In Fifth Business, how does Davies use the term "fifth business" to develop the character of Dunstan?

Davies, author of Fifth Business, uses his definition of "fifth business" as the touchstone for the character of Dunstan Ramsay throughout the book. As narrator of the book, Dunstan is always "fifth business," and, as such, he's essential to the recognition and development of his own character, no matter if at any time in his life he's the hero, villain, or confidante.

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Fifth Business Definition:

Those roles which, being neither those of Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villain, but which were nonetheless essential to bring about the Recognition or the denouement, were called the Fifth Business in drama and opera companies organized according to the old style; the player who acted these parts was often referred to as Fifth Business.

—Tho. Overskou, Den Daaske Skueplads

It's important to know that this epigraph to Robertson Davies's 1970 novel, Fifth Business, is itself a fiction.

There was a Tho. [Thomas] Overskou (1798–1873)—a Danish actor, playwright and theater historian—and he did write (with Edgar Collins) a six-volume treatise entitled Den Danske Skueplads, I Dens Historie, Fra De Første Spor Af Danske Skuespil Indtil Vor Tid (The Danish Stage, From the First Traces of Danish Plays to Our Time), but no such definition of "fifth business" exists anywhere in the six volumes of the work. Davies made it up.

It's also important to know that William Robertson...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1018 words.)

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