliteness whether it be the application of offensive language, four-letter words or disrupting others’ conversation and forcing own opinions on others in Vay bar Maghlubshows a direct correlation between the power of the characters in the play to their application of the principle of Politeness.  Studying this principle also shows the change in the register and relations between characters throughout the course of the drama and the fact that the presuppositions of the audience with regards to the characters shake as the result of the application of language.  In other words, it can be concluded that power relations in this drama are no longer in place as the result of the linguistic interpretation of the text.