Antonin Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty

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14 December 2021

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Antonin Artaud’s most profound piece of labor was not a poem, not a play, not an acting function, but a concept: Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty. He started to kind his Theatre of Cruelty concept after studying of the Balinese theatre that seemed, to him, to share qualities together with his ideas about theatre. Artaud held an excellent respect for Balinese theatre which revolves round dance and actions to convey which means (Encyclopedia Britannica). More traditional theatre revolves around phrases to convey meaning.

Artaud believed that the specificity of verbal interpretations received in the way in which of true that means and that utilizing physical gestures to specific thoughts was more practical (Encyclopedia Britannica). He checked out drama as extra of a physical act than a recitation of a script. The complete form of theatre, in his view, needed to be completely different to go nicely with his new idea that the aim of theatre was to specific the cruelty of human beings (Encyclopedia Britannica). Artaud was very liberal in his concepts for this new theatre.

He was specific in what he needed out of the new theatre.

He had many plans for how it will perform and many dreams of the effect it might convey to it’s audiences as nicely as the art type as a whole. Antonin Marie Artaud was born in 1846 in Marseille France to his Greek mother and father, Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud. He was one of the two surviving kids out of 9, however he was very ill. Many of his issues can be attributed to his early childhood diseases and the means in which they were treated.

As a child, Artaud suffered from meningitis of the brain, neuraligia, and clinical despair. Since he was an unhealthy child, he was handled with opium which started his life-long addiction.

As a younger man Artaud was sensible, good-looking, and succesful. He wrote poetry, but his major focus was theatre. He additionally acted in performs and directed theatre. While he was by no means well-known, he gave his life up to writing and excelled at it. His aptitude for writing strange-yet-interesting items was a results of his demented thoughts. He had strange ideas that were both brilliant and misunderstood. The opium and mental illness that introduced Artaud his talent in writing took a toll on his body and have been his eventual downfall.

Artaud spent some years of his life going out and in of psychological hospitals. He lived a fast, brief life nd he died on the young age of fifty two in a psychatric clinic. People could by no means definitely know whether Artaud was actually intellectually inspired by the medicine he was so addicted to, but one may hope that the medicine that took his life away from him at such an early age served some type of useful function. Such an odd man would appear to be more well-known, when in reality Artaud and his theories are so obscure that little can be discovered on them in any dependable assets. To totally understand Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty completely, one must first perceive the which means Artaud places into the word cruelty.

He used the phrases in many various methods to specific his personal philosophies. Artaud, in accordance with Lee Jamison, used the word cruelty to apply to many differerent philosophies and views of his. More particularly, she defines 4 alternative ways Artaud included the idea of cruelty in his theories. The first of Artaud’s conceptual definitions of cruelty is the “essense of human existence” (Jamison). This definition of cruelty is that human life has no that means, which is a cruel thought indeed. This definition shows Artaud’s jaded persepctive of life.

He believed that life had no that means and that theatre ought to show everyone else the merciless fact that he knew to be true. The second definition is cruelty as a practice, the apply of cruelty being breaking away from “false reality” (Jamison). He believed that everyone was living a lie and will simply settle for reality quite than ignoring the truth. Artaud’s third cruelty idea is that he believed that the viewers must be exposed to cruelty by means of the theatre expertise. He didn’t simply want the viewers to see cruelty up on the stage; he needed to put them in the middle of all of it and to experience it themselves.

He wanted all barriers to be erased and for the audience to turn into part of the motion in drama (Jamison). In this way the audience may have a better understanding of the concept Artaud was so eager to placed on display within the theatre. The fourth and final interpretation of cruelty is Artaud’s own private views. He thought of everything possible to be reality (Jamison). If it could possibly be thought up, it was actual. This ties in with the keen suspension of disbelief which means what the viewers is experiencing in the theatre is real in a means. The characters become people that the audience cares about.

Understanding the various meanings Artaud put on one word, cruelty, is vital to understanding his which means in his concept of Theatre of Cruelty. Artaud’s theories could very well be the work of a misuderstood genious carrying a jem of treasured mind. He makes many legitimate points in his writing. Perhaps life is just a cruel, meaningless existence. One could never know with out blind faith. There is no science to show that life has a deeper which means aside from to stay and reproduce. If dealing with the reality is cruel then Artaud believed that every one folks should stand up to cruelty and look it in the face.

Artaud could probably be proper in saying that people should not reside a lie. Putting an viewers in a dramiatic state of affairs is a fabulous idea if not taken too far. His theories may have been the beginnings of improvisational theatre or may have even spawned the modern day house of horrors. Artaud could be right about saying that even issues that exist only in the thoughts are actual. Reality is merely perception. Whether one can think of one thing or tangibly experience it, it’s real of their perception. Artaud had many excellent concepts and theories that keep it up with humanity through at present.

Artaud’s theories very properly will be the jumbled-up imaginations and creations of a drug-addicted mad man. Perhaps his psychological instability made him have a look at life through a distorted looking glass. What he saw was there, he was merely twisting it. Life itself being merciless sounds precisely like an exaggeration a depressed individual would make. Life may be great in so many ways. Existence itself is not any cruelty to mankind. Existence merely forces the dwelling to eat and breath, nothing more. Society could additionally be a cruelty to mankind, however then again civilization just isn’t innate. That people are inclined to avoid the truth is a very giant generalization to make.

It sounds like it was just made up. There isn’t any proof put behind it at all. Putting an audience by way of cruelty by making them a part of a play could be very merciless certainly. It could also be so cruel that it serves no objective in any respect, besides to drive folks away from the theatre. Looking at it fairly and scientifically, if one thing cannot be seen, smelled, heard, touched, or tasted, one can by no means know whether it is truly there. It almost seems like something that might come out of the mouth of somebody mentally unwell. The primary drawback with no one adopting Artaud’s theatre was that immense modifications must be made to the art in itself.

Buildings would have to be changed so that the viewers could be part of the motion in plays. Writers would have write in a way that demonstrated Artaud’s theories. His precise and thought-out ideas for the theatre had been too specific to be conformed to easily. If the adjustments had not been so drastic, theatres very properly might have adapted and turn into Theatres of Cruelty. Artaud was very particular in his theories. All of Artaud’s theories tied in very carefully to 1 one other. To conform to certainly one of Artaud’s concepts with out conforming to another would be an immense challenge.

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StudyScroll. (2021). Antonin Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 19 August, 2022]

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"Antonin Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty" StudyScroll, Dec 14, 2021.

"Antonin Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty" StudyScroll, 14-Dec-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 19-Aug-2022]

StudyScroll. (2021). Antonin Artaud: Theatre of Cruelty. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 19-Aug-2022]

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