Realism in the American Theater

An analysis of how Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer and Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under Elms demonstrate realism in drama.

This paper analyzes two American plays: Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer” and Eugene O’Neill’s “Desire Under Elms” examples of Realism in Drama. The paper discusses the use of setting in both plays as well as the role of parenthood and women. The paper also looks at themes of secrets that are kept in the family, man’s place in nature and death. The paper highlights how every part of the plays, including the scenes, characters, plot and themes, have a thread of realism that ties them all together.
Realism in drama is the dipiction of things as they are in real life: the setting, of a realistic play attempt to have as much realism as possible on stage so that it looks like a real place and has the certain elements that the playwright uses to project a feeling about the play. The characters are drawn to be real as possible with quirks and idiosycracies, not stereotypes or one dimensional. The plot of a realist play deals with real life issues and conflicts not some confluted plot that always has a happy ending.

Like their literary predecessors, Ibsen and Chekhov, the reality that is put forth in Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under The Elms and Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer is one of the family dynamic. These two worked deal with relationships that are so controlling and suffocating they lead to death. Both of these plays have reality so darkly depicted that they were banned in certain cities when they opened.”

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