A Pragma - Stylistic Analysis of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”

Abstract

This research paper sheds light on understanding dramatic texts using Grice’s maxims. It presents Grice’s maxims and how they can be violated or flouted in a conversation. The research paper aims at investigating the effectiveness of implicature and how it can be used in the interpretation of the literary texts; particularly those having dramatic monologues. It also aims at drawing special attention to the use of inferences in analyzing literary texts. The text under investigation is Robert Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess”. Grice’s (1975) model of implicature is used in the analysis of the data of this study. The research paper concludes that Grice’s maxims and the violation of these maxims are very powerful and effective in analyzing and interpreting literary works having dramatic monologue. The characters’ failures to fulfil Grice’s conversational maxims reflect the disagreement and failure in the relationship between them. The study also shows the poet’s effective style in presenting his poem to the readers as he makes use of the features of dramatic monologue successfully.