Chapter 6. Seeing or meaning?

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Manfred Pfister’s classic concept of perspective within drama (Pfister 1993 [1977]) defined perspective as the relation between the knowledge and/or intention of figures on stage on one hand and the knowledge and/or intention of the author on the other. This implies that the whole of the text has a certain meaning and that characters function to represent that meaning and to make it clear to both audiences and readers. In this chapter, it will be argued that this concept needs to be modified: the underlying notion of perspectivization makes it possible to describe the dynamic relation between different levels of dramatic text that can link action, structure, and the aesthetic concept of a drama. The chapter initially summarizes Pfister’s concept and then discusses different forms of perspective and perspectivization within drama in order to show the importance of re-thinking ‘perspective’ as an essential term within a systematic approach to analyzing dramatic texts.


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