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Transcript of Romanticism
• By the end of the 18th century there began a rebellion against the ideals of Neoclassicism.
• The oppressive rules of Neoclassicism only applied to regular drama, so other theatre forms emerged.
• Many of these irregular forms followed the example of opera, which was never held to any rules, but had become costly and elitist.
Beggar's Opera (1728)
This rejection of Neoclassicism eventually led to
Favors socially acceptable norms
Supernatural elements in drama frowned upon as improbable products of fantasy rather than reason.
Character behavior according to socially accepted norms pertaining to age, social status, occupation, ethnicity, and gender
Unities of time, place, and action
Generic scenery and costumes emphasizing the essential rather than the particular
Favors the variety of nature and its particular manifestations
Mystical and supernatural elements embraced as aspects of existence beyond the confines of rationality
Character behavior frequently defiant of socially accepted norms.
Unities of time, place, and action not followed.
Particular scenery and costumes, often details from real-life locations and costumes beginning to individualize characters
was the pop culture manifestation of Romanticism and it became the most popular dramatic form of the 19th century.
Truth is to be found in the universal
Truth is to be found in the infinite variety of creation
Melodrama = music drama
Action accompanied by musical score that enhanced the emotional tone
Emphasized clear moral tone and suspenseful plots
Set pattern of action: Good are rewarded and Evil are punished = poetic justice
Characters were stereotypes (Good, Evil)
Elaborately staged spectacle
The Advent of
As melodrama was peaking in popularity, other theories and beliefs were undermining the absolutist moral values on which it depended
Charles Darwin released
The Origin of Species
in 1859, which challenged many of the Judeo-Christian beliefs about the creation and nature of mankind.
The writings of Sigmund Freud gave us new and profound insight into the mind and human nature.
Man became a product of his heredity and his environment
Society must also accept some responsibility for learned behavior
Progress and change is a natural process more than fixity
Basic human instincts = aggression and sexuality
Humans have a need for socialization: rewards and punishments teach acceptable behavior
Right and wrong are constructs relative to family, individual, society
The Founder of the Modern Drama
Naturalism, unlike Realism, was not successful in theatre. The is possibly due to the extreme demands.
The Chief advocate of Naturalism was Emile Zola.
Zola believed that the dramatist should expose social ills so that their causes would be corrected.
Naturalists believed that many Realists were more concerned with theatrical effectiveness than truth.
It was believed that a play should be a "slice of life," forgoing complications, crises, and resolutions.
Naturalism was short-lived and produced few plays of significance.