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The passage upon which is the center of discussion is taken from Act one, scene one of Molière's theatrical 17th century comedy Dom Juan.

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Introduction

French Drama Commentary Melissa Chima Introduction The passage upon which is the center of discussion is taken from Act one, scene one of Moli�re's theatrical 17th century comedy Dom Juan. In this scene we are introduced to Sganarelle who is a servant to main Character Dom Juan, and we see chauffeur of Done Elvire, Gusman on this sole occasion. The character of Dom Juan however is not presented to the audience until the next scene-this is the only scene in which he and Sganarelle are not seen simultaneously. The play commences with a discussion between these two characters concerning Dom Juan. This entails Sganarelle in discussion to Gusman on the subject of Don Juan and his marrying Done Elvire, Dom Juan's most recent seduction, due to Gusman's confusion as to why Don Juan has abandoned her. This is a significant scene as it gives a characterization of the two main characters at the start of the play. Sganarelle describes Dom Juan whilst also representing his contradictory character to the audience. The audience is almost warned of Don Juan before he is able to appear on stage, dramatizing his entry. It is Sganarelles final speech which accomplishes this, and therefore merits a closer examination in a stylistic respect. ...read more.

Middle

This occurs about 5 times serving as an informal and slightly intrusive method of speech which calls upon the attention of the person being spoken to. This resores the attention of the audience and the person spoken to after long winded sentences. The change from the repetition of "je.." to conditional tense "il faudrait..." "il me vaudrait.." and use of "il faut .." "il me fait..."occurs and demonstrates a progression in tone, from fact to generalizations, from which it is possible to see how inadequate he is at manipulating language. The end of the speech adopts a completely different tone as it becomes very serious and almost threatening in his attempt to make sure what he has said is not told to his master. "... s'l fallait qu'il en vint quelque chose a ses oreilles, je dirais hautement que tu aurais menti" This transition in tone recaptures the audience's attention especially if Sganarelle's convoluted predictable humour has lost the audience. Language manipulation in the passage is of a limited nature. They tend to be kept simple and basic. For example comparisons between words of extremities are used, with the play on the words of hot and cold again he attempts to experiment with language and raise the comic in the tone, and the level of speech. ...read more.

Conclusion

This brings comedy to the scene as well as demonstrating that his social and intellectual status is merely that of a valet. However this is not a traditional comedy as it is easily predicted, as he does this on more than one sole occasion. "Dame, damoiselle, bourgeoise, paysanne..." for example two sentences later. The sentence structure is almost uniform throughout the passage. Sentences begin, become long winded and are broken down with comas, colons and semi-colons. This speeds up the way in which the sentence is spoken to give a fast further rushed speech. There are no metaphors, rhetorical questions, or exclamations present in his speech. This appears not to be a feature in the passage. The passage appears designed in such a system with the means of portraying Sganarelle as a simple speaker. Such complexes would appear as anomalies in this particular passage and would not suit the character to whom the passage is designed to come from. The passage functions as a theatrical characterization device. The language and style of the speech gives the audience and Gustman insight into both Sganarelle's and Don Juan's character in the very first scene. The way in which the passage is structured displays elements of Sganarelle's personality and the language used helps to portray the way in which he perceives his master, Don Juan, and his carefree actions. ...read more.

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