Neoclassicism In Othello And Tartuffe

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        Looking back at the 1600 – 1700’s, we can see that there are some characteristics that make up what is now known as Neoclassicism, which are different from previous time periods. One difference is their Three Principles: morality, reality, and generality. Reality means that they confined their writing to things that could actually happen in real life. Morality is supposed to teach one how to live life, so that they are able to go to a better place. Neoclassicists felt that for people to believe what they see on stage, they have to find commonality, or generality, in the characters. They want people to feel that they can recognize the characters. Another Neoclassicism characteristic is their Three Unity's, (instead of two): time, place, and action. To them their stage time had to equal seat time. They did not think the audience would believe that days, weeks, months, or even years had passed.

Second, all their action happened in the same place. They did not move around from place to place. Neoclassicists also came up with the idea of Deus Ex Machina, where a character we have yet to see in the play, comes in at the end to bring all the events to a conclusion.

        Neoclassicists would, not consider Shakespeare’s Othello, realistic. A person typically would not go to the extent that Iago does in this play to seek revenge and gain power. He lies, manipulates, and plots murder. Tartuffe by Moliere, on the other hand, would be considered realistic. Valere and Mariane are in love, but her father wants her to marry someone whom she does not love. “…Say of him, then, That he’s the very worthiest of men, And that you’re fond of him, and would rejoice In being his wife, if that should be my choice…” Him...