The Stylistic Analysis of The Play Dangerous Corner by J. B. Priestley John Boyton Priestley is one of the outstanding English authors. His Time Plays brought him world fame. He was the first one who used time tricks in his works. Priestley`s most famous novels are They Walk In The City, Angel Pavement, Wonder Hero, Far Away, Bright Day, but I`d like to analyze his creation which was his first effort in dramatic art, the extract from the play Dangerous Corner.
According to its title we can guess that the play describes some dangerous situation and dangerous corner can be considered as a dead end, a rather difficult situation which has no way out. This fact proves that its title is figurative. The word corner is like a turning point in one`s life-someone has courage to turn around it, to face all the difficulties and cope with them but others haven`t, they are afraid of losing their illusions and the aim of life. This play deals with some opposite themes such as Truth and Lie, Deception and Sincerity, Love and Betrayal. According to its form it`s three fragments from the play.
That`s why it`s the polilogue by its composition. From the stylistic point of view, a play is a stylized dialogue because of the effect of natural speech: there are a lot ofelliptical structures, interruptions, cases of aposiopesis, mixture of bookish and colloquial style and of course the author`s remarks in brackets. As for the message, it`s sounds like Let the sleeping dog lie. The situation described in the play deals with the state of affairs in the family of Caplans. From the beginning we can see the development of two plots: wireless play and the situation on the stage which are mixed.
The wire less play is called The Sleeping Dog which is neither more noe less than the allusion to the proverb let the sleeping dog lie which is like the truth which shouldn`t be disturbed. But not all the characters agree with this statement. Robert Caplan starts investigating the trifling facts about his brother`s suicide. A big quarrel leads to Robert`s suicide. In the plot structure there`s exposition where we make the acquaintance of the characters and it`s also the incitement for the quarrel; climax where all the truth is revealed and the denouement-the revolver shot and Robert`s suicide.
But if you read the whole play but not several fragments, you`ll find out that in fact the denouement is the second variant of events or so-called time-trick which allows us to investigate the characters in a new, deepen level. The 1st part produces the effect of the idle talk mostly thanks to author`s remarks: who doesn`t care, in her best childish manner or still fiddling with thw wireless- they shows us that the characters pretend to be not so deeply interested in the topis discussed. The atmosphere here is quite boring. Then in order to keep the discussion going each character repeats the phrase or word of the previous one. Eg. Miss M. : But we meant something much more serious. Robert: Serious or not I`m all for it coming out. It`s healthy. Stanton: I think telling the truth is about as healthy as skidding round a corner at sixty. ) Because of the idleness and seriousness of the topic here irony is created with means of syntax and intonation. The 1st sign of seriousness of the discussion is the phrase To lie or not to lie – to be or not to be- the allusion to a question of life and death for Hamlet. In this very play truth is one of such concepts as secret, lie, treacherous stuff, God`s truth, self-deception, rotten stuff, to cheat, trifling facts.
Unlike the 1st part, the atmosphere of the 2nd one changes greatly. As the quarrel begins thanks to the devices we can feel the growth of the tension. Epiphora I agree -You agree! or anadiplosis You`ll get no sympathy from me, Caplan – Sympathy from you! with an exclamatory marks raise the tone of the speech to the level of mutual insults thanks to climax: You are a thief, a liar and a dirty cheap seducer- And you`re a fool, Caplan. Then the author draws our attention to the world if illusions with the help of antithesis: a fool`s paradise- a fool`s hel.
And a fool`s paradise stands for the world of illusion which Robert has built for himself, as he didn`t want to face up the reality and searching for the truth he ruined his world. In the 3rd part Robert becomes more and more desperate because of losing his illusions. Intonational structure, harsh words like bloody glands, fool, anty-climax damned silly little squabble and author`s remarks terribly excited now, in a frenzy, crazy now, repetitions of diffirent kinds and ellipsis let us feel Robert`s pain because of his loss.
And the more painful fact fot him is that he broke his own world with his own hands: I had to meedle like a child with a fire. I began this morning with something that kept me going. I`d good memories of Martin. I`d a wife who didn`t love me, but at least seemed too good for me. I`d two partners I liked and respected. There was a girl I could idealize. And now- . He has lost everything and even doesn`t have the faith in tomorrow There can`t be a tomorrow. Robert is the main character of the play, he`s a protagonist according to the system of images: others Stanton. Freda and Martin opposes him, they are antagonists.
Robert is involved in some conflicts; external, where Man is opposed to Society and internal, about which we can guess thanks to stage remarks. We also can read between the lines that Robert has a split personality as on the one hand he insists upon telling the truth and he seems an honest person, not ot say about Freda , his wife; on the other hand he tries to hide from the truth of life. And his suicide is just the intention to hide from the reality somewhere, where he won`t be found. I think that the central idea of this play is that a man should be realistic. And those who can`t cope with the reality won`t reach anything in life.