Noh Drama Criticism: Structure - Essay

Donald Richie (essay date spring 1965)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Richie, Donald. “Notes on the Noh.” The Hudson Review 18, no. 1 (spring 1965): 70-80.

[In the following essay, Richie describes the Noh's use of images, its structure, pacing, music, masks, rituals, and actors, emphasizing the singularity of Noh as an art form that in many ways defies comparison with any Western dramatic form.]


It is not impossible to read the Noh as literature, but it is difficult. It requires the kind of imagination essential to anyone who sits in complete silence and reads a score. It also requires a like amount of skill—whether the text is translated or not. Going to the Noh in Japan is very like...

(The entire section is 4600 words.)

Roy E. Teele (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Teele, Roy E. “The Structure of the Japanese Noh Play.” In Chinese and Japanese Music-Dramas, edited by J. I. Crump and William P. Mann, pp. 189-212. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1975.

[In the following essay, Teele discusses the structure of the Noh play, presenting an abstract construct of an ideal play and holding his model up against several popular works of different types, including ceremonial or congratulatory plays, warrior plays, woman plays, and various “problem” plays.]

Any attempt to study the structure of the Japanese Noh play must perforce start with Zeami Motokiyo, its greatest practitioner and...

(The entire section is 8432 words.)