Semiotic Analysis of Television Show Dexter Essay

1491 Words Feb 21st, 2008 6 Pages
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
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In analyzing the show, there are various signs that are found. Right from the start, the show's title is a very telling sign. The title Dexter is written with bloodstains spewed across it. This represents Dexter's job, a blood spatter analyst, as well as his hobby of murdering. It also sets a tone of violence, which is a major characteristic of the show. The show's introduction also serves as a sign. The introduction follows Dexter through his normal morning ritual, breaking an egg and frying meat for breakfast. Also he is shown slicing into various fruits with a sharp knife and grinding his coffee. Although this may sound normal, the way in which he is portrayed doing this provides the audience with an eerie feeling. The enjoyment Dexter gets out of cutting into objects and cooking things that could have been alive represents the enjoyment he has for murder. Dexter anxiously looks for people who have done wrong to others, usually regarding another person's death, and eagerly sets out to kill them. He even keeps a file full of blood samples from each person he has murdered.
The title of this episode, Shrink Wrap, also serves as a sign. In this episode Dexter goes to a psychiatrist whom he believes may be connected in the deaths of three women that his homicide unit was examining. Although they ruled the deaths out as suicides, Dexter felt something was

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