Paul Robert Cohen was arrested and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in 1968 for wearing a jacket which read "Fuck the Draft" into a California courthouse. Appealing to the United States Supreme Court, Cohen claimed that his First Amendment rights to freedom of expression had been violated. In a landmark decision, the Court found that states cannot universally criminalize the use of expletives in public, with five justices in the majority opinion and four justices dissenting. This paper examines the link between communication theory and jurisprudence by using Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad to compare the two opinions as competing dramas.
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Communication (CLA)
RIT – Main Campus
Griffiths, Corinne, "A Tendency to Incite: Applying Kenneth Burke's Pentad to Cohen v. California" (2007). Accessed from