A Pragma-Stylistic Study of Implicature in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Twelfth Night

  • Mohammed Jasim Betti College of Education for Humanities, University of Thi-Qar, Iraq
  • Noor Sattar Khalaf College of Education for Humanities, University of Thi-Qar, Iraq
Keywords: Implicature, Hamlet, Twelfth Night


Implicature is commonly defined as the dissimilarity between what is said and what is meant. The variance lies between the conspicuous meaning of written and spoken words and the meaning that lies beneath what is said. This study aims at analyzing and discussing Shakespeare's Hamlet and Twelfth Night in terms of generalized and particularized conversational and conventional implicature. The model used in the analysis is coined from a variety of pragmatic theories, implicature, Grice's maxims, irony, indirect speech acts, context, and hedges. It is hypothesized that the number of implicature cases in Twelfth Night is bigger than that in Hamlet, generation of implicatures by the characters in the two plays is highly determined by social factors, Hamlet and Cesario use implicature more than other characters, the most used implicature is the particularized one, the purpose of using implicatures differs in the plays, implicature is generated from flouting Grice's maxims and most implicatures are made by violating the relation maxim. The study concludes that the implications in Hamlet are more than those in Twelfth Night, that Shakespeare uses two implicatures generalized and particularized, and that Implicature in Hamlet and Twelfth Night is generated mostly by violating the maxims of quality. As for the least flouted maxim in the two plays is the maxim of quantity.


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