Victor Hugo Drama Analysis
Critics divide Victor Hugo’s theater into four categories, excluding the plays before Cromwell. The first group constitutes his romantic dramas in verse: Cromwell, Marion de Lorme, Hernani, The King Amuses Himself, and Ruy Blas. Romantic dramas in prose include Amy Robsart, Lucretia Borgia, Marie Tudor, and Angelo, Tyrant of Padua. The Burgraves and Torquemada form his epic theater, while Théâtre en liberté is lyric comedy. Although there is a distinct evolution, particularly in the development of the plot after Cromwell, and a greater integration of themes after Ruy Blas, all of Hugo’s plays have definite characteristics that mark them as his own dramatic creations.
After 1830, the role of woman becomes more important, possibly because of Juliette Drouet’s influence in Hugo’s life. At the same time, the populist theme grows in importance, culminating in the character of Ruy Blas, the man of the people. Hugo usually portrayed royalty in decline or dissipation, and Ruy Blas emphasizes this theme. Hugo’s earlier works tend to have tragic, melodramatic endings, while in his later works he moves to more human themes, and in La Grand-mère and Mangeront-ils?, maternal and conjugal love triumph.
The exposition is straightforward and usually takes place in the first few...
(The entire section is 2691 words.)
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