Lillian Hellman Writing Styles in Watch on the Rhine

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Watch on the Rhine contains melodramatic elements. The melodrama is a type of narrative that incorporates threatening situations into the plot as well as a happy ending. Characters in melodramas tend to be stock figures, for example the longsuffering wife or the virtuous hero.

Hellman structures Watch on the Rhine around the threatening situation Kurt experiences when Teck discovers Kurt's identity and tries to blackmail him. Also, some of Hellman's characters appear stereotypical in the play. Sara provides a good example of the long-suffering wife and Joshua serves as the devoted son. Yet Hellman departs from the melodramatic structure through her revelation of the complexity of the play's theme and her depiction of other characters.

Hellman's departure from the traditions of the melodrama provides the play with its originality, which helps maintain the audience's interest. The solution to the threatening situation is Kurt's murder of Teck, which presents...

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This section contains 239 words
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Buy the Watch on the Rhine Study Guide
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Watch on the Rhine from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.