School of Communication and Digital Content


Master of Arts in Communication (MA)


David Allison

Primary Subject Area

Theater; Religion, General; Religion, Biblical Studies; Mass Communications


Judas Iscariot, Narrative Fidelity, Narrative Paradigm, Narrative Probability, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Walter R. Fisher


Christianity | Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | History of Christianity | Religion | Rhetoric and Composition | Theatre and Performance Studies


Stephen Adly Guirgis has created an era-melting play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, which explores the timeless debate between divine mercy and free will. A systematic application of Walter R. Fisher's narrative analysis, through form identification and a functional analysis, determined how Guirgis accomplishes persuasion. This qualitative study focused on Guirgis's narrative, using Walter R. Fisher's narrative paradigm as a framework to answer the research question(s): (1) If Guirgis's ideology and created world in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot are foreign and imagined, how is narrative probability and narrative fidelity achieved?; and, (2) How does Guirgis persuade his audience through narrative probability and narrative fidelity? Research found that Guirgis achieves narrative probability and narrative fidelity because his dramatic action is complete, self-contained, purposeful, varied, engages and maintains the interest of the audience, and is probable. This thesis concluded that persuasion can only be achieved when narrative probability and narrative fidelity are present.