Development Of Text: Discuss The Concepts Of Nature And Verisimilitude In The Renaissance Period And Contrast It To Aristotle And Horace.

1470 words - 6 pages

Verisimilitude is the appearance of truth or reality. Near synonyms include credibility, likelihood, and probability. Example: 'His testimony gave verisimilitude to her claim.' Verisimilitude can also mean an accurate portrayal of reality in art or literature. A near synonym of this sense is realism. In the late 1500's, verisimilitude was taken from the Latin verisimilitude. This was a variant on verisimilis from the Latin veri (a singular form of verum, which meant truth) and similis (like). In theatrical terms verisimilitude refers to the extent to which the drama appears to copy the offstage reality. It is also the term which we use to describe the relationship between the representation and the thing represented. During the renaissance period this concept was taken up and studied upon by intellectuals such as Castelvetro, Scaliger, and Bocacchio in Italy, Lope de Vega in Spain, Ben Johnson in England and Boileau in France. They all were familiar with the works of the ancient Greek writers particularly Aristotle and Horace, and they either expanded or contradicted Aristotle's and horace's thesis on nature and verisimilitude.In his essay 'On Aristotle's Poetics', Castelvetro starts out from the concept of art imitating nature as a creative energy. He believed that art, like nature is essentially creative. Hence an artist must eliminate the idea of imitating beauty and focus on imitating energy. His notion of art imitating nature is linked to Horace's idea that both art and nature are needed in opposition. Castelvetro holds that both art and nature can create but art is the surer way because its more applied leading us to Horace's idea of an artist's skill. His greatest development was the introduction of the three unities (the unity of time, unity of place and unity of action) through which the notion of verisimilitude emerges. The time of action in a play and the time spent in the theatre should perfectly coincide. Therefore the fictitious time should be equal to the actual (real) time. This unity of time is linked to the conditions of representation. If the real time should perfectly coincide with the fictitious time then this must be limited to twelve hours since the human physical body could not endure longer hours in the theatre due to natural bodily needs. The unity of place holds that the action must be limited to the place a person can see, that is the place the actors actually use in the performance, and not anywhere else. Time and place is where the characters are engaged in action, action being the third unity. These unities are determined in function of an audience and in turn they determine the action. Aristotle only took the unity of action into consideration and had never mentioned the unities of time and place. Castelvetro wanted to stick to more simple styles of writing which were far more close to reality. According to him, drama represents things by things and words by words, hence the ostentation of verisimilitude.Another...

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