Vol. 5, Issue 5 (2019)
Discourse and Social Realities: Assessing dorothy L. Sayers’ The Man Born to be King
Author(s): Shritama Mukherjee
Abstract: The proposed paper is going to delve in an assessment of the language used in Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Man Born to be King and contextualizing the same. This 1943 play comes in the midst of several hard hitting realities, the foremost of which is to grapple with the ongoing World War II. The play deals with the various episodes in Christ’s life from nativity to his Crucifixion and finally, his resurrection. A text of the high modernist era, it is the most interesting in its use of “modern English” and the language of “flesh-and-blood” people, to quote Sayers. Substituting Bible English, the Sermons and episodes, as recounted in the New Testament, to create a new literature of sorts, gave rise to several criticisms. The research objective in this paper will be to study the dynamics of recreating a canonical text, dramatizing it in a new language—a language suited not only to the times but also to the tastes and sensibilities of the people of that era. Dealing with a religious text, reinventing it, infused with the playwright’s own imagination and contextualizing it according to the social realities of the time manipulated by language is a commendable feat. Sayers’ use of language in her much celebrated The Man Born to be King will be the focus of this paper.