Exponent II Classics: Woman’s Exponent Revisted: The Stage

Exponent II, Vol. III, No. 4 June 1977

Woman’s Exponent Revisted

The Stage

Among the many prevailing modes of education with which the present age is familiar, there is none which exercises greater control over the attention and sympathies of the student than the dramatic stage.

It is not merely a platform of boards, with appurtenances of pasteboard and gilt.  It is not an idle show to attract people, for the purpose of spending time and money foolishly.

It is not erected, as some think, to sustain the weight of clowns who make others foolishly happy by making themselves foolishly miserable –far from it.

To the eye of the intelligent auditor the stage presents a more noble and engaging spectacle — One from which a moral can be deduced and a lesson learned, by all who know how to observe, reason and reflect.

To such, the rude carpets and paintings, the colored and gilded canvas and pasteboard, become the paraphernalia of the world in miniature.

The shifting scenes, living events, the actors in costume — beings such as we might appear in different ages of the world.  The whole, a mirror where the varied passions and actions of ourselves are reflected back to us from the faces and forms of the devotees of “Thespis.”

Remarkable coincidences of stage incident and everyday life often occur, and we not unfrequently witness a feature in a drama that startles us with its similarity to circumstances immediately around us.

Who can say that the scenes of love, duty, virtue, madness, misery, and death, when enacted by persons of genius on the stage, are not faithful copies of incidents which come under our daily observation?  In this lies the great benefit conferred by the stage and its relations; for even as Hamlet used the play as the thing “wherein to catch the conscience of the king” — so can we by faithful observation and study, school our own natures, relinquish our vanities and follies, despise vice and resist its temptations, promote our virtues, and copy the examples of good which are thus forced upon our notice by this reflective medium — this mirror of life in all its phases.

Woman’s Exponent, 15 July 1876

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