A briefly talk on pun (IV)
Concurrence, one of lexical cohesion which refers to “the cohesive effect achieved by the selection of vocabulary”, falls into the following categories: the same word, a synonym or near-synonym, a superordinate, and a general word. This blog will mainly focus on the concurrence of the same word. The following example will illustrate it in detail.
In order to know the reason why his son Romeo, was unhappy and gloomy with a heart of lead, Montague ask his nephew Benvolio, a good friend of Romeo, to probe into the causes. Benvolio had saw Romeo wandering lonely with anxiety the countryside around the city. In addition, Benvolio heart from his uncle that “Many a morning hath he there been seen, with tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew, adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs” (Act I, Scene 1). So when he met Romeo who was tortured badly by love. Benvolio came forward and pleaded.
Benvolio: Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.
(Act I, Scene 1)
In this sentence a paronomasia pun was used. “Sadness” had the same near-pronounce with “seriousness”. We can try to get across the meanings of this pun through two kinds of analysis.
Context one: Benvolio asked Romeo to tell him with sadness that who was the one Romeo loved.
Context two: Benvolio asked Romeo to tell him with seriousness that who was the one Romeo loved.
On one hand, since Romeo was tortured badly by love, and of cause, he was extremely sad. So Context one is accepted. On the other, as the best friend of Romeo, there is no doubt that Benvolio wants to know what is bothering his friend, and he is curious about the truth. Thus, Context two is also accredited. This pun not only properly and correctly showed Benvolio’s awareness of Romeo’s mind but also expressed Benvolio’s expectation that Romeo could tell him the truth. And of cause, Romeo had noticed his friend’s intention, so he answered smartly.
Romeo: Bid a sick man in sadness make his will.
Ah, word ill urg’d to one that is so ill.
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
(Act I, Scene 1)
Also, we can try to get across the meanings of this sentence through two kinds of analysis.
Context one: It was the most painful thing to ask a “sick” man like Romeo who was hurt deeply by love to make his will in sadness! Romeo said in sadness he did love a woman.
Context two: It was the most painful thing to ask a “sick” man like Romeo who was hurt deeply by love to make his will in seriousness! Romeo said in seriousness he did love a woman.
On one hand, since Romeo was deeply hurt by love, and of cause, he was extremely sad and painful. So Context one is accepted. On the other, Romeo had noticed his friend’s intention and concern about him, so he answered in seriousness. Thus, Context two is also accredited.
The two men repeated the word “sadness” skillfully, on one hand, the whole dialogue came into cohesion; on the other, Romeo’s admission that love had brought him too much worry and annoyance was manifested accurately and precisely. The word “sadness” just hit the nail on the head. The dialogue achieved precision and coherence through the concurrence of both “sadness” and “seriousness”.
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