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By Laxmi Shiyani
Introduction
Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was born in Cherbourg, France. He
was a French social and literary critic and an essayist. Being a 20th
century philosopher, Barthes studied structuralism, poststructuralism and semiotics. He created various theories based
around films, television, audiences and narratives.
Enigma Code
• Barthes said that all narratives share structural
features that are brought together in different
ways.
• Barthes ‘Enigma Code’ is a theory that states that
any texts (television, film, a poster) portrays a
mystery to question the audience and draw them
in.
• Barthes theory of the five codes is a way of
grouping signifiers according to the role they play in
the text.
View
Barthes states that most texts are ‘readerly’ text and he
believes that they should be ‘writerly’. ‘Readerly’ texts are
presented in the usual linear and traditional manner of style.
He argues that the five codes that his theories based on
should be taken into consideration so that text can be read in
ways that brings out many meanings and connotations. Texts
in which these codes are followed are close to Barthes idea of
‘writerly’ text in the sense that it gives an idea of what the
narrative is like without telling the audience the
plot/storyline.
Barthes 5 codes
•
•
•
•
•

The Hermeneutic Code- Voice of truth
The Proairetic Code- Empirical voice
The Semantic Code- Voice of person
The Symbolic Code- Voice of symbol
The Cultural Code- Voice of knowledge
The Hermeneutic Code
Is the theory in which elements of the story is
not fully understood or explained and therefore
creates a mysterious effect towards the
audience. This code is used to try and intrigue
the audience and keep them questioned until
the final scenes towards the ending where all
the questions are answered.
The Proairetic Code
Is when tensions is built up to a
result of action or an result in
where an incident will take
place and which therefore
leaves the reader in what will
take place next.
The Hermeneutic and Proairetic
Codes work together to create a
story based around a
mysterious tension building
genre.
The Semantic Code
Is the code points to an element in a text in which the
connotation of the story is given additional meaning
over the denotative meaning of the word.
The Symbolic Code
This code is similar to the Semantic Code, however
the only difference is that this code acts at a wider
level. It sets the semantic meaning in a much broader
and deeper way. This is usually done through the use
of antithesis. This is when new meanings is lifted up
from opposing and conflict ideas.
The Cultural Code
Within this code the
audiences are seen in a
wider cultural
knowledge, morality and
ideology way. This
usually involves in
sciences and religion.
Bibliography
-Elements of Semiology (1968)
-Mythologies (1972)
-Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (1977autobiography)
-Empire of Signs (1983)
-The Rustle of Language (1986)
-Roland Barthes(1988)
-The Semiotic Challenge (1994)

Barthes theories are very important due to
him giving us a new way to express the
language of signs.

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Roland Barthes

  • 2. Introduction Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was born in Cherbourg, France. He was a French social and literary critic and an essayist. Being a 20th century philosopher, Barthes studied structuralism, poststructuralism and semiotics. He created various theories based around films, television, audiences and narratives.
  • 3. Enigma Code • Barthes said that all narratives share structural features that are brought together in different ways. • Barthes ‘Enigma Code’ is a theory that states that any texts (television, film, a poster) portrays a mystery to question the audience and draw them in. • Barthes theory of the five codes is a way of grouping signifiers according to the role they play in the text.
  • 4. View Barthes states that most texts are ‘readerly’ text and he believes that they should be ‘writerly’. ‘Readerly’ texts are presented in the usual linear and traditional manner of style. He argues that the five codes that his theories based on should be taken into consideration so that text can be read in ways that brings out many meanings and connotations. Texts in which these codes are followed are close to Barthes idea of ‘writerly’ text in the sense that it gives an idea of what the narrative is like without telling the audience the plot/storyline.
  • 5. Barthes 5 codes • • • • • The Hermeneutic Code- Voice of truth The Proairetic Code- Empirical voice The Semantic Code- Voice of person The Symbolic Code- Voice of symbol The Cultural Code- Voice of knowledge
  • 6. The Hermeneutic Code Is the theory in which elements of the story is not fully understood or explained and therefore creates a mysterious effect towards the audience. This code is used to try and intrigue the audience and keep them questioned until the final scenes towards the ending where all the questions are answered.
  • 7. The Proairetic Code Is when tensions is built up to a result of action or an result in where an incident will take place and which therefore leaves the reader in what will take place next. The Hermeneutic and Proairetic Codes work together to create a story based around a mysterious tension building genre.
  • 8. The Semantic Code Is the code points to an element in a text in which the connotation of the story is given additional meaning over the denotative meaning of the word.
  • 9. The Symbolic Code This code is similar to the Semantic Code, however the only difference is that this code acts at a wider level. It sets the semantic meaning in a much broader and deeper way. This is usually done through the use of antithesis. This is when new meanings is lifted up from opposing and conflict ideas.
  • 10. The Cultural Code Within this code the audiences are seen in a wider cultural knowledge, morality and ideology way. This usually involves in sciences and religion.
  • 11. Bibliography -Elements of Semiology (1968) -Mythologies (1972) -Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (1977autobiography) -Empire of Signs (1983) -The Rustle of Language (1986) -Roland Barthes(1988) -The Semiotic Challenge (1994) Barthes theories are very important due to him giving us a new way to express the language of signs.