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論文名稱(外文):Playing Social Roles or Making New Ones: Goffmanian and Brechtian Readings on Henry VI
指導教授:儲湘君 博士
指導教授(外文):Dr. Hsiang-chun Chu
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This thesis adopts Erving Goffman’s notions about social interaction and Bertolt Brecht’s ideas about epic theatre to study Shakespeare’s Henry VI. I aim to explore how Henry VI alters Elizabethans’ concepts about social roles with its unconventional dramatic structure. The thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter One begins with modern critics’ ideas about social roles and dissects how early modern Englishmen viewed the social roles. Parts that follow are a brief discussion on the genre—history play—and a review of past studies on Henry VI.
In Chapter Two, I review Goffman’s ideas about social interaction and Brecht’s epic theatre respectively. About Goffmanian discourse, I focus on the dramaturgical terms Goffman uses to discuss interactions among social beings—front stage, back stage, cues, and so on. It results an understanding that anyone in an immediate contact with others is somehow given a situation to participate in and a role to take; development of an interaction depends on how participants handle their role-taking duties. Considering Brecht’s epic theatre, I discuss its subject-matters, purposes, techniques, and influences. The discussion shows playwrights can include epic ways of narration in their productions to bring out intended thoughts from audiences.
Chapter Three analyzes the development of Henry VI’s reign in terms of interactions among statesmen. The analysis reveals that the political conflicts stem from courtiers’ disagreement over the definition of a situation and the role distributions. Yet, most importantly, it is the king’s inability to present the ideal image of his role that endangers his country.
Chapter Four centers on subplots of the play—Countess scenes and Cade scenes—to argue that the seemingly irrelevant plots take advantage on unconventional elements to provoke Elizabethan audiences’ dialectical thoughts on social roles. In this chapter, I show how elements in Countess scenes and Cade scenes are comparable to Brecht’s epic narratives and trace how the subplots create critical audience response toward social roles.
Finally, I have two arguments. Firstly, court scenes of the play highlight the importance of one’s dramaturgical skills in fulfilling an assigned role. Second argument, however, is that Elizabethan audiences are urged by the subplots to be critical about the working of the Elizabethan role system, whose development ought to regard virtue of humanity.

ABSTRACT (English) ii
ABSTRACT (Chinese) iv
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1
I. Introduction to Social Roles 1
II. Elizabethan Attitudes toward Social Roles 5
III. Elizabethan History Plays 8
IV. Literature Review on Henry VI 11
CHAPTER TWO: Goffmanian Concepts of Social Interaction and 16
Brechtian Epic Drama
I. Goffman’s Dramaturgical Analysis on Social Interaction 16
A. Face Work 18
B. Front 21
C. Team Works 23
D. Impression Management at Front and Back Region 23
E. Threats to Credibility of Performance 24
F. Keys to Dramaturgical Success 26
G. Conclusion 28
II. Brechtian Epic Drama 31
A. Epic Theatre: Its Origin, Progress, and Revolution 32
B. Alienating Performance of Everyday Life 34
C. Liberated Audience as Critical Thinker 38
D. Conclusion: “Are There Other Ways to Live?” 40
CHAPTER THREE: Impression Managements in Henry’s Court 41
I. A Changing Political Stage 41
A. Realignment for Courtiers without Henry V 42
B. When a Face Counts: The Beginning of Wars of the Roses 47
II. Impression Management at the Dramaturgical Palace 53
A. Making False Shows Fair and Square: Fabrications and Their Scapegoats 54
B. Death and Renaissance of Kingship: Henry’s Failure and Richard’s 61
Success in Impression Management
CHAPTER FOUR: A Dialectical Approach to Social Roles in Henry VI 75
I. Rupture of the Ongoing Events 75
A. A Future Foretold 78
B. Talbot’s Shadow 80
II. Cade’s Parody on Governance: Calling Forth the Awareness 84
toward Coercion of Social Roles
A. Comedy Show of Kingship: Serving as a Good Meal 85
B. Real Deaths by Mock Trial: A Culinary Show Becoming Sour 88
C. Only to Earn a Meal: Dialectical Outlook on Working of Social Roles 92
CHAPTER FIVE: Conclusion 95
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