Impoliteness as a vehicle for humour in dramatic discourse

Toddington, Rachel Samantha (2015) Impoliteness as a vehicle for humour in dramatic discourse. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This study aims to investigate the proposed complementary relationship between impoliteness (as a form of aggression), and humour (as a form of entertainment). Taking the fictional film As Good As It Gets, I draw from a number of scenes involving the main protagonist Melvin Udall. Although this character is extremely offensive to others, the film is classified as a romantic comedy. As such, it offers a good basis on which to test out my ideas regarding the proposed relationship between impoliteness and humour, and more importantly, how and why we may feel the need to laugh at what is essentially socially proscribed and disturbing behaviour. My work, then, contributes to two main academic fields of interest: with regards the field of impoliteness I demonstrate why offensiveness can be entertaining by making specific links with humour theory, and within the field of stylistics I show how a multi-disciplined approach to character analysis can offer us richer observations and interpretations of behaviour, than would otherwise be available through analysis of models in isolation.

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