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Pygmalion: An Analysis Based on Vološinov's Language Philosophy

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2020, 33(2), pp.33-66
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : July 15, 2020
  • Accepted : August 13, 2020
  • Published : August 31, 2020

Eom Tae-yong 1

1강원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Pygmalion: An Analysis Based on Vološinov's Language Philosophy Abstract Eom,Tae-yong(KangwonNationalUniv.) This article is aimed at observing multifaceted signs and analyzing their class attributes and ideological properties in lots of lines of verbal wit in Pygmalion (1912), a Shavian comedy, in the light of the main theories of Marxism and the Philosophy of Language by Valentin Nikolaevič Vološinov. Vološinov says that word is the ideological phenomenon par excellence and an individual consciousness is only a tenant lodging in the social edifice of ideological signs. He focuses on the dynamic of parole or utterance rather than langue and emphasizes the ideological multiaccentuality and refraction of a sign in utterance while regarding the sign as an arena of class struggle. The signifier ‘Miss Doolittle’ of Pickering, which affected Eliza's heart deeply, conceals a cunning class ideology where he intends to keep a moderate distance from the lower class. A signifier of Eliza, ‘good girl’, expresses a protesting ideology with connoting a virtuous and independent woman. Two signifiers, ‘undeserving’ and ‘marrying’, of Alfred Doolittle imply the defiant class consciousness rejecting the morality of the middle class. Freddy’s ‘Ahdedo?’ replacing ‘How do you do?’ reflects and refracts an outdated desire of a ruined nobleman. Another signifier of Eliza, ‘lady’, deviates from the way of economic desire slightly through the ideological refraction. The screech of Eliza, ‘Ah—ah—ow—oo!,’ is a signal of primitive and raw feeling which is hardly structuralized ideologically as a sign of ‘I-experience,’ a term of Vološinov. These signifiers suggest that the human properties and the relative autonomy of ideological superstructure exist in the process of the refraction of signs.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.