The new hero of realist drama was:?
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“Hero” and “realism” don’t go together comfortably, because the primary feature of realistic drama is that the characters are not larger than life (the term “hero” comes from classic literature). But if we expand “hero” to mean “the protagonist who frees himself or herself from the strictures of social opinion and conformist behavior, we can address the choices:
- Unquestioningly confident in his or her own might, no matter how great the opposing forces.
- Perplexed and inarticulate in the face of myriad forces, fighting for control of his or her soul.
3. Passionate and triumphant in his or her quest for idealist causes.
- Intellectual, rational, and self-aware, always striving for the balance in decisions of divine importance.
No. 2 “Perplexed and inarticulate” does not describe Nora Helmer, or Dr. Stockmann, or any of Ibsen’s or Shaw’s or Chekhov’s protagonists;
No. 4. “Decisions of divine importance” do not figure substantively in the everyday decisions of Hedda Gabler or Major Barbara;
No. 3 “quest for idealist causes” is too impersonal and crusader-like for realism’s protagonists;
No. 1 seems to have the right spirit for Realism—“confident in his or her own might” once that might is discovered and earned. Nora, Stockmann, Hedda, and Major Barbara all go through this discover, as do the Three Sisters of Chekhov, Mrs. Wright of Sophie Treadwell’s Trifles, and Strindberg’s father in The Father.
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