Semiotic Analysis of Television Show Dexter

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Semiotic Analysis of Television Show Dexter

Semiotics is the study of meaning. There are many aspects that go into developing a semiotic analysis. They include signs, a signifier and signified, codes, opposition, code confusion, intertexuality, paradigms, and syntagyms. Before delving into the analysis, the meaning of each of these terms and their relation to semiotics must be made clear. A sign could be anything that stands for something else. A signifier is the physical object that represents something else, while the signified is the image the object relays. Codes are a set of rules that govern everything. Opposition, or binary opposition, which is used in this analysis, is when two things or people are used as opposites against one another. This further elevates each person's role or meaning. Code confusion is when rules or codes are deliberately broken, often in order to generate humor. Paradigms are a collection of codes or signs that are put together in a certain manner to induce meaning. A syntagym deals with order, how and why a show (in this analysis Dexter) is ordered a certain way. Now with the basic semiotic terms understood it is possible to delve into the semiotic analysis of Dexter.

Dexter is a fictional television show that airs on premium cable, Showtime, and it is usually about an hour in length. The episode used during this analysis was episode eight, Shrink Wrap. The main character is Dexter Morgan, who by day is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department's Homicide Unit, but during his off-hours he is a serial killer who murders other serial killers. He is very skilled at ensuring that his murders are left a mystery, however, another serial killer called the Ice Truck Killer is stalking him. He leaves Dexter notes and at times a disassembled Barbie Doll that resembles the way the Ice Truck Killer murders his victims, by freezing them, draining their blood, and slicing them up into clean cut and blood free...
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