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Explaining Pentadic Criticism Essay

Pentadic criticism is a form of criticism particular to speaking about artefacts. As concerns actions, intentions and attitudes required to influence action, and is interpreted through the text or language by the critic (Burke, 1996). This form of criticism is common place in the media, particularly in the forms of newspapers and journals, but it can also be seen in relation to public speaking. It looks at factors known as labels used in rhetorical language. These factors are the five factors we have already shown.

They are commonly known as the agent, the act, the agency or means, the scene and the purpose. By looking at the artefact being spoken about, the critic can then interpret these five factors. After establishing these five factors, criticism can then begin. For example, by focusing upon a specific artefact being spoken about, the individual applying pentadic criticism can them down into twenty ratios. These are twins of each of the five labels (Burke, 1966). For instance, act and agent can be matched and the relationship can then be analysed.

The reason for doing this is so that a critical comparison can be made between the labels to find the dominant term. For example, the scene-act can be analysed by the critic once an interpretation has been made. If one is found to be more dominant than the other, then the dominant meaning can be understood by the critic. By doing this, the critic can find the dominant meaning of the artefact. Q: According to Pentadic criticism, how many labels are there to analysing an artefact?

A: Five, the agent, the act, the agency/means, the scene and the purpose. How many terms are there to analyse after the labels have been found? A: Twenty. Q: What is the main reason for breaking the labels into rations? A: So that the dominant term can be found. Q: What will the dominant term give the critic? A: The dominant meaning of the artefact. Bibliography Burke, K. , (1996) Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method, Berkeley: University of California Press.


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