The Mad Thick Feck: Using Linguistic Clues to Characterize Padraic

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Running Head: THE MAD THICK FECK: USING LINGUISTIC The Mad Thick Feck: Using Linguistic Clues to Characterize Padraic David Clarke Sam Houston State Univeristy 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1680The Mad Thick Feck: Using Linguistic Clues to Characterize Padraic Linguistics, a diverse field, full of depth, can provide valuable insights into countless aspects of literary texts. Linguistic analyses of poetry and prose are abundant, yet drama does not seem to get the linguistic treatment as often. However, a linguistic analysis of a characters speech in dramatic texts can shed much light on how the character is portrayed. I argue that Martin McDonagh uses language to cleverly depict a character that, because of his position of power within a terrorist cell, expects everyone he encounters to yield to that power. Then again, because of McDonaghs use of linguistic manipulations, which show who has control within conversations, the people he interacts with actually yield to him because he is seen as being crazy, somewhat slow-witted, and very dangerous. Therefore, these characters do not see him as someone to fear because of his position of power; instead, they acquiesce because they wish to avoid pain, suffering, and fatalities at his hands, or because they have romantic feelings for him. A Wee Bit of Background Information Introducing Yere Playwright Martin McDonagh, a modern Anglo-Irish playwright, has yet to earn his spot in the canon of English literature, but he may be well on his way. He was born in 1970 in the city of London, England to Irish expatriates. He has published six plays, four of which have been nominated for the Best Play category of the Tony Awards. Another play of his will be published in 2009. He has written and directed the short film Six Shooter, which won an Academy Award in 2006, and the 2008 film In Bruges. He also has written several radio plays, two of which are award-winning. Most importantly, McDonagh received several Obie Awards, Drama Desk awards, the Critics Circle Theatre Award for the Most Promising Playwright in 1996, and the Best New Play award from the Laurence Olivier Awards for The Pillowman in 2004 (Internet Movie Database, 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 16812008). Additionally, he has held the honor of being a resident playwright for the Royal National Theatre in London (Casey, 2008). McDonagh is seen as being instrumental in the development of the In Your Face genreplays containing controversial and confrontational materialof theatre; therefore, it is not surprising that his 2001 piece, Lieutenant of Inishmore, which I have chosen to analyze, took five years to appear on a London stage. Trevor Nunn, a prominent artistic director, and his peers feared that staging it could possibly be inflammatory and disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process (Internet Movie Database, 2008). The controversial terrorist characters mixed with the bloody, absurd plot seemed to be too much for the stage upon first glance. In spite of the hesitation around staging Inishmore, the play opened to strong reviews, declaring the play as a magnificent comic construction, energetic and hugely entertaining (Harkin, 2002), claiming McDonagh's play is a hugely enjoyable black satire on the mindset that has led to cycles of violence and generations of misery in Ireland (Garner, 2002), and that the work is an audacious triumph for the Anglo-Irish playwright (Rooney, 2006). Critics lauded McDonaghs black comedy, and noted its use of satire, thereby proving that there was more than blood and laughs to his work. The work has a depth and richness all of its own. A Nice Sliceen of Plot The plot of Lieutenant of Inishmore centers on Padraic and his best friend for fifteen years, Wee Thomasa cat. After receiving a phone call, while torturing a drug pusher, Padraic is informed that Wee Thomas is poorly and has been off his food from his father, Donny (McDonagh, 2003, p. 16). Therefore, Padraic decides to return to his home on the island of Inishmore. Unfortunately for Donny and his young friend Davey, Wee Thomas is dead and their subsequent lie about the cat does not stall Padraic from visiting home like they had hoped. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1682Fearing for their lives, they form a scheme to trick Padraic. Daveys sister, Mairead, has an orange cat that they attempt to dye black with shoe polish, thinking this will be enough to trick Padraic. Meanwhile, four men, who actually killed Wee Thomas, from Northern Ireland are stalking about the island of Inishmore waiting for Padraic to return. Nevertheless, Padraic returns to Inishmore and is not fooled by the replacement for his cat; so, he kills it. Demanding answers about where Wee Thomas is, Padraic ties up Davey and Donny with the intentions of executing them. However, the Northern Irishmen tie Padraic up and drag him off stage for his own execution, stalling him from executing Davey and Donny. Mairead, with her rifle and at a distance of sixty yards, blinds the four men. These six characters return on stage, and Padraic kills the blinded men one by one. However, the leader of the Northern Irishmen, Christy, admits to having killed Wee Thomas, so Padraic tortures him before executing him. As Davey and Donny are cutting up the bodies of the four dead men on stage, Padraic and Mairead prepare to go to Ulster, where they plan to perform terrorist attacks. Padraic admits to Mairead that he himself had to kill a cat earlier that day because it was unhygienic (McDonagh, 2003, p. 49). Padraic asks Mairead to clean her bloody dress before they leave, and she does. Yet, she happens to find the body of her catthe very cat that Padraic killeddead in the bathroom. Displeased with Padraic, she kills him and orders Davey and Donny to chop up his body too. After she makes her final exit, Wee Thomas, alive and well, appears on stage. It does not take Davey and Donny long to realize that some poor cat, which was thought to be Wee Thomas, was killed and that all the bloodshed that the audience witnessed was in vain. Absurd and humorous throughout, the play obviously satirizes the mentality of the Northern Irish terrorist cells while possibly disgusting audience members with brutality and gore. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1683Introducing Linguistics & Stylistics into the Fray Setting the Stage H. P. Grice (1975) in Logic and conversation gave linguistic and stylistic researchers a priceless commodity for describing dramatic texts. He introduced the ideas of conventional and conversational implicature; however, the idea of the cooperative principle, a part of the conversational implicature, is the most valuable asset of this article. He states mak[ing] your conversational contribution such as required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged is the cooperative principle (Grice, 1975, p. 45). Grice (1975) then distinguishes four categories that make up the cooperative principle: Table 1 Grices Qualities and Maxims Category Maxims Quantityrelates to the quantity of information to be provided. 1. Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange). 2. Do not make you contribution more informative than is required. Qualitytry to make your contribution one that is true. 1. Do not say what you believe to be false.2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. Relationallow for the fact that subjects are legitimately changed. 1. Be relevant Mannerrelating not to what is said but, rather, to HOW what is said is to be said. 1. Be perspicuous. 2. Avoid ambiguity. 3. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity). 4. Be orderly. Note. From Logic and Conversation by H.P. Grice, 1975, Speech Acts, p. 45-46. Adapted by the author. These categories and maxims help people to understand how people should converse. Obviously, if one needs help repairing an automobile, following the maxims for quantity that person would expect to know only what was required, not more and not less. Therefore, if he needs four 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1684screws, he would expect to receive four screws, not three and not five. Following the maxims of quality, if one bakes a cake and is in need of sugar she would expect to receive sugar, not salt. Additionally, she would not expect to receive a novelty rubber spoon if they need a spoon. Staying relevant, when making a cake one should not expect to be handed a book he should read or be given information that he would not need until later; for example, being handed a cloth pot holder while mixing the cake batter. Lastly, regarding manner, one would expect the person who she is conversing with to make their contribution to the conversation clear without belaboring their ideas (Grice, 1975, p. 47). Therefore, to follow manner, if only a simple yes or no is required, one should not make their choice and then defend it unnecessarily to the person or people he is conversing with. Short (1989), explains that with Grices maxims, literary criticism and linguistic analyses of plays could produce suggestions for performance and that novel interpretations of plays in performance could be supported or refuted by checking the performance with the text (141). Additionally, Cooper (1998) supports this claim by states that analysis of the conversational behaviour of characters serves as a foundation on which to build interpretations (p. 54). In other words, linguistic analyses can help produce novel interpretations or explain the validity of a novel interpretation. Of course, this all relates to Grices maxims, because how a line is delivered on stage will either be supported by or refuted by the maxims. Short qualifies his arguments by giving examples of new and old plays alike. Yet, Short (1989) emphasizes that maxims are not, however, as strongly regulative as grammatical rules, and are therefore broken quite often (p. 151). He further explains that this flouting of maxims can be used in order to gain control of conversation (Short, 1989, p. 153). Cooper (1998) explains, we rarely fail to observe maxims casually (p. 57). This is to say that 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1685we flout maxims for a specific reason; thus, lending more credibility to the idea that flouting maxims can be used to gain control of a conversation. Cooper (1998) even says that when we flout maxims we encourage our hearers to infer something about the reasons for our behaviour, something about our knowledge or beliefs (p. 57). So, when we flout maxims we force others to acknowledge and recognize our characteristics and possibly our intentions. Therefore, Grice (1975) laid the foundation by explaining what the maxims of conversation are, but Short (1989) and Cooper (1998) expounded upon the idea that not followingor floutingmaxims, especially in dramatic dialogues, can be seen as a way to gain control of conversations and force others to be aware of our desires, beliefs, and mannerisms. Not only does flouting maxims give one power in conversation, but Bennison (1998) asserts that turn-length and interruptions can be telling of who has power in the conversation (pp. 70, 75). Bennison (1998) explains that whomever speaks morethe most words per turncan be seen as having power (p. 70). Therefore, power can arise from the ability to speak more than those you converse with. Halmari (1999) supports this idea by stating the fact that a person speaks more seems to be a feature connected with relative power (p. 41). When the cooperative principle is applied to these situations power is deferred to the person who speaks the most for any number of reasons. In Bennison (1998) one character is the subordinate of another and in Halmari (1999) the power relationship is that of a patriarch to his family. Therefore, the speaker is allowed to have power because of the rules of society. Additionally, Bennison (1998) explains that characters that interrupt others indicate power and confidence in their speech (p. 75). Yet again, Halmari (1999) supports this by stating a person may gain power merely by speaking self-confidently (p. 41). Not only can societys rules dictate who has power in conversations, 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1686but an assertive personality can cause others to suspend their own power and give it to another in conversation. Finally, the use of interrogatives and metastatement also provide one access to controlling a conversation. Interrogatives are a form of questioning, and Carter, Goddard, Reah, Sanger, & Bowring (2001) state, question sentences ask the reader to look for information (p. 215). Therefore, it is not much of a leap to expect that a verbal question would ask the other participant(s) in the conversation to look for and provide information. Simply put, if one is causing another to do something, they have a power. Likewise, Simpson (2004) explains that metastatementlanguage about languagecan be used to gain control of the floor (p. 88). In other words, if someone begins their turn by stating, I want to tell you something or May I say something they are asking for permission to hold the floor. If granted this permission, they have successfully taken control of the conversation. Both of these instances are causing one to gain control over another, thereby instilling power into one participant of the conversation. Martin McDonaghs character Padraic in Lieutenant of Inishmore, flouts maxims consistently and frequently. Additionally, he asserts power by being a lieutenant in a Northern Irish terrorist splinter group. On top of flouting maxims, the audience is presented with a self-assure, confident character. Padraic maintains power in conversations in all the ways previously described. His turns tend to be longer than those he converses with. Additionally, he consistently flouts maxims under the categories of quantity by saying more than what is required, relation by forcing others to change topic at his whim, and manner by interrupting others, being vague, and even rambling at times. I even argue that he breaks the maxim of quality once as well, by stating something I feel he believes to be false. With the assembled research, it becomes abundantly 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1687clear how a combination of the ideas can easily help one begin to characterize a member of the dramatis personae of any given play. Applying the Foundation Throughout McDonaghs Lieutenant of Inishmore, Padraic, himself, is seen as being extremely off-kilter and more than a kook. In fact, Davey, in the first scene of the play, describes Padraic as being mad enough for seven people, and then asks Donny, Dont they call him mad Padraic and Isnt it him the IRA wouldnt let in because he was too mad (McDonagh, 2003, p. 10). The first element of his character that the audience is told about is that Padraic is mad, and when his temper flares it only becomes worse. McDonagh, like Shakespeare and other playwrights before him, dedicates a large portion of the first scene to having the characters describe his main character, preparing the audience for his first appearance on stage. Additionally, as Padraics return to Inishmore grows nearer, Daveys predictions of his own life expectancy grow shorter. At the end of scene four Davey states, Hell put a gun to our heads and blow out what little brains we have and Donny grimly replies, He will (McDonagh, 2003, 25). Both Davey and Donny seem aware that Padraics return to Inishmore never had the possibility of having a positive outcome; however, they attempted to make it as positive as they could. Lastly, tied up and close to being executed, Davey yells at Padraic, Youre a mad thick feck and everybody knows that you are! (McDonagh, 2003, p. 36). With this defiant line, Davey sums up what McDonagh has been portraying throughout the show. The audience has, by this point, not only heard about how crazy Padraic is, but they have also witnessed him torture a drug pusher, kill an innocent cat, and prepare to execute both Davey and his father, Donny. Regarding Padraic, the audience and the characters in the play appear to have a different cognitive contextthe shared background knowledge held by participants in interaction 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1688(Simpson, 2004, p. 35)than Padraic has of himself. The other characters, and members of the audience, see that Padraic is mentally unstable, capable of horrendous acts of torture, and desensitized to death. Padraic thinks that his status of lieutenant in the INLA makes him extremely powerful both inside and outside the world of Irish terrorists. The view of Padraic as a bloodthirsty lunatic is significant, but it is not as vital as how important Padraic thinks of himself. Yes, he is a lieutenant in the INLA, but this a mere splinter group from the IRA. Therefore, within the hierarchy of Northern Irish terrorists, he is doing somewhat well for himself, but Padraics power is not universally acknowledged. Despite this, Padraic feels that he should be in control of conversations at all times. Additionally, he does not seem to care if he is rude to others as long as he is in control of the conversations in which he partakes. Unsurprisingly, Davey and Donny yield to Padraic in attempts to prolong their lives. After all, they know that he will be mad about loosing Wee Thomas and attempt to lessen his anger through their scheme. James, the drug pusher he tortures in a warehouse also surrenders to Padraic. His motives are clear as well; he wishes to escape torture with as little damage done to him as possible. Mairead, on the other hand, appears to yield the least to Padraic, but she also cedes to him; yet, she acquiesces because of romantic ulterior motives. Thereby, each of the characters that Padraic encounters are not giving way to his power position, but have their own gains and benefits in mind. Padraics Way of Maintaining Control Reading the script, it is not an understatement to claim that McDonaghs dramatis personae is significantly underdeveloped. Without a doubt, Padraic is completely off his rocker. He is an insane madman, who enjoys torturing and killing his victims. However, McDonagh does not explicitly tell his audience any of this. The only thing that McDonagh (2003) writes to 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1689describe Padraic is twenty-one. Handsome. From Inishmore (p. 5). In the 2001 Methuen edition of the script, no more and no less information is given (p. 2). McDonagh clearly expects readers, actors, and directors to pull all the information about the character from the text itself, not the dramatis personae. Therefore, a linguistic analysis of what is said by Padraic allows one to uncover the key elements to his persona. It is imperative to recognize that Padraic is seen as being mad by the other characters in the play, but it is more significant to observe his techniques at controlling conversation. In other words, Padraic is easier to understand as a character by exploring how he presents himself versus what others say about him and how they react around him. He relies upon his position as a lieutenant in the INLA, but he also manipulates more tangible linguistic strategies as well. Padraic flouts maxims, and the way that he flouts maxims can sometimes be perceived as rude; however, they are unchallenged by others. Thus, I argue that the cognitive context Padraic perceiveshimself as a powerful figureleads him to consistently flout maxims, ask more interrogatives, and speak a greater number of words than the other characters as a way to manipulate and control conversation. Additionally, but not as importantly, by yielding to these manipulations, the other characters simply reinforce what Padraic believes. Data and Methodology Materials I have chosen to analyze Martin McDonaghs Lieutenant of Inishmore. Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated published the edition of the text that I used for this research in 2003. Regarding the physical text of the play, there is no difference between this text and the text published by Methuen in 2001, other than the way that it is spatially arranged on the page, which in effect causes differing pagination for the two editions. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1690Methods I hand counted all of the words, sentences, and lines spoken by Padraic. I also counted the number of interrogatives asked and maxims flouted by Padraic. Additionally, I hand counted the number of words spoken and interrogatives asked by the other characters, but only for the scenes in which Padraic is present on stage. Therefore, I did not count anything in scenes one, three, four, five, or seven. Only concerned with how Padraic represents himself for my study, I acknowledge that additional research could determine what the characteristics of the other characters status quos are from these scenes. This research could determine if Padraic only fills a void that their conversations already lack. Numbers, Numbers, and More Numbers I found that Padraic, the character in question speaks a total of 2874 words. These words make up 356 sentences. I counted a sentence as a fully punctuated sentence and any phrase ending a line in ellipses being counted as a sentence as well. For example, Dont be saying feck to me, James (McDonagh, 2003, 13), would be counted as one sentence. These 356 sentences make up Padraics 165 designated lines, meaning that McDonagh wrote PADRAIC. before writing the characters speech. Therefore, PADRIAC. James? (Pause.) James? (McDonagh, 2003, 13) is counted as one line, but two sentences. I also found that Padraic flouts maxims 135 times throughout the play. A maxim is flouted at least once in 87 of his 165 lines. Therefore, Padraic flouts maxims approximately 52.7% of the time he speaks. While he flouts maxims less than the total number of lines he speaks, numbering and counting these can be quite difficult as a series of sentences can flout one maxim and one sentence, or even one word, can flout several maxims at once. Therefore, I will base my 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1691arguments regarding maxims upon the notion that 87 out of 165 lines contain instances of flouted maxims. Yet, I have also counted how many times he flouts each category that the maxims fall under per scene. Please note the following table: Table 2 The Number of Flouted Maxims Category Containing Flouted Maxim Scene 2 Scene 6 Scene 8 Scene 9 TotalsQuality 7 6 25 13 51Quantity 0 0 1 0 1Relation 7 6 22 19 54Manner 5 1 19 4 29Totals 19 13 67 36 135 In addition to the number of times he flouts each category, the categories most often flouted are the ones that determine the topic of the conversation (relation), the length of turn (quality and manner), and the order of turns (manner). Thus, flouting these maxims clearly imply some form of gaining or maintaining control. Additionally, out of the 356 sentences spoken by Padraic, 208 (58.4%) of them are interrogatives. Therefore, within 165 lines there are 66 (40%) lines that contain instances of Padraic asking interrogative questions. These interrogatives will be used, along with maxims, to show how Padraic controls conversation. Interestingly, out of the scenes discussed, there is only one scene in which Padraic is not the front-runner for asking interrogatives. In scene nine, the plays final scene, both he and Davey ask 21 interrogatives. In scene two Padraic asks James 128 interrogatives, while James only asks nine. Additionally, in scene two Padraic asks his father 13 interrogatives, but since this conversation happens by phone, the audience does not get to hear how many interrogatives his father asks. However, from context clues, I feel that his father asks 12 interrogatives. Likewise, 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1692in scene six, Padraic asks 13 interrogatives to Maireads 12. In scene eight, Padraic asks 33 interrogatives, Davey asks 10, Donny asks nine, Christy asks nine, Brendan asks three, Joey asks two, and Mairead does not ask any. Finally, in scene nine, both Padraic and Davey ask 21 interrogatives, Mairead asks 18, and Donny asks 12. Furthermore, Padraic consistently speaks more words than the other characters. In scene two he speaks a total of 1176 words; however, only 737 of those words are directed to James. The other 439 are spoken into his cell phone during his phone conversation with his father. In that scene, James only speaks 368 words, and the audience does not hear Padraics father. Likewise, in scene six, Padraic speaks 504 words to Maireads 437. In scene seven Padraic speaks 504 words to Daveys 233, Donnys 127, Christys 440, Brendans 133, Joeys 70, and Maireads 51. Finally, in scene nine, Padraic speaks 690 words to Maireads 687, Daveys 414, and Donnys 402. Lastly, Padraic uses one instance of metastatement in scene nine. Padraic, after a pause says, Can I tell you this, Mairead? (McDonagh, 2003, 49). Therefore, intentionally or not McDonagh craftily uses manipulations of linguistics and stylistics to portray a character bent on dominating conversations and succeeds in directing them. Despite Padraics control in these scenes it is interesting to note that the two times that Padraic is alone with Mairead, scene six and part of scene nine (p. 48-50), she could be argued to be in control of the conversation. In scene six, Padraic asks one more interrogative and speaks more words than Mairead; however, she changes the topic more often than he does. Padraic only flouts the maxim of relation six times but Mairead flouts the same maxim 10 times. Additionally, when they are alone together in scene nine, Mairead asks 10 interrogatives to Padraics eight. Although Padraic flouts the maxim of relation nine times to her eight and speaks 376 words to 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1693her 263. I feel certain that this is indicative of his desires to woo her and reflects his own romantic interest in her as well. Additionally, further research could explore the notion of her as second in command as well. After all, after she murders Padraic she does claim that she a lieutenant (McDonagh, 2003, p. 53). Discussion Flouting maxims is seen as a way to draw attention to ones self, additionally they allow Grices (1975) idea of implicature to pass between characters, causing one to gain control while another looses it (Short, 1989, p. 153). Therefore, when looking at examples of Padraic flouting maxims it is easy to see how he is attempting to or maintaining control of a conversation. In the following example, Padraic flouts three maxims: CHRISTY. Tie his hands, Joe[y]. Well walk him the road for himself. For theres no terrible hard feelings in this execution. You was always a good soldier, Padraic. Just overenthusiastic. (Joey ties Padraics hands behind his back. Padraic looks around the room.) PADRAIC. Full of memories of Wee Thomas this house is. How asleep in me arms hed fall, the armchair there. Aye, and purr and yawn. How hed pooh in a corner when you were drunk and youd forget to take him out, and hed look embarrassed the next day then, as if it was his fault, the poor lamb. How in through the hole in the wall there hed come, after a two-day bender chasing skirt the length of the island, and pulling your hair for fear something had happened to him youd be, and him prancing in then like What was all the fuss about? I was off getting me end away. (Pause.) He wont be prancing in today. (McDonagh, 2003, p. 40) 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1694Padraic starts by breaking the maxim under the category of relationbe relevant (Grice, 1975, p. 46). It is hardly relevant to discuss a loved pet when four men are going to execute you. However, this allows him the control of changing the topic off of himself and onto his pet. Which allows him to give too much information, thus breaking one of the maxims under the category of quantity and manner; make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of exchange) and be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity) respectively (Grice, 1975, p. 45-46). By breaking these maxims, Padraic regains control of the conversation. He makes the subject about his own pet and then takes the time to describe certain traits of his pet; none of the description is needed in the conversation of course. However, Padraic gets to example his madness as well. Instead of pleading to be freed and not to be executed, he simply reminisces about his cat, with showy bravado. Padraic also flouts a maxim under the category of quality. However, he only flouts one of these maxims one time, which is exampled below: BRENDAN. (Thinking quickly.) Erm We heard tell of your cat dying and sad we were you were to have the two spots of bad news in the one week, your cat dying and your being shot through the brains yourself. Thats awful hard luck. PADRAIC. And Ill tell you this, boys. One of them spots of news does make me sadder than the other, but Ill bet in a hundred years you couldnt guess which. JOEY. Your cat dying makes you sadder. PADRAIC. Is right, Joey. You was always the sensitive one. (McDonagh, 2003, p. 40) I contest that Padraic says something that he believes to be false, breaking the maxim of quality (Grice, 1975, p. 6) when he says that the four Northern Irishmen wouldnt be able to guess what 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1695makes him saddest. He knows that the news about his cat is what Joey will feel makes him saddest, that is why he coyly states that Joey is the sensitive one (McDonagh, 2003, p. 40). Padraic knew that at least Joey would be able to guess. Additionally, this one sentence under question is used to change the topic once again, breaking the maxim of relation, and gives more information than the current conversation requires, breaking the maxim of quantity (Grice, 1975, p. 45-46). Even in this example, the audience sees Padraic manipulating the conversation and controlling the way that it flows. He is not going along with the topic that is previously presented by Brendan and spends more time talking than is needed. Both of these examples correspond to what Bennison (1998) and Halmari (1999) argue as well. By changing the topic in both examples, Padraic is clearly controlling the conversation. Bennison (1998) states that the ability to change the topic of conversation represents power and adds that confident speech also demonstrates power (p. 71-75). Furthermore, Halmari (1999) states a person may acquire power merely by speaking self-confidently (p. 41). Padraic demonstrates both of these qualities. In both instances, he successfully changes the topic from his execution to his cat. Additionally, not being afraid of these four men and the possibility of an execution is pure confidence. As if the ability to not beg for his life is not enough, his confidence shines through when he threatens hell be back to kill Davey as the men drag him, tied up, off stage by shouting, Ill be back to get ya! and Somethingll turn up! I can feel it! (McDonagh, 2003, p. 41). Another way that Padraic controls conversations is by asking interrogatives, which demand information from the other party or parties involved in the conversation. For example, he asks James to name his cat by asking, Whats his name? to which James responds, Em, Dominic (McDonagh, 2003, 17). Padraic is in control of this conversation. He has set the 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1696topicJames catand demanded information about the topicthe name of the cat. To fulfill the cooperative principle of conversation, James must answer accordingly. Likewise, after torturing James, during the conclusion of scene two, the following conversation is held: PADRAIC. How are them toes? JAMES. They're perfect, Padraic. PADRIAC. You admit you deserved the toes at least? JAMES. Oh I did. The toes and an arm, really. PADRIAC. Do you have the money to get the bus to the hospital? JAMES. I dont. (Padraic gives the confused James some change.) PADRIAC. Because you want to get them toes looked at. The last thing you want now is septic toes. (McDonagh, 2003, 17). Padraic, like in the previous example, clearly controls the flow of conversation. His interrogatives demand the answers while setting the topics to be discussed. Regarding metastatement, the audience only observes Padraic only commits the act of metastatement once. Simpson (2004), explains that metastatement can be used to obtain power because they require one to ask permission for the floor (p. 88). Therefore, by asking Mairead, Can I tell you this, Mairead (McDonagh, 2003, p.49), the audience sees one instance where Padraic asks for control of the conversation. Coming only seven pages form the end of the play, it seems rather awkward as well. For the previous pages, and the pages that follow, the audience witnesses Padraic bully his way into controlling the conversations he takes part in. So when he politely asks Mairead for permission, it seems a little out of character. Yet, by this point in the play, Padraic has romantic feelings for Mairead, as she does for him, so it could be argued that love has briefly softened Padraic. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1697 Moreover, the numbers presented show that Padraic successfully does everything he can to gain and maintain control of all of the conversations he is in. He flouts maxims in 52.7% of his designated lines. He also asks interrogatives in 58.4% of his sentences. He feels that this control is warranted because of his position in the INLA, which causes his four peers from Northern Ireland to discuss how he is cocksure (McDonagh, 2003, p. 38) and how he is a good soldierJust overenthusiastic (McDonagh, 2003, p. 40). Therefore, where Padraic perceives himself as powerful because of his titlelieutenantothers perceive him as crazed, confident, and too happy to take a persons life. Either way, Padraic expertly gains control of conversations and holds onto the reigns of conversation tightly. He rarely lets his guard down. In the few instances where it could seem that he is not in control, I assert that he is. Yes, there are two instances in which Mairead could be seen as controlling the conversation, but I feel that he still has the upper hand. In scene six Padraic still asks more interrogatives than she does and says more words than she does. Therefore, he performs more of the requirements for conversational control than she does. Additionally, during the portion of scene nine in which they are alone, he still performs more of the requirements for controlling the flow of the conversation than she does as well. Anytime that Padraic is on stage he consistently speaks more than the other characters and flouts maxims to call attention to his dominance in the conversations. For a majority of the time he is on stage, he asks the most interrogatives, controlling the conversations topic(s). Likewise, he uses one instance of metastatement to assert conversational control as well. Having the title of lieutenant may make Padraic feel important and entitled to this power in conversation, but for whatever their reasons, the other characters in the play do not question his conversational dominance either. James, Davey, Donny, Christy, Brendon, and Joey all wishing to avoid harm 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1698inflicted upon them at the hands of Padraic and Mairead swoons over him; all give him power in the conversations they have with him and do not ever question the power given to him. Therefore, Padraic is able to maintain his cognitive context while the audience and the other characters maintain a differing one. Padraic only sees himself as a lieutenant with a job to do and not as a raving lunatic bent on causing others pain and suffering. Conclusion Using linguistics and stylistics to analyze a character in dramatic texts can be extremely enlightening, especially when the authors dramatis personae are devoid of information. Therefore, the author expects us to dig through the script to define who the character. Thus, we as an audience must examine what others say about the character, but most importantly what the character himself says. Taking into consideration the maxims for conversation provided by Grice (1975), the explanations of how these maxims can be broken by Short (1989) and Cooper (1998), paired with Bennison (1998) and Halmari (1999), and utilizing what Carter, Goddard, Reah, Sanger, & Bowring (2001) and Simpson (2004) say about interrogatives and metastatement, it is easy to define who a character is from what they say. Essentially, by flouting maxims and drawing attention to himself in that manner, the audience is forced to acknowledge Padraic as an overzealous, power-hungry brute. None of these characteristics fit a normative standard of what society deems is appropriate human behavior, lending to the idea that Padraic is mad. Thus, through linguistic analysis, McDonaghs written words characterize Padraic in a way that is easy to understand and interpret. Additionally, what the other characters say about Padraic support the findings of the linguistic analysis. In essence, these functions could be applied to any character in any play. Thereby allowing literary critics and linguists explore to characters together. They could compare and 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1699contrast what the other members of the dramatis personae say about the character. They could discover if the author adequately or inadequately portrays the character based on others opinions. They could also explore and discover where other characters may have biased or skewed opinions. When mixing the linguistic studies with literary studies, the possibilities are limitless. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1700References Benison, N. (1998). Accessing character through conversation: Tom Stoppards Professional Foul. In J. Culpeper, M. Short & P. Verdonk (Eds.) Exploring the language of drama: From text to context (pp. 67-82) London: Routledge. Carter, R., Goddard, A., Reah, D., Sanger, K., & Bowring, M. (2001). Working with texts: A core introduction to language analysis (2nd ed). New York: Routledge. Casey, P. (10 May 2008). Martin McDonagh. Retrieved May 13, 2008 from Cooper, M. (1998). Implicature, convention and the Taming of the Shrew. In J. Culpeper, M. Short, & P. Verdonk (Eds.), Exploring the language of drama: From text to context. (pp. 54-66) London: Routledge. Gardner, L. (2002). The lieutenant of Inishmore. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from,,766526,00.html Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. Speech Acts, 41-58. Halmari, H. (1999). Power relationships and register variation in Vin Linna's Here Under the Northern Star. Journal of Finnish studies. 3(2), 36-49. Harkin, J. (2002). The lieutenant of Inishmore. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from Internet Movie Database (2008). Biography for Martin McDonagh. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from McDonagh, M. (2001). The lieutenant of Inishmore. London: Methuen. McDonagh, M. (2003). The lieutenant of Inishmore. New York: Dramatists Play Services. Rooney, D. (2006). The lieutenant of Inishmore. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1701The Mad Thick Feck 23 Short, M. (1989). Discourse analysis and the analysis of drama. In R. Carter, & P. Simpson (Eds.) Language, discourse and literature: An introductory reader in discourse stylistics. (pp. 138-168) London: Unwin Hyman. Simpson, P. (2004). Stylistics: A resource book for students. New York: Routledge. 2009 HICAH Proceedings Page 1702


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