Alberto Moravia Essay - Critical Essays

Alberto Moravia Drama Analysis

Alberto Moravia led Italian literature away from the romanticism of the past and championed the realism he believed suited the twentieth century. As a realist, he intended his writing to bear witness to reality in a manner that affirmed the objective existence of both people and things. Moravia explored the world and the psychological state of his characters in relation to each other. He shunned “artistic” prose as mere verbal exercises and mythologizing as falseness. He concentrated exclusively on character and situation. His fiction proved to be so dramatic in quality that more than twenty of his novels were adapted into films.

Moravia’s plays provided a direct platform for the expression of ideas he found stylistically difficult to include in his novels, yet they seldom captivated audiences with the same power that his fiction achieved. In Moravia’s drama, characters often make long speeches embodying their author’s views of reality and the human condition. Productions of his plays were short-lived and received little critical acclaim. Many have yet to be translated into English. Over time, Moravia came to believe that theater in Italy had been surpassed in quality by film and that the country’s bourgeois audiences lacked vitality and diversity and so were only interested in drama as a social event. In the public view, Moravia’s collection of essays L’uomo come fine e altri saggi, 1964 (Man as an End: A Defense of Humanism: Literary, Social and Political Essays, 1965) more attractively expressed many of his principal ideas and beliefs, ones that were difficult to communicate in his chosen novel form and that were not well received as plays.

Gli Indifferenti

The drama version of Gli Indifferenti (the indifferent ones), produced in 1948, recasts the story of the meaningless life of a young Italian male, a plot clearly drawn from Moravia’s own youth and his disenchantment with Italian society. In the play, the young man’s sister is seduced by his mother’s lover, but despite the dishonor to himself and his family, the young man...

(The entire section is 866 words.)