Romantic drama and Forefathers' Eve as an example of the genre

A romantic drama is a type of work that developed during the Romantic era. It stands in opposition to the classicist drama. An example of a work written in this genre in Poland is "Dziady" by Adam Mickiewicz.

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1. Romantic drama in the 19th century

Romantic drama is one of the most frequently cultivated genres in the Romantic era. They reached for it, among others Victor Hugo ("Maria Tudor"). In Poland, this genre was created by: Adam Mickiewicz ("Dziady"), Juliusz Słowacki ("Balladyna") and Zygmunt Krasicki ("Nie-divine comedy").

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The authors of the romantic drama referred to the dramaturgy of William Shakespeare, the Spanish baroque drama and bourgeois drama.

2. Dziady as an example of a romantic drama

A perfect example of a romantic drama is Adam Mickiewicz's Dziady, which appeared in print in 1823 in Vilnius. Their second part was written the earliest, because the author of "Pan Tadeusz" was writing it from December 1820, but he finished it only three years later. The third part of "Dziady", called the Dresden ones, was written at the turn of October and November 1832. It was published in the same year as the fourth volume of "Poetry".

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Adam Mickiewicz was very well educated. He was fascinated by ancient literature. The structure of the ancient drama (cf. King Oedipus) was well known to him. No wonder then that he referred to it while writing Dziady. In the work, he retained the Greek principle of the three unities - time, place and action. A choir appears in the second movement, just like in the ancient prototype. In turn, in the fourth part, Mickiewicz limited the number of actors on the stage.

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The poet, however, introduced a few modifications. His piece is an example of a romantic drama. It is distinguished by:

  • The open composition of the piece - the romantic drama is distinguished by its open composition. For example: we do not know what happened to the Shepherdess, who was taken out of the chapel in the second part of "Dziady".
  • Ghosts appear on the stage - in the classic drama, the rule was to show the world presented only in one realistic convention. In the second part of Dziady, the ghosts of Józio and Rózia, the Evil Lord, the reckless Zosia and the mysterious Specter appear. An extraterrestrial being is Gustaw from the fourth part of Dziady.
  • Population - the creators of the Romantic era eagerly referred to folk beliefs and truths. In the romantic drama we also find a reference to the folk sense of justice.
  • Break with the cause and effect chain
  • The mood of mystery, horror - this is the mood that Mickiewicz maintains almost throughout the entire action of the drama. Part II takes place late in the evening and ends - just after midnight, which is called the hour of ghosts for a reason. Phantoms, phantoms and ghosts appear on the stage.

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In the third edition of Dziady, Adam Mickiewicz broke with the principle of the three unities. The action takes place in the prison of the Basilian monastery in Vilnius, a country house near Lviv, the seat of Nowosilcow in Vilnius, a salon in Warsaw, in a cemetery and in Russia. There is also no unity of time, because the action takes place on November 1, on Christmas Eve and on Easter.

Genre syncretism also appears in the romantic drama. It is also possible to combine collective and intimate scenes and mix realism with fantasy.

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