The creation of identity through dialogue in Se se jeleng rre by J.M. Ntsime
Dlavane, Fio Dolly Gaebeng
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Dialogue, as the central constitutive element of drama, to a large extent also contributes to delineating characters and to affirming their identity. This dissertation is an attempt to investigate how dialogue creates identity in the drama Se se jeleng rre by J.M. Ntsime. To achieve the purpose of this study, the characters of the three protagonists in this drama are analysed and interpreted. Both cultural and personal identities are analysed as manifestations of identity. The value of this study is that it makes readers aware of and emphasises the importance of utterances both at a literary and at an ordinary conversational level. Though the semiotic approach is used in this investigation, the dissertation first takes a cursory look at the theories of the origins of African theatre and the comparison between the two traditions, i.e. African and Western theatre and performance. The role of dialogue is traced back to its origin in performance, showing how it creates identity both on stage and in the drama text. This research shows that the two traditions are not drastically different since in both traditions performers exchange lines of words or songs; in other words, they engage in verbal dialogue. The costumes and masks that performers put on reveal some of their traits. In chapter three instruments for the analysis of dramatic discourse are developed. Since dramatic text is governed by dialogue, it was appropriate to use the theory of pragmatics because pragmatics is the study of language in use and is concerned with the context in which the sentences are uttered. Therefore, Searle's (1969) speech act theories, Grice's conversational maxims, Elam's (2000) deixis theory and the politeness principle have been applied to analyse the speech behaviour of characters. These theories have helped to answer the last three questions of the study. The markers of cultural identity which are used to analyse and interpret this drama are chieftainship, lobola, sterility in marriage, naming and witchcraft. They are analysed and used to interpret this drama. In the analysis and interpretation chapter, chapter 4, it has been found that to study language is to treat language as action. As a result, the speech behaviour of Selebi, Senwametsi and Mmapitsa has been analysed, including their deictic orientation. In conclusion, this research has proven that character identity can be created through verbal interaction, that is, through dialogue, since it could be used to illuminate both the cultural and personal identities of the three protagonists in the drama. Most of the time Selebi has been found to be orientated towards himself. This reveals him as, amongst others, selfish and conscious of his authority as a chief. Senwametsi has been found to be orientated towards her husband, Selebi, which reveals her as a wife of the chief who is bothered by the way her husband treats her. On the other hand, Mrnapitsa has been found to be orientated towards her interlocutors most of the time, which reveals her as a person who likes to order others for the benefit of what she wants. This research also implies further discourse analysis to see whether other relevant pragmatic principles can be used to study character and identity.
- Humanities