Specimen Passage and Commentary

  • Jeremy Rowe
Part of the Macmillan Master Guides book series


There are a few rules for analysing dramatic text which I think it would be worthwhile stating before we look at a selected passage. Like all rules, they are made to be broken on specific occasions, but they provide a basic approach.
  1. 1.

    State the context of the passage briefly and clearly; otherwise you will find yourself having to refer back to it in a most clumsy manner.

  1. 2.

    Remember that this is a play, not a novel or a film. The stage has its particular methods of presentation, as well as its limitations.

  1. 3.

    The reason for things being said is as important as what is said.

  1. 4.

    A speech represents a sequence of thoughts, not one big thought that comes at the beginning.

  1. 5.

    Scenes change direction.

  1. 6.

    Try to keep the author in mind; he chose specific words, as a poet does, to create desired effects. Assume that nothing in the text arrived there by chance, and that, therefore, all of it has a purpose. If at first it seems obscure, look again, and keep your mind’s eye fixed on the stage.



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Copyright information

© Jeremy Rowe 1986

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  • Jeremy Rowe

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