Main Types and Satire in Language in the Traditional Turkish Shadow Puppet Play

Coşar A. M., Usta C.

BILIG, no.51, pp.13-32, 2009 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 51
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.13-32
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Karagoz, the most favorite branch of traditional Turkish folk theatre, has lost its long-lasting charm in the eye of the audience. Researchers, however, are still attracted to Karagoz with the same sense of inspiration, and the shadow puppet theatre continues to be a significant area of research. However, Turkish shadow puppet theatre is a complex subject. Sympathy towards the Karagoz character-who is the teaser of the arena-sometimes influences scientific views, hence causing the disappearance of objectivity. Some researchers claim that the Karagoz character represents Turks and Turkishness and that he is a model in terms of behavior and language use. According to them, this charming shadow systematically criticizes Hacivat and on his behalf the intellectuals whose language is full of foreign expressions. Such a dedication to Karagoz has naturally invited opposite views too. Some researchers have preferred to be on Hacivat's side and chosen Hacivat as a model character. This study examines all the information at hand and demonstrates that neither Hacivat nor Karagoz represents a one-sided character (either good or bad) and that Karagoz does not systematically criticize the language of Hacivat.