Winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism Playwright and critic Albert Bermel examines thirteen modern plays to assess the underpinnings of dramatic conflict. Contradictory Characters inspects the three well-known types of dramatic conflict-between characters, between character and environment, and within the protagonist himself-and argues that the "character-against-himself" is not only a type of conflict, but is indeed the prototypical conflict underlying the others.
Albert Bermel is a playwright, critic, and translator. He is Chairman of the Department of Speech and Theatre and Professor of Theatre at Lehman College. He is also Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Part 1The character against himself: the penitent as mother - Ghost, Henrik Ibsen (1882); the child as husband - The father, August Strindberg (1887); the warrior as peacemaker - Tiger at the gates, Jean Giraudoux (1935). Part 2 The house divided: the society as mosaic - The three sisters, Anton Chekhov (1901); the family as villain - Long day's journey into night, Eugene O'Neill; the living statues - Six characters in search of an author, Luigi Pirandello. Part 3 The character against his environment: the man machine - Gas II, Georg Kaiser; hero and heroine as topographical features - Krapp's last tape (1958) and Happy days (1961), Samuel Beckett. Part 3 The dream incarnator: the paragon as oppressor - The good woman of Setzuan, Bertolt Brecht (1943); the monarch as beggar - A slight ache, Harold Pinter (1961); the poet as solipsist - Dutchman by LeRoi Jones (1964); the dreamer as mankind - The fountain of blood, Antonin Artaud (1924); the artist as self-redeemer - When we dead awaken, Henrik Ibsen.