The Lower Depths Criticism

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When The Lower Depths was first presented in 1902, it was met with mixed criticism, but spectacular popular success. It was so successful, in fact, that the printed version of the play became a bestseller, with fourteen editions printed in 1903. Many critics took issue with the play's unconventional structure and lack of plot. Others criticized its preaching, didactic tone. Most agreed, however, that the Moscow Arts Theatre production was outstanding and amplified character sketches that were powerful and moving. Debate over the play's chief theme, the merits of "truth" verses "the consoling lie," continue today, and it is generally accepted that the play, although flawed, is considered a masterpiece.

At the time The Lower Depths was first performed, the vagabond life was in vogue, and realistic depiction of the lower classes was avant-garde. The play's presentation of the squalid underbelly of Russian society was the first of its kind...

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This section contains 849 words
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Buy The Lower Depths Study Guide
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The Lower Depths from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.