Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Thomas P. Walsh
Who was the masked man in Alexander Dumas’ The Iron Mask? What were the circumstances that led up to his entrapment in the mask? Most of us are fascinated by the mystery that surrounds the use of masks. The ancient Greeks used masks in their dramas to create expressions of sorrow, anger, joy, etc. Masks enabled actors to hide their true selves -- actors merely playing a part. One of the basic character types in Greek drama was the trickster who pretended to be ignorant, “thereby provoking somebody else to reveal his most ludicrous side” (Jones and Wilson 194). In the 19th century, Robert Browning created what Shaw so aptly designated the “Lord of Misrule” (268) – Archangeli, the comic trickster in The Ring and the Book who manipulates language for his own ends. Archangeli uses language as a mask. Language, like the mysterious mask, is not merely an instrument of control over the audience, but enables Archangeli to hold his personality together. By deceiving himself and others, he justifies his own existence. As a lawyer, Archangeli uses rhetorical modes to twist and shape language to express his own attitudes and beliefs. One of the main rhetorical modes contributing to our awareness of Archangeli’s “ludicrous side” is the use of parentheses.
Dattner-Garza, Bonita Bernadine, "Parenthetic function, characterization, and the voice of authority in "The Ring and the Book"" (1988). Student Work. 3191.
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