DENNIS KURZON* Part One The Mayor and two performatives By way of introducing this semiotic study of Hardy's novels, I shall analyze two scenes from the beginning of The Mayor of Casterbridge, which Hardy published in 1886. These two scenes illustrate those pragmalinguistic features of the novels I shall be concerned with in this work. The two scenes are the wife-sale in Chapter I and the oath-taking in Chapter II. However, for purposes of exposition, I shall deal with these scenes in the reverse order, starting with the oath-taking. After selling his wife and his daughter at the fair at Weydon Priors, and falling asleep in a drunken stupor, Michael Henchard, the hero of the novel, wakes up and regrets his action of the previous day. He at first blames his wife for letting him go through with the auction, but on sobering up he realizes that it 'was of his own making, and he ought to bear it' (The Mayor, p. 841). Before going out to look for his wife and little daughter, he decides to take an oath, 4a greater oath than he had ever sworn before'. Arriving at a church, Henchard enters and goes up
Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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