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Realism And God In Plays Essay

984 words - 4 pages

“Your home is regarded as a model home, your life as a model life. But all this splendor, and you along with it... it's just as though it were built upon a shifting quagmire. A moment may come, a word can be spoken, and both you and all this splendor will collapse.” This pragmatic view and belief came from the mind of Henrik Ibsen, the often regarded, founder of realism. A new form of drama introduced in the later 19th century, realism, was an “attempt to create an illusion of everyday life onstage” as stated in Edwin Wilson’s Living Theatre: A History (403). So the question would arise as to wonder where God fits in this realistic view of life in the theatre. If the suggestion was to leave nothing out, God is omnipresent and should not be forgotten. However, some would argue that God is ethereal and His presence cannot be recreated and put on a stage. So is faith in the supernatural viable subject matter for realistic theatre? There is definitely reason to believe so considering these three points: first, in real life, people of the time and to this day have had strong faith in God and the unknown plans He has had for them, second that the realists of the time were accustomed to having God in their lives, so why would they not include it in their plays and thirdly, that God may be believed to be more of a spiritual being, but in reality, Jesus was sent to the world far before the time of realistic drama, to teach about the hard lessons of life and went through the hardships of a human life that should have been shared as a primary example to mirror His life to the rest of humankind.
The above quote by Ibsen encompasses that idea of realism entirely; life is not a perfect entity, it will eventually collapse and run into its trials and tribulations. Before realism the world of theater had turned into an idealistic universe of unrealistic lives and false happy endings, with the styles of Romanticism and the Well-Made Play. Realism argued against the design of the neoclassical ideals and supported the notion that “no subject matter should be excluded from the stage” (Wilson, 403). This idea was supported with the use of an underlying faith found in the characters of these realistic plays. The realists were determined to “create complicated personalities who would have seemed to be molded…by heredity and environment.” (403). The characters would have been brought up with religious views and whether they were written to believe them or not, there was still evidence in their plays of a greater being. It is absolutely important that God have a place in realistic theatre, because it is just another way to challenge the faith placed in Him. He never promised life to be easy, but as it says...

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