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Unities, The

  In the 17th century, neoclassical critics elevated and distorted Aristotle\'s discussion (in Poetics) of some aspects of theatrical verisimilitude into a set of rigid prescriptions, called the Unities of Time, Place, and Action. According to these rules, the represented action of a play should not be longer than a day, it should have unity of action with no digressions, and it should take place in one location (sometimes interpreted to mean one town, thus permitting different locations within the town). Although the Unities made a considerable impact on European critics and on some French dramaturgy between the 17th and 19th centuries, they did not offer the universal model of playwriting that their supporters claimed for them. TRG SS

See also drama; epic theatre; naturalism; tragedy.



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