The Characteristics Of Dramatic Action In Scradi, By Friedrich Schiller

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Friedrich Schiller, a German playwright most notable for his work within the Sturm und Drang movement, held a belief that directly contradicts what many might expect of a piece of literary work: that “sight is always more powerful to a man than description”. He goes on to state how this is what makes theatre such a unique medium, allowing it to hold “more [power] than morality or law”. One of Schiller’s predecessors that agreed with him on this concept was Gotthold Lessing, a fellow German writer. (Schiller 251)
Lessing composed a series of theoretical essays about the German drama, collected within his Hamburg Dramaturgy. While the publication did not last long, one of its shorter essays reflects on an interesting portion of drama: the dramatic action. Lessing’s writing specifically focuses upon seeing who people truly are, and how on the stage the audience “can only see it through [the character’s] actions”. He focuses upon the fact that hearsay from characters, a ‘he said, she said’ approach to determine the traits of a character, “leaves us quite indifferent” to the characters being portrayed on stage. Consequently, this makes it harder to connect with these figures, as the audience has no way of judging the characters for themselves. (Lessing 5) The focus of action is evident in his tragedy Emilia Galotti from the very first few scenes. The Prince is seen by the audience to be very expressive and impulsive, with stage directions such as “and throws it down again” (77),

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