• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Ritual primitive form of theatre?

Extracts from this document...


Pekka Mehtala Ritual primitive form of theatre? This issue interested me because of its historical aspect and I felt like I could use my knowledge in pre historic material in favour of writing this essay. I started by looking for exact definition for ritual, I found out that although I could find books that try to define theatre and ritual, most of them end up in dead end. If there was a definition it didn't cover the broad range of rituals. Oscar G. Brockett in his book "The History of the Theatre" has few examples of what rituals may have been used for. Ritual may have been a form of knowledge. It might be the way to pass knowledge and preserve it before written language was invented. Rituals may be intended to influence certain events like the rainfall or the change of the seasons. They are often performed to glorify a supernatural power, victory in hunting or in a war. And finally rituals may entertain or give pleasure. As those examples show rituals are used widely and in very varied occasions and purposes and that makes the difference between ritual and theatre very difficult to define. ...read more.


But as their society became more sophisticated they left the religious context and so rituals became theatre as it was performed out of its religious context. This theory has its weaknesses as well, since these scholars thought that all cultures go through same cultural stages in history. As we look at culture around the world one can clearly see that every culture develops on individual unique way. I have noticed that as I arrived to a new culture here in England and so will anyone who might visit a country with different geographical location or culture. Might we find answer to the question from rituals that are still present? Might there be a piece of theatre that has turned into a ritual as time passed by? Perhaps marriage, ritual that is still performed widely and in various ways in all different religions. It may have been just a piece of performance of two people joining and making a family, but by the time it has become more important and it has been developed into a ritual and simultaneously gained its religious context? The slaughter of twelve bigs and a bull during carnival, in Venice became ritualized into an elaborate allegory of justice and domination. ...read more.


Or was there a medicine man that acted out rituals as he tried to order the bad spirits to leave the sick person? Perhaps the spoken language was invented, what kind of occasions might they have had to create theatre or ritual? It is well known that many of the ritual takes place in spring for example the "Mephite Drama" performed by Egyptians in 4000BC. Spring was time of celebration for anyone who has spent time in a cold snowy environment for a whole winter. The winter season was probably the worst hunting season, what made living bit uncertain, but as spring came there was food to gather and people could get hunting again. That certainly would be occasion worth celebrating, perhaps that celebration became a ritual that glorified spring and the spirits that took the cold relatively dangerous winter away. One way or the other I think that theatre and ritual are so closely connected that they have had influence on each other somehow as they have developed. Whether ritual was the origin that theatre grew apart from one can only speculate, play with the idea, agree with Frazer and his colleague anthropologists or take a imaginary journey to the past time before time and see what you might find? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays

  1. Colonialism, Nationalism and Islamism: Discourse on Women in Egypt.

    The Wafd Party while adopting a constitutional monarchy system (a replica of the coloniser) and embracing education including that of women. The Wafd Party did not extend the right to vote to women and left almost all of the demands of the Egyptian feminists unresolved.

  2. Are menstrual taboos simply a form of womens subordination?

    La Fontaine describes how women of the Gisu tribe (of the Masaba nation of Eastern Uganda) are treated during menstruation. "They are to be kept away from certain activities in case they somehow spoil them. "She may not brew beer nor pass by the homestead of a potter lest his

  1. 'Is Fashion clothing a form of social control?'

    Accepting for now the importance of fashion in society, its origins within society are still uncertain. Certainly we are fed a lot of subliminal messages through influential and 'fashionable' people that are seen on the television and media. Those with a higher proportion of disposable income are usually the first

  2. Identify and analyse the different roles that food and food rituals play in the ...

    Offerings of food are made to them, so that they will grant the requests of the living and protect them from sickness and other misfortunes. The spirits of the dead and the ancestral gods presumably, have to eat and, among some tribes, observe the same eating etiquette as do the living.

  1. Extended Essay on Mimicry in Humans

    This is due to the high sensitivity of human beings to the emotional signals in the atmosphere (Freedman, 2007). In comparison, behavioural mimicry is concerned with the copying of gestures, mannerisms and posture (Zanna, 2009). Finally, verbal mimicry occurs when the speech, pattern, style, accent and other characteristics are matched during a conversation (Zanna, 2009).

  2. In which ways does caste differ from class as a form of social hierarchy?

    One way in which caste differs from class as a form of social hierarchy is that caste is an ascribed status, i.e. fixed at birth, whereas class is arguably achieved according to some sociologists through meritocracy. Meritocracy is a term enjoyed by functionalists which implies that an individual in society

  1. In what ways does caste differ from class as a form of social hierarchy?

    believed "people are ranked according to the amount of 'esteem' or 'prestige' they possess in society." (1981: 20). While both views are expressed on different grounds, they seem to be very interlinked, the presumption being that those with this 'prestige' will be those in control of some form of capital - ensuring a high ranked position from both perspectives.

  2. Select one form of popular culture from among the following: reggae, dancehall, calypso, theatre ...

    As a result, Stolzoff continues to argue that dancehall is a manifestation of the process of popular culture described by both Storey and Gramsci because "it is central to cultural creation and intersocial negotiation as a symbol of social divisions and a medium through which different groups in Jamaica's social hierarchy articulate group boundaries and respond to each other.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work