Figurative Language in a specific socio-cultural context: An analysis of the Broadway Musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

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Thunjitra Noiboonsook*
Rebecca K. Webb


The objectives of this study are to identify the types, analyze the meaning, and find historically cultural examples of late 19th century British use of figurative language .There are fourteen songs selected from the Broadway Musical “Sweeney Todd :The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, ”composed by Stephen Sondheim original cast recording of 1979, as the data . Fourteen types of figurative language :allusion, apostrophe, irony, metaphor, metonymy, overstatement, oxymoron, paradox, personification, pun, simile, symbol, synecdoche, and understatement were used as the framework of analysis .The findings show that there are 73 samples of 14 types of figurative language in 14 songs .The most highly found type of figurative language was metaphor, yielding 14 examples. And second to metaphor was allusion, with 12 examples from all the songs. And the song containing the biggest number of figurative language types was “No Place Like London”. It includes 7 types: simile, metonymy, synecdoche, overstatement, personification, allusion, and pun .The findings of this study show a connection between language and historically cultural uses of figurative language embedded in lyrics

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