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Contradictory Characters: An Interpretation of the Modern Theatre by Albert Bermel

Winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism

Playwright and critic Albert Bermel examines thirteen modern plays to assess the underpinnings of dramatic conflict. Contradictory Characters inspects the three well-known types of dramatic conflict-between characters, between character and environment, and within the protagonist himself-and argues that the "character-against-himself" is not only a type of conflict, but is indeed the prototypical conflict underlying the others.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810114418
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 05/13/1996
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Albert Bermel is a playwright, critic, and translator. He is Chairman of the Department of Speech and Theatre and Professor of Theatre at Lehman College. He is also Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Table of Contents


The Character Against Himself
The Penitent as Mother: Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen (1882)
The Child as Husband: The Father by August Strindberg (1887)
The Warrior as Peacemaker: Tiger at the Gates by Jean Giraudoux (1935)

The House Divided
The Society as Mosaic: The Three Sisters by Chekhov (1901)
The Familty as Villain: Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill (1941)
The Living Statues: Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (1921)

The Character Against His Environment
The Man as Machine: Gas II by Georg Kaiser (1920)
Hero and Heroine as Topographical Features: Krapp's Last Tape (1958) and Happy Days (1961) by Samuel Beckett
The Virgin as Heretic: Saint Joan by Bernard Shaw (1923)

The Dream Incarnator
The Paragon as Oppressor: The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht (1943)
The Monarch as Beggar: A Slight Ache by Harold Pinter (1961)
The Poet as Solipsist: Dutchman by LeRoi Jones (1964)
The Dreamer as Mankind: The Fountain of Blood by Antonin Artaud (1924)
The Artist as Self-Redeemer: When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen (1899)


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