Examining the Power Frame in A. Pushkin’s “Boris Godunov”

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2018, Vol. 4. №4

Examining the Power Frame in A. Pushkin’s “Boris Godunov”

For citation: Lobanova E. A. 2018. “Examining the Power Frame in A. Pushkin’s ‘Boris Godunov’”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 4, no 4, pp. 26-40. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2018-4-4-26-40

About the author:

Ekaterina A. Lobanova, Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Intercultural Professional Communication in Natural Sciences, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tyumen; e.a.lobanova@utmn.ru; ORCID: 0000-0001-7316-6464


This article examines the cognitive features of the power frame in A. Pushkin’s historical tragedy “Boris Godunov”. The study of linguistic frames has been of significant interest to many linguists; nonetheless, there is still a noticeable lack of academic research on the subject. The author of this study intends to clarify the definition of frame by considering numerous approaches defining this term in contemporary research. Pushkin’s closet play is dedicated to the period of Boris Godunov’s reign (1598-1605) and False Dmitry I’s invasion. In this play, Pushkin depicts a realistic embodiment of the characters’ images, with one of the main topics raised in the tragedy involving the question of power and the person. According to Pushkin, any power is violence, and therefore evil.

The theme of the legitimate monarch’s overthrow and the usurpation of power is central to the work, with the motive for the usurpation of power presented from the usurper’s point of view, thereby adding complexity and humanity to the villain’s actions.

This study aims to identify the ways of implementing the cognitive framing of power within the work, especially by examining Boris’ soliloquy, one of the play’s most iconic scenes. The author integrates different research approaches in order to apply an integrative approach to the study of literary discourse, combining methods of both cognitive linguistics and discourse analysis throughout the work. This study distinguishes the features of the power frame (its use and implementation) and shows that this linguistic frame is indeed the leading one. It also presents the main character’s dominant personality type based on Renaissance dualisms. Finally, this study analyzes conditionally-designated nominations of slots in Tsar Boris soliloquy from the standpoint of Machiavellian ideas.


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