S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.15 (1985) (인문논총)
Action and Drama
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문과학연구소
- 인문논총, Vol.15, pp. 39-52
- Since Aristotle defined tragedy as "an imitation of action," critics have been interested in the question how action is involved in drama. They have usually attempted to examine and define the nature of action as the means of comprehending the nature of drama. Characteristically, they have inquired into the nature of action from the spectator's standpoint rather than from the doer's. In this paper, I have tried to comprehend action from the doer's viewpoint rather than from the spectator's. From the doer's viewpoint, one deals with the object or the other person in terms of the interchange of action and reaction. Acting upon and reacting to the object or the other person are the two phases or forms of human action. From these two forms of action, interestingly enough, the two forms of drama, namely, comedy and tragedy are derived. The form of comedy is founded upon the form of action that lies in acting upon the other person, while the form of tragedy is modelled upon the form of action that consists in reacting to the other rather than acting upon the other. As for the content of action, one does anything as the means to fulfil one's desire and aim. When one acts upon the other, one aims to lead the other to have the same desire that one has. At the same time, the other also aims to lead the one's desire to be assimilated with his own. Before they are led to have the same desire, they do not arrive at agreement or reconciliation. The interchange of action and reaction between one and the other thus ends either in their reconciliation through the assimilation of one's desire with the other's or in their rupture through the conflict between their desires. These two processes of action are concerned with the two different contents of comedy and tragedy. The content of comic action lies in the process of achieving reconciliation through the assimilation of one's desire to the other's, while that of tragedy is concerned with the rupture which comes from the conflict between the two parties' desires.