How does the concept of text evolve from the 18th century onwards? Show how the role of the actor is integrated into the idea of text. Underline any contrasting views on the subject.

Essay by FetusFetishUniversity, Bachelor's October 2005

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The 18th century nursed some of the major important changes in the development of text especially with regards to the role of the actor as incorporated within the idea of text. Many of these changes came about because of the need for different countries to affirm their theatre and mostly, especially in France, because the concept of a new reformed theatre was being born. During the 19th century theatre was being used as a social tool in order to convey political issues as well as social issues to the public. The emphasis made was that theatre should reflect the contemporary issues of the time having didactic characteristics. The most radical changes took place during the 20th century where the concepts of Antonin Artaud gave theatre a mystic and supernatural outlook, eliminating the written text completely and focusing mainly on the actor and his role as the transmitter of signs and symbols in order to come closer to some metaphysical level.

All these breakthroughs in theatre throughout these three centuries will be further discussed below.

The introduction of the encyclopedia during the 18th century mainly by Diderot and D'Alembert, brought along a different look on all phenomena using reason. The order of things was being questioned among which theatre was also a member. During this turbulent time of the controversy and hype of the encyclopedia, Diderot developed a new interest: playwriting. He produced two works of striking originality with highly significant accompanying essays, Le Fils naturel (1757) and Le Pere de Famille (1758), which suggest great reforms in the theatre. Diderot considered his reforms, once articulated, to be self-evident as to win immediate acceptance, but the antagonism aroused by the Encyclopedia controversy made this an idle dream. The ultimate impact of his ideas was enormous, but the immediate effect on the...