Essay on Realism and God in Plays

Essay on Realism and God in Plays

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“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 t...


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...bles, there is no reason God should be excluded from the world of realism. God is real life; He essentially evoked these thoughts into the minds of the realists.
In conclusion, with the support of humanity’s faith in God, the influence God had on realistic playwrights and the existence of a physical divine being who lived through the ultimate realities of life, the question of faith in the supernatural as a subject matter for realistic theatre is undeniably viable. Their idea of realistic drama was not to banish God out of the world they wanted to recreate but they were tired of not addressing the harsh realities of life. The idea was not to offend the audience, but rather sought to establish a commonality and similarity to a non-perfect world. A world that had fallen, broken people, who, with faith in someone greater, could overcome the hardships they faced.

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