– Kenneth Burke’s Pentad

Kenneth Burke created a critical technique called Dramatism. The primary base of dramatism is the concept of motive: the reasons why people do the things they do. He also believed that life was drama and we may discover the motives of people (or as he refers to them, actors) by looking for their specific type of motivation in action and discourse. He created a ‘pentad’ which are five questions to find out the motives of these actors.

  1. Act: What happened?
  2. Scene: Where is the act happening?
  3. Agent: Who is involved in the action?
  4. Agency: How do the agents act?
  5. Purpose: Why do the agents act?

Kenneth Burke – ‘If action, then drama; if drama, then conflict; if conflict, then victimage.’


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