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What is Realism? Realism is the movement toward representing reality as it actually is, in art. Realistic drama is an attempt to portray real life on stage, a movement away from the conventional melodramas and sentimental comedies of the 1700s. It is expressed in theatre through the use of symbolism, character development, stage setting and storyline and is exemplified in plays such as Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. The arrival of realism was indeed good for theatre as it promoted greater audience involvement and raised awareness of contemporary social and moral issues. It also provided and continues to provide a medium through which playwrights can express their views about societal values, attitudes and morals. A Doll's House, for example, is the tragedy of a Norwegian housewife who is compelled to challenge law, society and her husband's value system. It can be clearly recognized as a realistic problem drama, for it is a case where the individual is in opposition to a hostile society. Ibsen's sympathy with the feminine cause has been praised and criticized; as he requires the audience to judge the words and actions of the characters in order to reassess the values.
For another example we can look within the text of Brian Friel’s play Translations. In this play we can see most, if not all of the characteristics of Realism. Let us dissect the show through the characters and touch on Friel’s usage of symbolism, character development, stage setting and storyline to see his connections with realism.
Symbolism, “the term Symbolism means the systematic use of symbols or pictorial conventions to express an allegorical meaning. Symbolism is an important element of most religious arts and reading symbols plays a main role in psychoanalysis.” At the opening of the text, Manus one of the main players is teaching Sarah to speak. He is being very patient with her because he believes that it is very important to teach her to articulate, 'Come on, Sarah. This is our secret'. When we see how hard Sarah is finding it to speak English it makes us feel that she is the symbol for Ireland's backward positions on English, and English influence. Jimmy another character on the other hand, represents the educated civilized tradition of old Ireland. He is a scholar, however Sarah is the opposite. She is a contemporary Ireland, as she has no v...
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... may or may not have occurred “kind of like the movie Titanic”, it is still feasible. The plot is based on the characters having multiple catharses. Love is realized and lost, importance of heritage is found and lost, and death occurs.
Realism has had a profound effect on fiction from places as far-flung as Russia and the Americas. The novel, which had been born out of the romance as a more or less fantastic narrative, settled into a realistic mode which is still dominant today. Aside from genre fiction such as fantasy and horror, we expect the ordinary novel today to be based in our own world, with recognizably familiar types of characters endowed with no supernatural powers, doing the sorts of things that ordinary people do every day. It is easy to forget that this expectation is only a century and a half old, and that the great bulk of the world's fiction before departed in a wide variety of ways from this standard, which has been applied to film and television as well. Even comic strips now usually reflect daily life. Repeated revolts against this standard by various postmodernist and magical realist varieties of fiction have not dislodged the dominance of realism in fiction.
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