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The Necessity of TheaterThe Art of Watching and Being Watched$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332001.001.0001

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People Worth Watching: Characters

People Worth Watching: Characters

(p.93) FIVE People Worth Watching: Characters
The Necessity of Theater

Paul Woodruff (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A character, in the art of theater, is a person worth watching, whether that person is fictional, historical, or actually present. Persons are worth watching if we are able to see them as agents with whom we can become emotionally engaged; they are carable about. A particular character takes his or her identity not from personal qualities or êthos, which is a universal, but from particular relationships with other characters. To be coherent, a character should act in ways that do not defy reasonable expectation (Aristotle's eikos), but characters may be reasonably expected to do unreasonable things. The most effective character is a “center of love,” who loves and is loved, and who has a past and pursues a future. This presents a problem for comedy, which often engages audiences through means other than character.

Keywords:   character, universal, êthos, Aristotle, love, comedy

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