Is The Hairy Ape an expressionistic play?
Expressionism is a movement began in early 20th century in German and soon spread over the whole Europe. It initiated in paintings and quickly started to include music, literature and architecture. It was a new technique used in drama of Strindberg and later became a theatrical movement round about the First World War. O’Neill was influenced by them and his play titled The Hairy Ape illustrated expressionistic style. The expressionistic touch is found from the very beginning to the last scene of the play. Expressionism was never a well defined movement. However the prominent feature is a revolt against the literary tradition of realism. Its intention is to present the world from a subjective perspective. This dramatic technique seeks to represent concretely on the stage what happens inside the mind of the character without any direct statement. Through the behavior and language or dialogues it enables a playwright to depict ‘inner reality’, the soul or psyche of the characters. The Hairy Ape by O’Neill is a play which presents the contrast between the capitalist society and the working class people. How the working class people were oppressed by the mechanical aristocrat people. The major character of the play Yank is a fireman on a Translantic Ocean Liner. Yank is the representative of a working class. His full name is Robert Smith. As in the beginning he seems that he is very proud of himself and his job. He thinks his power is very strong and he belongs to them who makes the ship moves. Yank is highly individualized in the play. In expressionistic technique focuses all attention on the central character but the other characters are not. There are some voices as a background to throw into sharp relief the central figure. All this enable the playwright to focus on the obsession of Yank and proceeding in his mind. Expressionistic technique has a number of short scenes and each scene should be detachable, which is...
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