The romantic drama is a theatrical kind which was born at the beginning of the 19th century following the reflections from romantic writers , in particular Victor Hugo. This new kind shows the will of the playwrights to be freed from the traditional rules (rules of the classicism), considered to be too constraining, in particular the Règle of the three units. In the romantic drama, the concern of Modernity and Réalisme prevails; one forsakes sometimes the worms for prose and one privileges the picturesque one and the emotion: one mixes, according to the word of Hugo, “sublimates it and the grotesque one”.
Victor Hugo is allowed as one of the principal theorists of the romantic drama of which it exposed the broad outlines in his foreword of Cromwell .
Many playwrights will give to this kind its noble letters, among which Musset ( Lorenzaccio , 1834), Vigny ( Chatterton , 1835) and of course Hugo ( Hernani , 1830; Ruy Blas, 1838; preface of Cromwell, 1827).
According to Victor Hugo, to the three ages of the world correspond three moments of the " poésie": the ode, the epopee, the drama. Primitive times are lyric, ancient times are epic, modern times are dramatic. The drama becomes thus a point of result, accommodating the totality of reality: " the theater is a point of optics. All that exists in the world, the History, the man, all must and can of it be thought, but under the rod of the art" , still Hugo in his foreword of Cromwell declares. With new esthetics, new dramaturgy: the freedom of art, a claim of totality, the mixture of the kinds and let us tons. For the romantic ones finally, the size of the drama is inseparable from its national, social, human mission. The moral range is never absent, it will be the weakness of the kind.
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