The Action of Words
This chapter shows that from the perspective of the reader as of the hearer, the words in drama are there to express, to impel, to reveal— express thought and feeling; impel (or defer) changes in condition, situation, and relationship; reveal motives, causes, antecedents, the inner truth or logic of events. And when it comes to expressing, impelling, and revealing, there is some affinity between the things words do and the shape they take, between function and form. If expression full blown finds its most efficient vehicle in monologue (soliloquy, aria, tirade), impulsion tends to work best through the back-and-forth of dialogue. Revelation is less particular, given the fact that the whole of a play is a progressive revelation, direct and indirect, intentional and inadvertent, true, false, and ambiguously misleading.
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