Paper Information

Journal:   HONAR-HA-YE-ZIBA (HONAR-HA-YE-NAMAYESHI-VA-MOOSIGHI)   FALL 2009 , Volume - , Number 38; Page(s) 57 To 68.
 
Paper: 

VERBAL HUMOR IN THE PLAYS OF NIEL SIMON: A CASE STUDY OF LOST IN YUNKERS AND THE RUMORS

 
 
Author(s):  MAHMOODI BAKHTIARI BEHROOZ*, REZA POUR MINA
 
* SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS AND MUSIC, COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN, TEHRAN, IRAN
 
Abstract: 
Comedy and comic drama are as old as the history of drama itself. For a long time, high level comedies have been classified into "Verbal Comedies" and "Comedies of Situation". The history of drama reveals the names of many great figures who are famous for their very wise and sweet verbal comedies, such as William Shakespeare (1564-1616), William Wycherley (1640-1716), William Congreve (1670-1729), Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751- 1816), Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Noel Coward (1899-1973), Alan Ayckbourn (b.1939), and Tom Stoppard (b.1937). These authors and their linguistic approach towards humor have been studied to some extent so far, but, the contemporary American comedies have not received the proper linguistic attention they deserve. This made an incentive to choose an American playwright and study his linguistic tactics in creating humor. In the field of American contemporary drama, Neil Simon (b.1927) has an outstanding position, especially with respect to his comedies. Given the fact that he has received several important prizes, such as a Politzer prize for his Lost in Yunkers, puts him more in the center of attraction. What has made Simon such a famous status lies in his curious mind, and his sweet verbal comedy, which has made him a cared author, not only by the general audience, but also by the critics. Having written both for cinema and theatre, Simon is capable to be studied both with respect to his drama, and his screenplays. This article deals with the techniques he has used to create verbal comedy, within a linguistic framework. In order to do so, first the theories of humor have been introduced. Then the concept of verbal comedy has been analyzed with regard to semantics and pragmatics, as two major branches of linguistic analysis. Within semantics, issues such as "ambiguity", "paradox", "hyperbole" and "metaphor" have been studied; and within pragmatics, issues such as "allegory", "discourse structure", "violation of turn-taking positions", "violations pf Grice's cooperation principles" and "violation of presuppositions" have been analyzed, for each of them, proper examples have been provided.
After postulating the theoretical preliminaries of this study, the abovementioned issues have been applied on two plays written by Niel Simon: Lost in Yunkers, and The Rumors. In both of these plays, the characters are trapped in a situation they have no ideas about, and try to do away with the unwanted problems they face. The results of the study over the 287 items of verbal comedy in these two plays reveal that the pragmatic tools are more in work than the semantic ones, as they directly deal with the context of the plays.
According to the findings of this research, the following items are most widely-used ways of creating verbal comedy in Simon's plays: Violation of the cooperative principles by the speakers, dramatic irony, hyperbole, Violation of the cooperative principles by the hearers, wise uses of similies and metaphors, distorting the presuppositions of the audience, and making use of paradoxes. Other issues, of course, have been used, but not to the extent of the items noted above.
 
Keyword(s): AMERICAN DRAMA, NIEL SIMON, VERBAL HUMOR, LINGUISTICS, RUMORS, LOST IN YUNKERS
 
References: 
  • ندارد
 
  Persian Abstract Yearly Visit 130
 
Latest on Blog
Enter SID Blog