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The sonnet



                         1. Work in pairs. Discuss with your partner whether you prefer to read a book or
                         watch a performance at the theatre and state your reasons.

                         2. Think of the differences between reading a book and watching a play and fill
                         in the two columns below.

                                   Reading a book                          Watching a play

                         The word drama is used to define any work that is to be performed on the stage by
                         actors. It is a genre that differs from poetry and fiction because it has some
                         characteristics that are peculiar to it and can be easily detected.

                         TEXT A

                         The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
                         by Muriel Spark (1961)

                         The teachers here seemed to have no thoughts of anyone’s personalities apart from
                         their speciality in life, whether it was mathematics, Latin or science. They treated
                         the new first-formers as if they were not real, but only to be dealt with, like
                         symbols of algebra, and Miss Brodie’s pupils found this refreshing at first.
                         Wonderful, too, during the first week was the curriculum of dazzling new
                         subjects, and the rushing to and from room to room to keep to the time-table. Their
                         days were now filled with unfamiliar shapes and sounds which were magically
Proud, cultured,         dissociated from ordinary life, the great circles and triangles of geometry, the
romantic, her ideas      hieroghyphics of Greek on the page...
were progressive, even                                                              (from Chapter IV)
                         TEXT B

                         Major Barbara
                         by George Bernard Shaw (1905)

                         LADY BRITOMART: Don’t begin to read, Stephen. I shall require all your
                         STEPHEN: It was only while I was waiting –
                         LADY BRITOMART: Don’t make excuses, Stephen. (He puts down the
                         newspaper). Now! I have not kept you waiting very long, I think.
                         STEPHEN: Not at all, mother.
                         LADY BRITOMART: Bring me my cushion. (He takes the cushion from the chair
                         at the desk and arranges it for her as she sits down on the settee). Sit down. ( He
                         sits down and fingers his tie nervously). Don’t fiddle with your tie, Stephen: there
                         is nothing the matter with it.
                         STEPHEN: I beg your pardon. (He fiddles with his watch chain instead).
                         LADY BRITOMART: Now are you attending to me, Stephen?
                         STEPHEN: Of course, mother.
                         LADY BRITOMART: No; it’s not of course. I want something much more than
fiddle: play aimlessly   your everyday matter-of-course attention. I am going to speak to you very
                         seriously, Stephen. I wish you would let that chain alone.


                      3. Read the two texts above and consider the following lists. One of them must
                      be completed by the word ‘narrator’. Which one?

                                  Drama                        Narrative prose

                                  . text                       . text
                                  . author                     . author
                                  . public                     . public
                                  . ______________             . ______________

                      The narrator has several functions like describing actions, describing people and
                      places, describing thoughts and feelings, informing on future events, reporting past
                      events, making general considerations, describing interactions between people and
                      so on.
                      In the theatre these functions are carried by the following devices.

 stage directions     DEVICES OF A PLAY
                      a) Stage directions:           the written instructions in the text of a play which
                      explain what an actor should do, details of location, scenery and effects;

                      b) Dialogue:           the conversation in a play between two or more people;

     dialogue         c) Soliloquy: a speech in a play in which a character speaks to himself, with or
                      without an audience. It allows the character to express his thoughts and feelings as if
                      he were thinking aloud. It is an accepted dramatic convention that enables a
                      dramatist to convey important information about the character directly to the
                      audience, his innermost thoughts and feelings, his motives and intentions.
                      Monologue is the term used to define a long speech by one character but it does
                      not necessarily imply the revelation of his feelings and thoughts. A monologue is not
                      confined to the theatre but is also found in other literary genres.

        soliloquy     d) Aside:       is a term used when a few words or a short passage is spoken in an
                      undertone to the audience. An aside is a kind of secret communication not meant to
                      be heard by the other characters on the stage. If two or more characters are ‘included’
                      in the aside, then the other characters are ‘excluded’. The audience always has the
                      privilege of being included.

                      4. The following are short passages from plays where these devices are used. Use
                      the lists provided below and write the appropriate function/s and device/s
            aside     employed, next to each example. One example has been provided to help you.

                                  DEVICES                                FUNCTIONS

                       a) stage directions                     1) describing people and places

                       b) dialogue                             2) describing thoughts and feelings

                       c) soliloquy                            3) reporting past events

                       d) aside                                4) showing interaction between people

                                                               5) describing thoughts, feelings and
                                                                                interaction between people.
                                                               6) inferring future events

inferring: deducing                                            7) making general considerations

                        TEXT C

                        Chicken Soup with Barley
                        by Arnold Wesker (1958)

                        ADA: I do not believe in the right to organize people. And anyway I’m not sure
                            that I love them enough to want to organize them.
                        SARAH (sadly): This – from you, Ada? You used to be such an organizer.
                        ADA: I’m tired, Mother. I spent eighteen months waiting for Dave to return
                        from Spain (1) and now I’ve waited six year for him to come home from a war
1. As you know,
                        against Fascism and and I’m tired. Six years in and out of offices, auditing books
during the Spanish
                        and working with young girls who are morons – lipsticked, giggling morons. And
Civil War (1936-
                        Dave’s experience is the same – fighting with men who he says did not know what
1939) some English
                        the war was about. Away from their wives they behaved like animals. In fact
men went as
                        they wanted to get away from their wives in order to behave like animals.
volunteers to Spain
                        Give them another war and they’d run back again. Oh yes! The service killed any
to fight for the
                        illusions Dave may have once had about the splendid and heroic working class.
                                                                                                 (from Act II)
morons: foolish,
stupid person
giggling: laughing in
a silly way             .   DEVICE/S:        dialogue
                                             stage directions

                        .   FUNCTION/S: describing thoughts and feelings
                                             reporting past events

                                             making general considerations

                        TEXT D

                        Look Back in Anger
                        by John Osborne (1955)

                        ALISON (softly): All I want is a little peace.
                        JIMMY: Peace! God! She wants peace! (Hardly able to get his words out). My
                        heart is so full, I feel ill – and she wants peace!
                        She crosses to the bed to put on her shoes. Cliff gets up from the table, and sits in the
                        armchair. He picks up a paper, and looks at that. Jimmy has recovered slightly, and manages
Performance of          to sound almost detached.
Look Back in Anger      I rage, and shout my head off, and everyone thinks ‘poor chap!’ or ‘what an
at Royal Lyceum         objectionable young man!’
Theatre, Edinburgh      But that girl there can twist your arm off with her silence. I’ve sat in this chair in
(2005)                  the dark for hours. And although she knows I’m feeling as I feel now, she’s turned
                        over, and gone to sleep. (He gets up and faces Cliff, who doesn’t look up from his paper)
                        One of us is crazy. One of us is mean and stupid and crazy. Which is it? Is it me?
poor chap: poor man     Is it me, standing here like an hysterical girl, hardly able to get my words out? Or
                        is it her? Sitting there, putting on her shoes to go out with that – (...)
                                                                                             (from Act II, Scene I)

                        .   DEVICE/S

                        .   FUNCTION/S

                         TEXT E

                         Krapp’s Last Tape
                         by Samuel Beckett (1958)

                         A late evening in the future.
                            KRAPP’s den.
                            Front centre a small table, the two drawers of which open towards the audience. Sitting at
                         the table, facing front.i.e across from the drawers, a wearish old man: KRAPP.
                            Rusty black narrow trousers too short for him. Rusty black sleeveless waistcoat, four
                         capacious pockets. Heavy silver watch and chain. Grimy white shirt open at neck, no collar.
                         Surprising pair of dirty white boots, size ten at least, very narrow and pointed.
                            White face. Purple nose. Disordered grey hair. Unshaven.
den: small room                                                                               (Beginning of the play)
wearish: tired-
rusty: reddish with      .   DEVICE/S

grimy: very dirty            FUNCTION/S

                         TEXT F

                         A Woman of No Importance
                         by Oscar Wilde (1893)

                         MRS ARBUTHNOT:          I am glad to hear you say so. Gerald shall certainly not go
                            away with you.
                         LORD ILLINGWORTH: What nonsense, Rachel!
                         MRS ARBUTHNOT: Do you think I would allow my son –
                         LORD ILLINGWORTH: Our son.
                         MRS ARBUTHNOT: My son (LORD ILLINGWORTH shrugs his shoulders-.) to
                            go away with the man who spoiled my youth, who ruined my life, who has
                         tainted every moment of my days? You don’t realize what my past has been in
                         suffering and in shame.
                         LORD ILLINGWORTH: My dear Rachel, I must candidly say that I think
                         Gerald’s future considerably more important than your past.
tainted: spoilt          MRS ARBURTHNOT: Gerald cannot separate his future from my past.
                                                                                              (from Act II)

                         .   DEVICE/S

                         .   FUNCTION/S

                         TEST G

                         Waiting for Godot
                         by Samuel Beckett (1952)

                         ESTRAGON: Didi.
                         VLADIMIR : Yes.
                         ESTRAGON : I can’t go on like this.
                         VLADIMIR: That’s what you think.
Vladimir and Estragon,   ESTRAGON: If we parted? That might be better for us.
waiting for Godot.
                         VLADIMIR: We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow. (Pause)
                            Unless Godot comes?
                         ESTRAGON: And if he comes?
                         VLADIMIR: We’ll be saved.
                                                                                                     (from Act II)

                         .   DEVICE/S

                         .   FUNCTION/S

                         TEST H

                         by William Shakespeare (1601)

                         Enter Hamlet.
                         HAMLET: To be, or not to be, that is the question:
                           Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
                           The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
                           Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
slings: sling strap        And by opposing end them. To die to sleep,
used for throwing          No more; and by a sleep to say we end
stones with force.         The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to:     That flesh is heir to: ‘tis a consummation
that are part of           Devoutly to be wish’d.
human life.                                                                    (from Act III, Scene I).
Consummation: end,
goal, conclusion.

                         .   DEVICE/S

                         .   FUNCTION/S

                         TEST I

                         King Lear
                         by William Shakespeare (1605)

                         CORDELIA (Aside):       Then, poor Cordelia!
                           And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love’s
                           More richer than my tongue.
                         LEAR: To thee and thine, hereditary ever,
                           Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
                           No less in space, validity and pleasure,
Actor Christopher          Than that conferr’d on Goneril. Now, our joy,
Plummer as King            Although our last, not least; to whose young love
Lear                       The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
                           Strive to be interess’d; what can you say to draw
                           A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
                         CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.
                         LEAR: Nothing?
                         CORDELIA: Nothing.
                                                                                         (from Act I)

                         .   DEVICE/S

                         .   FUNCTION/S

               TEST J

               Chicken Soup with Barley
               by Arnold Wesker (1958)

               RONNIE: Whoa, whoa!
               HARRY: But it is an industrial age, you silly girl. Let’s face facts –
               ADA (mocking): Don’t let us kid ourselves.
               HARRY (with her): Don’t let us kid ourselves – it’s a challenge of our time.
               ADA: Balls!
kid: deceive   HARRY: You can’t run away from it.
               ADA: Stop me!
               HARRY: Then you’re a coward - that’s all I can say – you’re a coward.
               SARAH (sadly): She had a fine example from her father, didn’t she?
               HARRY (to his stab in the back): What do you mean - a fine example from her
               SARAH:        You don’t understand what I’m saying, I suppose?
                                                                                 (from Act II)

               .   DEVICE/S

               .   FUNCTION/S

               5. Here below is the script of a passage from The Importance of Being Earnest
               by Oscar Wilde. The stage directions have been omitted. Listen to the
               performance and take notes about:

               .Where the action is likely to take place

               .What the characters are doing

               .The characters’ relationship and social class

                     TEST K

                     The importance of being Earnest
                     by Oscar Wilde (1895)

                     MERRIMAN: Shall I lay tea here as usual, Miss?
                     CECIL: Yes, as usual.
                     GWENDOLEN: Are there many interesting walks in the vicinity, Miss Cardew?
                     CECILY: Oh! yes! a great many. From the top of one of the hills quite close one
                     can see five counties.
   Oscar Wilde       GWENDOLEN: Five counties! I don’t think I should like that; I hate crowds.
     (1854-1900)     CECILY: I suppose that is why you live in town?
                     GWENDOLEN: Quite a well-kept garden this is, Miss Cardew.
                     CECILY: So glad you like it, Miss Fairfax.
                     GWENDOLEN: I had no idea there were any flowers in the country.
                     CECILY: Oh, flowers are as common here, Miss Fairfax, as people are in London.
                     GWENDOLEN: Personally I cannot understand how anybody manages to exist
anybody who is       in the country, if anybody who is anybody does. The country always bores me to
anybody: people of   death.
the upper class.     CECILY: Ah! This is what the newspapers call agricultural depression, is it not?
                        I believe the aristocracy are suffering very much from it just at present. It is
                        almost an epidemic amongst them, I have been told. May I offer you some tea,
                        Miss Fairfax?
                     GWENDOLEN: Thank you. Detestable girl. But I require tea!
                     CECILY: Sugar?
                     GWENDOLEN: No, thank you. Sugar is not fashionable any more.
                     CECILY: Cake or bread and butter?
                     GWENDOLEN: Bread and butter, please. Cake is rarely seen at the best houses.
                     CECILY: Hand that to Miss Fairfax.
                     GWENDOLEN: You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked
                        most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for
                        the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature,
                        but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.
                     CECILY: To save my poor, innocent, trusting boy from the machinations of any
                        other girl there are no lengths to which I would not go.
                     GWENDOLEN:            From the moment I saw you I distrusted you. I felt that you
                        false and deceitful. I am never deceived in such matters. My first impressions of
                        people are invariably right.
calls: visits        CECILY: It seems to me, Miss Fairfax, that I am trespassing on your valuable
                        time. No doubt you have many other calls of a similar character to make in the
                                                                                           (from Act II)

                     Compare your notes with your partner’s, then work together and write your own
                     stage directions. You should also provide details on furniture, ornaments, objects,
                     clothes, physical appearance of the characters.

                   6. Consider the features of the theatre that have been examined so far and
                   complete the following passage with the following words.

                     interaction    story people  previous    stage directions audience
                       relationships narrator thoughts and feelings general themes

                   The first thing that emerges from the comparison beween drama
                   and narrative prose is that there is no ____________ in the
                   drama. The descriptions of ____________ and places find an
                   equivalent in the ____________ ____________ and dialogue
                   provides information on ____________ and interactions
                   between people, the development of the ____________ ,
                   characters’ ____________ ___ ____________ .
                     The main focus is on the ___________ between characters
                   rather than on the story itself. Soliloquy is a device by which a
                   character speaks to himself\herself or to the ____________
                   and expresses his\her own thoughts and feelings. This often
                   includes information on ___________ or future events.
                   Soliloquy also permits a character or the author to make
                   considerations on ____________.

                   FEATURES OF A PLAY
                   7.  The following is an excerpt drawn from Arms and the Man by G.B.Shaw.
                   You will listen to it twice: the first time it will be just read (by the teacher/some
                   students), the second it will be interpreted. Try to state what makes the two
                   versions different. Compare your notes with your partner’s.

                   TEST L
                   Arms and the Man
George Bernard     by George Bernard Shaw (1894)
Shaw (1856-1950)
                   RAINA (crouching in the bed): Who’s there? (The match is out instantly). Who’s
                     there? Who is that?
                   A MAN’S VOICE (in the darkness, subduedly, but threateningly): Sh-sh! Don’t
                     call out or you’ll be shot. Be good; and no harm will happen to you. (She is
                     heard leaving her bed, and making for the door). Take care: it’s no use trying to
                     run away.
                   RAINA: But who –
                   THE VOICE (warning): Remember: if you raise your voice my revolver will go
                     off. (commandingly): Strike a light and let me see you. Do you hear? (another
                     moment of silence and darkness as she retreats to the chest of drawers. Then she
                     lights a candle; and the mystery is at an end. He is a man of about 35, in a
                     deplorable plight, bespattered with mud and blood and snow, his belt and the
                     strap of his revolver-case keeping together the torn ruins of the blue tunic of a
                     Serbian artillery officer. All that the candlelight and his unwashed unkempt
                     condition make it possible to discern is that he is of middling stature and
                     undistinguished appearance, with strong neck and shoulders, roundish
                     obstinate looking head covered with short crisp bonze curls, clear quick eyes
                     and good brows and mouth,a hopelessly prosaic nose like that of a strong
                     minded baby, trim soldierlike carriage and energetic manner, and with all his
                     wits about him in spite of his desperate predicament: even with a sense of the
                     humour of it, without, however, the least intention of trifling with it or
                     throwing away a chance. Reckoning up what he can guess about Raina: her age,
                     her social position, her character, and the extent to which she is frightened, he
                     continues, more politely but still most determinedly). Excuse my disturbing
                     you; but you recognize my uniform? Serb! If I’m caught I shall be killed.
                     (Menacingly) Do you understand that?
                   RAINA: Yes.
                   THE MAN: Well, I don’t intend to get killed if I can help it. (Still more
                     formidably) Do you understand that? (He locks the door quickly but quietly).

                        RAINA (disdainfully): I suppose not. ( She draws herself up superbly, and looks
                          him straight in the face, adding, with cutting emphasis) Some soldiers, I know,
                          are afraid to die.
                        THE MAN (with grim goodhumour): All of them, dear lady, all of them, believe
                          me. It is our duty to live as long as we can. Now, if you raise an alarm –
                        RAINA (cutting him short): You will shoot me. How do you know that I am
                          afraid to die?
                        THE MAN (cunningly): Ah; but suppose I don’t shoot you, what will happen
                          then? A lot of your cavalry will burst into this pretty room of yours and
                          slaughter me here like a pig; for I’ll fight like a demon: they shan’t get me into
                          the street to amuse themselves with: I know what they are. Are you prepared to
                          receive that sort of company in your present undress? (Raina, suddenly
                          conscious of her nightgown, instinctively shrinks and gathers it more closely about
                          her neck. He watches her and adds pitilessly) Hardly presentable, eh? (she turns
                          to the ottoman. He raises his pistol instantly, and cries) Stop! (She stops) Where
A production of           are you going?
Arms and the Man        RAINA (with dignified patience): Only to get my cloak.
(Pasadena Shakespeare   THE MAN (passing swiftly to the ottoman and snatching the cloak): A good idea!
                          I’ll keep the cloak; and you’ll take care that nobody comes in and sees you
                          without it. This is a better weapon than the revolver, eh? (He throws the pistol
                          down on the ottoman).
                        RAINA (revolted): It is not the weapon of a gentleman!
                        THE MAN: It’s good enough for a man with only you to stand between him and
                          death. (As they look at one another for a moment, Raina hardly able to believe
                          that even a Serbian officer can be so cynicallly and selfishly unchivalrous, they
                          are startled by a sharp fusillade in the street. The chill of imminent death
                          hushes the man’s voice as he adds) Do you hear? If you are going to bring those
                          blackguards in on me you shall receive them as you are.

                           Clamor and disturbance. The pursuers in the street batter at the house door,
                           shouting Open the door! Wake up, will you! A man's servant’s voice calls to
                           them angrily from within This is Major Petkoff’s house: you can’t come in here;
                           but a renewal of the clamour, and a torrent of blows on the door, end with his
                           letting a chain down with a clank, followed by a rush of heavy footsteps and a
                           din of triumphant yells, dominated at last by the voice of Catherine, indignantly
                           addressing an officer with What does this mean, sir? Do you know where you
                           are? The noise subsides suddenly.
                        LOUKA (outside, knocking at the bedroom door): My lady! my lady! get up
                           quick and open the door. If you don’t they will break it down.
                           The fugitive throws up his head with the gesture of a man who sees that it is all
                           over with him, and drops the manner he has been assuming to intimidate Raina.
                        THE MAN (sincerely and kindly): No use, dear: I’m done for. (Flinging the cloak
                           to her) Quick! Wrap yourself up: they’re coming.
                        RAINA: Oh, thank you. (She wraps herself up with intense relief).
                        THE MAN (between his teeth): Don’t mention it.
                        RAINA (anxiously): What will you do?
                        THE MAN (grimly): The first man in will find out. Keep out of the way; and don’t
                        look. It won’t last long; but it will not be nice. (He draws his sabre and faces the door,
                        RAINA (impulsively): I’ll help you. I’ll save you.
                        THE MAN: You can’t.
                        RAINA: I can. I’ll hide you. (She drags him towards the window). Here! behind
                           the curtains.
                        THE MAN (yielding to her): There’s just half a chance, if you keep your head.
                        RAINA (drawing the curtain before him): S-sh! (She makes for the ottoman).
                        THE MAN: Remember –
                        RAINA (running back to him): Yes?
                        THE MAN: nine soldiers out of ten are born fools.
                        RAINA: Oh! (she draws the curtain angrily before him).
                        THE MAN (looking out at the other side): If they find me, I promise you a fight:
                          a devil of a fight.

Basically the difference could be summarized in this way: what matters is not only
what is said, but how it is said. Of course, the example that you have just heard is
not contextually complete, because in a theatre you also see the actors, that is, their
facial expressions and their movements. All these elements, which so powerfully
contribute to create meaning, are defined paralinguistic features. Intonation,
timbre, expression of the face, gestures, movements, all constitute the main
difference between spoken and written language. But this is not all. When you are
in a theatre, you are also involved in the scenery on the stage, the lights, the sound
effects, the props.

The scenery is the set of structures and painted bakcloths on a theatre stage which
gives an indication of where the action in the play takes place. The scenery is
naturalistic when it wants to represent life with the greatest fidelity. The scenery
reproduces as far as possible a ‘real’ set, e.g. a room, a garden. The scenery is
symbolic when objects with abstract forms replace the realistic set.

The lights have an important role because they are used to emphasize the
meaning of the play. Lighting sources can be on the stage but also off stage,
behind or in front of it. This different use of the lighting has been made possible
with the advent of the electric light at the end of the 19th century. Before that, gas
lighting was used and, even before that, there was candle light. In the Elizabethan
theatre the performances took place during the day and no lighting was used.

The sound effects, like the lights, can be part of the play itself. Music can be
played between two scenes, to fill in a space, or can underline a particularly
important moment in a play. It can build up suspense, can establish the beginning
or the end of a scene or the end of the play itself.

Props is the name given to all objects on the stage. They can be either the personal
objects of the actors or the furniture used for the scene itself.

A play cannot be performed without the actors. They play and interpret different
characters. Main characters are those that have a principal role in the play,
while minor characters are those with an inferior role. Stock characters do not
change in the course of the play and represent one personality trait (e.g, the jealous
husband, the handsome prince, the cunning servant). Round characters have real
psychological identity, develop their own personalities during the play, change
their ways of thinking and make the audience part of their conflicts, joys, and

A play, a dramatic work that has to be performed on the stage, is written by a
playwright and is usually divided in acts; each act has one or more scenes. The
director is the person who supervises the staging of a play and is responsible for
action, lighting, and music.

8. Read the extract below taken from Pygmalion by G. B. Shaw and note down
what makes the flower girl comic

•    physically

•    verbally

                         TEST M

                         by G. B. Shaw (1912)

                         MRS PEARCE [returning]: This is the young woman, sir.

                         The flower girl enters in state. She has a hat with three ostrich feathers, orange, sky-blue, and
                         red. She has a nearly clean apron and the shoddy coat has been tidied a little. The pathos of
                         this deplorable figure, with its innocent vanity and consequential air, touches Pickering, who
                         has already straightened himself in the presence of Mrs Pearce. But as to Higgins, the only
shoddy: very cheap,      distinction he makes between mean and women is that when he is neither bullying nor
bad quality.             exclaiming to the heavens against some feather-weight cross, he coaxes women as a child
jotted down: wrote       coaxes its nurse when it wants to get anything out of her.
lingo: language.         HIGGINS [brusquely, recognizing her with unconcealed disappointment, and at
saucy: slightly            once, babylike, making an intolerable grievance of it]: Why, this is the girl I
impudent.                  jotted down last night. She’s no use: I’ve got all the records I want of the Lisson
                           Grove lingo; and I’m not going to waste another cylinder on it. [To the girl] Be
                           off with you: I don’t want you.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: Don’t you be so saucy. You aint heard what I come for yet.
                           [To Mrs Pearce, who is waiting at the door for further instructions] Did you tell
                           him I come in a taxi?
                         MRS PEARCE: Nonsense, girl! what do you think a gentleman like Mr Higgins
                           cares what you came in?
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: Oh, we are proud! He aint above giving lessons, not him: I
                           heard him say so. Well, I aint come here to ask for any compliment; and if my
The Flower Girl (Irish     money’s not good enough I can go elsewhere.
actress Dawn             HIGGINS: Good enough for what?
Bradfield)               THE FLOWER GIRL: Good enough for yae. Now you know, don’t you? I’m
                           coming to have lessons, I am. And to pay for em tae: make no mistake.
                         HIGGINS [stupent]: Well!!! [recovering his breath with a gasp] What do you
                           expect me to say to you?
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: Well, if you was a gentleman, you might ask me to sit
                           down, I think. Don’t I tell you I’m bringing you business?
baggage: unpleasant,     HIGGINS: Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down, or shall we throw
annoying woman.            her out of the window.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL [running away in terror to the piano, where she turns at bay]:
                           Ah-ah-oh-ow-ow-ow-oo! [Wounded and whimpering]: I wont be called a
                           baggage when Ive offered to pay like any lady.

                         Motionless, the two men stare at her from the other side of the room, amazed.

                         PICKERING [gently]: But what is it you want?
stead of sellin:
instead of selling.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: I want to be a lady in a flower shop stead of sellin at the
                            corner of Tottenham Court Road. But they wont take me unless I can talk more
zif: as if.
                           genteel. He said he could teach me. Well, here I am ready to pay him –not asking
                           any favour – and he treats me zif was dirt.
Youd had a drop in:
                         MRS PEARCE: How can you be such a foolish ignorant girl as to think you could
                            afford to pay Mr Higgins?
you were a bit drunk.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: Why shouldn’t I I know what lessons cost as well as you
                           do; and I’m ready to pay.
                         HIGGINS: How much?
                         THE FLOWER GIRL [coming back to him, triumphant]: Now youre talking! I
                           thought youd come off it when you saw a chance of getting back a bit of what
                           you chucked at me last night. [confidentially]: Youd had a drop in, hadnt you?
                         HIGGINS [peremptorily]: Sit down.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL [severely]: Sit down, girl. Do as youre told.
                         THE FLOWER GIRL: Ah-ah-ah-ah-ow-oo! [She stands, half rebellious, half-
                         PICKERING [very courteous]: Wont you sit down? [He places the stray chair near
                           the hearthrug between himself and Higgins].
                         LIZA [coyly]: Don’t mind if I do. [She sits down. Pickering returns to the
Dr Higgins ( actor Rex   HIGGINS: What’s your name?

                          9. Which word/s or expressions does Mr Higgins use to underline the comic
                          aspect of the girl?

                          Pygmalion is a comedy, that is a dramatic play with a happy ending, whose theme
                          is treated in a fairly light way. A comedy usually presents a typical structure:

                          introduction: which presents the main characters, setting and situation;
Liza Doolittle (actress   development: which in a comedy complicates an already problematic situation. It is
Audrey Hepburn).          often full of misunderstandings;
                          crisis: when the problems come to a head, and the situation is revealed;
                          denoument: which is a period of acceptance and reconciliation;
                          finale: which establishes the new order.

                          A fundamental element of a comedy is humour. There can be three types of humour:

                          behavioural humour: when the characters behave in a funny of illogical way;
                          situational humour: when the situation described is impossible or unlikely to
The happy ending in       verbal humour: the clever use of words, especially in dialogues.
Pygmalion does not
mean a romantic
marriage between
                          10. Which kind/s of humour can you find in text 30?
the two main
characters. It has to
be seen as the
independence of
Eliza who refuses to
be dominated and
exploited by an
arrogant professor,
Mr Higgins.

                          Comedy is a general term but there are different kings of comedy:

                          comedy of humours: it was fashionable at the end of the 16th and early 17th
                          century. The name derives from the humorous characters of the play whose actions
                          are dominated by a particular humour;
                          comedy of ideas: it deals with ideas and problems in a witty and humorous way;
                          comedy of manners: the focus is on the behaviour of men and women of the
                          middle and upper classes who follow specific social codes. It is usually a
                          sophisticated, witty and elegant comedy;
                          comedy of menace: it is a play in which one or more than one character feel that
                          they are victims of a threat given by an obscure force, another force, another
                          character, a mysterious power and so on. The fear and menace are treated with a
                          black and grim humour;
                          farce: it is a comedy whose aim is to provoke laughs. Its basic elements are:
                          exaggeration of characters and situations, very improbable or impossible events,
                          exaggerated physical actions, surprises. The plot is usually complex and events come
                          one after the other very rapidly.

                      11. The extract below is taken from Romeo and Juliet by W. Shakespeare.
                      Romeo is dead and Juliet, unaware of this, is looking for her beloved. Which
                      words told by the friar make the situation tragic?

                      TEST N

                      Romeo and Juliet
                      by W. Shakespeare (1594-96)

                      JULIET: O comfortable friar! Where is my lord?
                        I do remember well where I should be,
                        And there I am. Where is my Romeo?
                      FRIAR: I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest
                        Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.
hath thwarted: has      A greater power than we can contradict
prevented.              Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.
                        Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;
                        And Paris too. Come, I’ll dispose of thee
                        Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.
                        Stay no to question, for the watch is coming.
                        Come, go, good Juliet. I dare no longer stay.
                      JULIET: Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.
                        Exit [Friar].
                        What’s here? A cup, closed in my truelove’s hand?
churl: bad tempered     Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.
man.                    O churl! Drunk all, and left no friendly drop
haply: perhaps.         To help me after? I will kiss thy lips.
                        Haply some poison yet doth hang on them
                        To make me die with a restorative. [Kisses him].
                        Thy lips are warm!
happy: suitable,      CHIEF WATCHMAN [Within]: Lead, boy. Which way?
useful.               JULIET: Yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger! [Snatches Romeo’s
                        dagger]. This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die. [She stabs herself and
                                                                         (from Act V, Scene III)

                      12. Which dramatic and final does Juliet make to show her desperate love for

                      Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy. It is a form of drama which deals with the fortunes,
                      misfortunes and, eventually, disasters that befall human beings of title, power and
                      position. There are not humble main characters in tragedy.
                      The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) asserted that a tragedy had to deal
                      with serious matters, be of universal importance and complete in itself. The perfect
                      plot had one issue only: the hero´s fortunes were to change from happy to miserable.
                      The cause of the change was some great error on the hero´s part. The tragic hero
                      belonged to the upper class and did not have particularly bad or good traits. In a
                      tragedy there is often the presence of a supernatural element, and the tragic hero
                      seems to provoke the anger of the gods or the elements that have the power to
                      control the universe. Death is seen as a release from suffering and pain, and the tragic
                      hero often recognizes his weakness and is eventually resigned to his fate.

                       Though there can be difference, the typical structure of a tragedy is:
                       introduction: which presents the main characters, setting and situation;
                       development:       which usually, but not always, contains the terrible act which
                       provokes tragic consequences;
                       climax: is often a point when the hero realizes his terrible mistake and/or the other
                       characters suspect or know the truth;
                       decline: this usually shows the loss of authority of the hero, and prepares the way
                       for the
Picture of the Greek   catastrophe: which usually involves the death of the hero and the establishment
philosopher            of a new order.
(          Tragi-comedy, instead, is a play where tragic and comic elements mingle
                       together, often to balance and reconcile conflicts.

                       The romance is a genre which uses an idealized far-off world as a background for
                       adventures and fantastic happenings. This world is often peopled by semi-divine
                       creatures who control the action. In this world the ´human` characters develop, as
                       they learn to live with others, love and forgive. Music usually plays an important role
                       in this genre which always works towards final harmony. The romance is the
                       opposite of the ironic vision.

                       CONCLUDING TASK

                       Now get into groups of five, read the summary of the first part of Lamb to the
                       Slaughter, a short story by Roald Dahl, and turn it into a script.

                       TEST O

                       Lamb to the Slaughter
                       by Roald Dahl (1954)

                       Mary Maloney was looking forward to her husband coming home from work. She
                       had already prepared the whisky, soda and ice cubes in the thermos bucket.
                          Always a tranquil person, she was especially so now in her pregnancy. Her eyes
                       were particularly placid as she sat sewing waiting for her husbnd whom she loved
                       and trusted.
                          When he came home, he was very tired and, in fact, did an unusual thing: he
                       gulped down his whisky in one. Even more unusually, he poured himself another
                       very strong drink.
                          It was Thursday evening and they usually went out on Thursday evening. But
                       he was very tired and so she suggested preparing something at home. He did not
                       reply. When she went on to say she would get cheese and crackers, he said no. And
                       at her proposal of lamb chops, he told her rudely to “forget it”.
                          But it was not until he told her to sit down, that she began to feel frightened.
                          He started talking. He knew it would be a shock for her; in four or five minutes
                       he explained everything.
                          She watched him with horror, not wanting to believe him. He knew it was a bad
                       time, he said, but of course he would see to her financilly and there need not be
                       any fuss.
                          She wanted to think she had imagined the whole thing, and thought that, if she
                       just went about her usual routine, somehow she would find it had not even
                          She moved automatically, but felt nauseous. Like a robot, she went to the deep
                       freeze, and took out the first object. She unwrapped it – a leg of lamb.
                          She went back to the living room. Her husband was standing over by the
                       window with his back to her. Without turning roudn, he told her not to prepare
                       anything, because he was going out.
                          She swung the leg of the lamb high in the air and crushed it down on his head.
                       It was like hitting him with a steel club.

Divide yourselves like this and prepare the performance of your script.

Student A: Director, will be responsible for understanding the meaning of the
           story. He/She should remain faithful to the original, use the devices
           and features he/she thinks most appropriate to enhance the nuances

Student B and C: Assistant Directors will collaborate closely with the Director in
                 choosing the props which must not be used arbitrarily, but are
                 part of the meaning.

Student D and E: the actors – Mary and her husband.


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