Developed by Kenneth Burke, and sometimes called the Pentad because of its five key terms, Dramatism offers a simple yet effective way to generate ideas. It resembles the Journalist's Questions and, like them, can be applied to many topics.
The Five Key Terms of Dramatism
|Act:||What is happening?|
|Agent:||Who is doing it?|
|Agency:||What method is being used?|
|Purpose:||What is the goal, intent, objective?|
|Scene:||Where and when is it happening?|
These questions themselves are useful, but the true power of the Pentad comes when the key terms are combined to construct what Burke calls "ratios." These ratios yield a second layer of questions, often more interesting and penetrating than the first.
These ratios yield a second layer of questions, often more interesting and penetrating than the first.
The ratios of the Pentad can be used to create a master/subquestion pattern:
|Purpose:||What was the purpose of Reconstruction?|
|Act/Purpose:||How did the Acts of Reconstruction relate to this purpose?|
|Agent/Purpose:||Who determined that this was necessary?|
|Agency/Purpose:||Was this an effective means of accomplishing the purpose?|
|Scene/Purpose:||Why was this goal considered important for the South at that time?|
1.11 Use the ratios of the Pentad to construct some master/subquestion combinations on a subject you're interested in writing about.
Try one from scratch:
Remember, when using the Pentad or any other discovery aid, that the purpose is to help you open up and explore a subject. You want to find new insights and ideas. Don't let the mechanics of the system bog you down. Use the methods as springboards for your imagination.