Sarah Knoth--WORD

Word: Fixed

OED:  2. In immaterial sense: Firmly attached or implanted; securely established; secured against alteration or dislodgement. In early use often (now rarely) of persons: Firmly resolved; constant, steadfast; bent, set, or intent upon anything. fixed idea: an idea firmly rooted in the brain, with a tendency to become unduly dominant [F. idée fixe]. fixed fact: a well-established fact (U.S.).

On page 75, Artaud makes an argument that literature is fixed---masterpieces are fixed in that they don’t leave room for interpretation and their purpose no longer fits with that of our time. He compares this idea of fixedness to that of theater; Artaud continually tries to stand up for theater when he says things like it is the “only place in the world where a gesture, once made, can never be made the same way twice” (75). I think that Artaud is trying to say that theater is an art that is always active and always relavent. He seems to despise masterpieces because they just aren’t what the public now is looking for; we have no way to relate to them, especially in his example with Oedipus Rex. Artaud says that literature is “fixed in forms that no longer respond to the needs of the time” (75). He has some very interesting thoughts on the idea of theater; he is constantly proposing new ways for the theater to improve itself. I found Artaud’s thoughts on the “magical mimesis of a gesture” fascinating because I never thought about a gesture in theater being so powerful with its “force” (81). He sort of mocks arts like poetry because they don’t have the power of reverberation (80). He says that theater “puts itself whenever possible in communication with pure forces” (82). I’ve never been one to enjoy theater very much, but Artaud has been the first to really present this new position of its function to me. The physical gestures of art are performed; therefore, Artaud says there is a communication with purity. These theatrical communications are not fixed like that of the masterpieces. High five, Artaud!


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