BREAKING FROM TRADITION: J.M.R. LENZ’S VIEWS ON MORALITY AND THEIR EFFECTS ON HIS DRAMA
Curran, Veronica Rose
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This thesis explores the unique way in which J.M.R. Lenz incorporates topics of morality into his 18th-century playwriting. It examines his various theoretical texts and how they influence his playwriting and views on morality, presenting his insights as a complete system. It describes his rejection of Aristotelian-influenced French Classicism and his unique take on traditional views of morality. These ideas are brought together in discussion of three of his plays, Der neue Menoza, Der Hofmeister, and Die Soldaten. Through these plays Lenz demonstrates the varying ways in which his characters view morality’s influence on their lives. The main argument made in this thesis is that Lenz rejects the concept of theater as a tool for moral teaching and instead uses it to teach his audience about real life and to give them an opportunity for self-reflection.