CONSPIRACY OF FUN: BREAKING DRAMATIC ILLUSION IN ROMAN COMEDY

Louise Cilliers

Abstract


1 The remarkable phenomenon of dramatic illusion
One of the most remarkable phenomena in dramatic performances is the way in
which adults get involved in the events on the stage, to the extent of going through
agonies of suspense, fear and pity while knowing full well that these events are pure
make-believe.1 It is even more remarkable that this capacity for living in two worlds
simultaneously-one real, one imaginary-was accepted as a commonplace for so
many centuries. Only recently did drama theorists and psychologists start doing
research on the complex problem of spectators'/viewers' emotional reaction to art
and literature,2 thereby casting some light on the intricate question of the extent to
which spectators/viewers become immersed in the illusionary world of the
stage/screen and identify with the characters.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7445/41-3-4-201

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