A Pragmatic Reading of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Tawfiq Ibrahim Yousef


This article is an attempt to utilize pragmatics in the analysis of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by using the "cooperative principle" and the "maxims" as developed by Paul Grice, and "speech acts theory" as clarified by J. L. Austin. The investigation has shown that by drawing upon such language analysis strategies, greater light can be shed on the meaning of the play, especially because it is one of Shakespeare's plays most amenable to pragmatic analysis. Furthermore, it has been found that this kind of analysis invites a special role for the reader to participate more creatively in the interpretation of the text besides providing an in-depth analysis to the play’s scenes and speeches and highlighting certain aspects that may otherwise be overlooked. A pragmatic reading of the play enables us to understand the social function of language and consequently the relationships among the characters and their social status.


Pragmatic, Shakespear, Rome and Juliet.

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