Persuasive Narrations

Michael Hawcroft

in Word as Action

Published in print April 1992 | ISBN: 9780198151852
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191672866 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Persuasive Narrations

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  • Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)


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The predominant kind of verbal action in a Jean Racine tragedy is the interaction between characters who are engaged in acts of persuasion. A less frequent kind is the monologue in which a character engages with himself in an act of self-persuasion. To these two kinds of verbal action d'Aubignac adds a third: narration. On the surface, a narration might not seem to offer the scope for persuasive action which scenes of debate and even monologue clearly do. In his chapter ‘Des Narrations’, d'Aubignac makes it quite clear that narrations are problematic for the dramatist, as they can all too readily be undramatic and boring. Yet narrative is obviously necessary to some extent in drama, for the spectators need to be sufficiently informed about the characters' fictional world to be able to understand what they can see and hear. The essential question is how the playwright can make his narrative dramatic.

Keywords: Jean Racine; narration; tragedy; verbal action; persuasion; drama; narrative

Chapter.  9870 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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